Friday, October 3, 2008

"Truth Squad"

TRUTH SQUAD About Joe Biden
• Biden incorrectly said “John McCain voted the exact same way” as Obama on a controversial troop funding bill. The two were actually on opposite sides.
• Biden wrongly claimed that McCain “voted the exact same way” as Obama on the budget bill that contained an increase on singles making as little as $42,000 a year. McCain voted against it. Biden was referring to an amendment that didn’t address taxes at that income level.
• Biden wrongly claimed that McCain had said “he wouldn’t even sit down” with the president of Spain. Actually, McCain didn’t reject a meeting, but simply refused to commit himself one way or the other during an interview.
• Biden defended Obama’s vote against a troop-funding bill, claiming that McCain voted “the exact same way.” As we’ve pointed out before, the squabble refers to a pair of 2007 votes on war funding. Obama voted for a version of the bill that included language calling for withdrawing troops from Iraq. Biden is simply wrong to say that McCain voted against that bill; he was absent and didn’t vote at all. McCain did oppose the bill, and he urged President Bush to veto it. Bush did. Obama then voted against the same bill without withdrawal language. He had voted yes on at least 10 other war funding bills prior to that single 2007 no vote.
• Biden was correct only to the extent that the resolution Obama supported would not by itself have increased taxes; it was a vote on a budget resolution that set revenue and spending targets. But he’s wrong to say McCain voted the same way. The Obama campaign attempted to justify Biden’s remark by pointing to a different vote, on a Senate amendment, that took place March 13. The amendment passed 99-1, with only Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold dissenting. It would have preserved some of Bush’s tax cuts for lower-income people. The vote on the budget resolution in question, however, came in the wee hours of March 14 and was a mostly party-line tally, 51-44, with Obama in favor and McCain not voting.
• Biden and Palin got into a tussle about military recommendations in Afghanistan. However, it is worth noting that McKiernan also said that Afghanistan would need an infusion of American troops “as quickly as possible.”
• Biden claimed that McCain said in a magazine article that he wanted to deregulate the health care industry as the banking industry had been. That’s taking McCain’s words out of context. As we’ve said before, he was talking specifically about his proposal to allow the sale of health insurance across state lines.
• Biden said five times that McCain’s tax plan would give oil companies a “$4 billion tax cut.” As we’ve noted previously, McCain0s plan would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent — for ALL corporations, not just oil companies. Biden uses a Democratic think tank’s estimate for what the rate change is worth to the five largest U.S. oil companies.
• Biden said that Iraq had an “$80 billion surplus.” The country was once projected to have as much as a $79 billion surplus, but no more. The Iraqis have $29 billion in the bank, and could have $47 billion to $59 billion by the end of the year, as we noted when Obama used the incorrect figure. A $21 billion supplemental spending bill, passed by the Iraqi legislature in August, knocked down the old projection.
• Biden said four times that McCain had voted 20 times against funding alternative energy. However, in analyzing the Obama campaign’s list of votes after the first presidential debate, we found the number was actually 11. In the other instances the Obama-Biden campaign cites, McCain voted not against alternative energy but against mandatory use of alternative energy, or he voted in favor of allowing exemptions from these mandates.