Finally! We have got some serious action folks and I thought fists were literally going to fly! After that snoozefest nearly two weeks ago in Denver and that special episode of ‘Pardon the Interruption’ from Kentucky last week, we were treated to a debate that brought the heat! Granted, both guys were full of shit and need their facts checked but at least the entertainment factor was quality and both candidates showed real emotion and dug deep into each other – leaving both men looking as if they have thin skin but at the same time, the fire to hold the American throne. Of course, fire is just but one element and both men are pretty much lacking everything else in the elemental spectrum.
Being that this debate was the most entertaining, it was also the most watchable. Both men shined and truthfully, I don’t feel as if there really was an outstanding winner. Romney stepped up his A-game and improved from his last outing. Obama wiped the slate clean and made his forgettable performance from the last debate, well.. even more forgettable. If I was in the shoes of a Democrat, I would be very pleased after this debate, as it made up for the previous one immensely. Neither man has nothing to be ashamed of as far as their performance went. Both should have walked away proud of how they handled themselves. Now as far as the information they shared and the claims they made, maybe they shouldn’t be so proud of that. Then again, they’re politicians at the highest level of their game and truth is something that they just aren’t familiar with.
So in an attempt to bring transparency to their words and break up the fact from fiction, I am once again using my formula of cross-referencing several fact checking sources as well as checking into the numbers for myself – to show where these guys strayed from the truth.
The first thing to get into was the most memorable bit from the night: the Libya “terror” argument, which saw Romney accuse Obama of not referring the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans as “terrorism” until two weeks later. This also saw moderator Candy Crowley get involved, as Barack Obama cited her for assistance. Here’s the rundown of the entire situation.
While being pressed by Romney on the issue of him referring to the attack as “terrorism” or not, President Obama said that he called it an “act of terror” the day after the attack. Romney quickly responded by saying that “it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.”
The truth is, Obama is correct in saying that he referred to the attack as an “act of terror” the very next day. However, he didn’t refer to it as “terrorism” again until after the attack was properly investigated, even though some in his administration did refer to it as “terrorism”. As the men argued this point, Obama told Romney to “Get the transcript.” Well, the transcript supports what Obama is saying. Here is the portion Obama is referring to in defense of Romney’s accusations:
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.
Then later that same night, at a Las Vegas fundraiser, Obama said:
No act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America.
So not only did he refer to the Benghazi attack as terror during his speech the next day in the Rose Garden but he mentioned it a second time on that same day, despite the conservative side and in some instances the liberal side of the media completely ignoring this fact in order to build the case that Obama was trying to brush the event under the rug in an effort to not have a terrorist attack on his record. Granted, his lack of mentioning the word “terrorism” for two weeks could allude to that but the fact of the matter is that Romney and a big chunk of the media have been wrong about their accusations.
Romney wasn’t completely wrong in his accusations against Obama regarding the Benghazi attack however. When Romney accused Obama of putting the blame for the attack, as well as various riots throughout the Arab World, on a YouTube video, he was correct. In Obama’s Rose Garden speech he alluded to the YouTube video being the catalyst that triggered the violence when he said:
Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None.
So despite referring to the attack as an “act of terror” the next day, Obama did not bring up the word “terror” again for two weeks. The administration claims that they were employing a “wait-and-see” strategy until they were comfortable with the investigation’s findings. In fact, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said six days after the attack that “I’m not going to put labels on this until we have a complete investigation, okay?” However, in contrast of the Obama Administration’s stance, Matt Olsen, head of the National Counterterrorism Center, testified eight days later that it was indeed a “terrorist attack”. He added that the administration still lacked “specific intelligence that there was a significant advanced planning or coordination for this attack.” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that it is “self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “..what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” So despite the Obama Administration and the president himself “waiting-and-seeing”, his own people were coming out and calling it “terrorism” even though he refused to. During an appearance on ABC’s “The View”, Obama kept up his agenda when he said, “We’re still doing an investigation. There’s no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn’t just a mob action. We don’t have all the information yet, so we’re still gathering it.”
Now while Romney accuses the president of trying to mislead the American people into thinking that this was all caused by a YouTube video, it is really just open for interpretation and speculation. While the video was heavily discussed early into the investigation, it was never blamed as the sole reason for the violent outbreaks. On the other side of that, we’ll probably never know – from the perspective of those in the Arab World – whether or not the video was the primary catalyst or if the outrage was just another one of many reactions to them not wanting the United States involved in their lives. Hell, it was the anniversary of September 11th and that alone should say a lot regardless of the YouTube video.
Moving past the Benghazi situation, the next issue worth mentioning is the exchange that Romney and Obama had regarding immigration law. Obama, taking a shot at Mitt Romney, said that he referred to the controversial Arizona immigration law as “a model for the nation.” Obama is referring to a statement Romney made during one of the dozen and a half Republican primary debates where he said:
You know, I think you see a model in Arizona. They passed a law here that says — that says that people who come here and try and find work, that the employer is required to look them up on E-Verify. This E-Verify system allows employers in Arizona to know who’s here legally and who’s not here legally.
Obama is wrong, as Mitt Romney wasn’t referring to the whole Arizona immigration law itself but rather the E-Verify law that requires employers to check and see if their employees are legal. Arizona’s Fair and Legal Employment Act was enacted in 2007 and not only does it do what was just mentioned but it also penalizes employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
Continuing on the immigration issue, Obama blasted Romney for his association with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is known for helping draft the Arizona immigration law. Obama referred to Kobach as Romney’s “top advisor on immigration”. The truth is, there has been no indication whatsoever that Kobach is Romney’s “top advisor”.
Obama and Romney then started arguing about energy. Obama started with:
So, for example, on wind energy, when Governor Romney says these are imaginary jobs, when you’ve got thousands of people right now in Iowa, right now in Colorado, who are working, creating wind power with good-paying manufacturing jobs, and the Republican senator … in Iowa is all for it.
Romney immediately replied with:
I don’t have a policy of stopping wind jobs in Iowa and that — they’re not phantom jobs. They’re real jobs. I appreciate wind jobs in Iowa and across our country.
Despite Obama’s claim, Romney never called wind energy “imaginary”. In fact, Mitt said that wind and solar cannot “power the economy”. For the record however, Romney does oppose the wind production tax credits but at the same time he supports government funding of research into cleaner energy technologies, including wind. Now while Romney did have the word “imaginary” associated with the subject of wind energy, Obama took his comment out of context. In fact here is the quote Obama is referring to which appeared in an op-ed Romney wrote for the Columbus Dispatch on March 5th, 2012:
In place of real energy, Obama has focused on an imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy. This vision has failed.
In regards to this quote and Obama’s misrepresentation of it, FactCheck.org wrote:
Romney’s point was that wind and solar cannot “power the economy,” and that’s correct. In fact, all renewable energy (including hydro power and biofuels) accounted for 9 percent of the nation’s energy consumption in 2011. And while wind generation has doubled since 2008, it still only accounted for 13 percent of all renewable energy generated in 2011. That’s still a very small fraction of the nation’s overall energy supply.
Romney, while talking about his tax plan said that “I am not going to have people at the high end pay less than they’re paying now.” Obama jumped in to point out that this statement was a contradiction to what he has said previously. Obama stated:
During a Republican primary, he stood onstage and said, I’m going to give tax cuts — he didn’t say tax rate cuts; he said tax cuts — to everybody, including the top 1 percent, you should believe him, because that’s been his history.
Taking a defensive stand, Romney explained that he isn’t going to “cut taxes for wealthy people.” Despite Romney’s rebuttal, his words carried a different tone and message than what he previously suggested, as Obama pointed out. The original quote that Obama was referring to happened during one of the Republican primary debates where Mitt said – while arguing with Rick Santorum, “I said today that we’re going to cut taxes on everyone across the country by 20 percent, including the top 1 percent.”
Continuing with taxes. Mitt Romney made a false statement when he claimed that “the middle class will see $4,000 per year in higher taxes” under Obama policy. This number comes from a study conducted by the conservative group, The American Enterprise Institute. In their study, this $4,000 figure represents the potential impact on various income groups if the United States were to raise taxes in order to bring down the national debt. The facts are simple, Obama does not plan to raise taxes on the middle class, as he has stated clearly. On that same token, Romney has also said the same thing. Now what these two men consider the middle class, could be quite different.
On the issue of women’s jobs, Romney said:
In the — in the last four years, women have lost 580,000 jobs. That’s the net of what’s happened in the last four years. We’re still down 580,000 jobs.
This statement is incorrect as the figure used is incredibly bloated. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the real number of women’s jobs lost since Obama took power is 283,000. Mitt Romney is off by more than double. According to FactCheck.org:
Even the 283,000 figure is an overstatement. The BLS also has announced that its routine annual benchmarking process will result next year in adding 386,000 total jobs — men and women — to the official historical figures. It did not say how many of those would be women’s jobs, but about 49 percent of total employment is currently accounted for by women. So about 190,000 will probably be subtracted from the 283,000 figure. That would put the current loss at 93,000, making Romney’s figure six times too high.
Getting back to taxes for a second, Obama once again brought up his plan and stated that he would not raise taxes on the wealthy any higher than what they had been under President Clinton. In fact, Obama said, “For above $250,000, we can go back to the tax rates we had when Bill Clinton was president. We created 23 million new jobs.” His statement is half-true as it only takes into account the federal income tax. Obama has actually enacted new tax laws already, which fall on those same taxpayers. For instance, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a.k.a. ObamaCare contains a 3.8 percent tax on investment income and a 0.9 percent Medicare payroll surcharge on wages and salaries that go over $250,000. The reality of the situation, is that the wealthy will pay more in taxes than they did under President Clinton.
The two prize fighters then got into it over the auto industry bailouts. Obama went after Romney, who he said suggested that “we should let Detroit go bankrupt.” Romney retorted with “the president took Detroit bankrupt. … That was precisely what I recommended and ultimately what happened.” Well, here’s the truth behind these claims.
In 2008, the New York Times published an op-ed written by Mitt Romney with the headline “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”. In the article, Romney argued against a bailout and suggested a “managed bankruptcy” instead. Romney wrote that the “federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.”
Now even though the automakers did go through a managed bankruptcy, it wasn’t exactly the same thing that Gov. Romney proposed. Starting with the Bush Administration and carried on by Obama, loans and equity investments, paid for by taxpayers’ dollars, were provided to General Motors and Chrysler. The now infamous TARP bailouts gave GM and Chrysler $80 billion. It has been reported that over half of that has been repaid, although in certain instances, these loans have been repaid with money from the loans themselves. I explained this in my article “The Democratic National Convention, Part III“. In that article I wrote:
To start, General Motors were given $50 billion in TARP funds! That’s $50 billion in our tax dollars! $7 billion of that was in the form of a normal low-interest loan. $13 billion of the free handout was in the form of an escrow account. So how did they pay back this debt? Well, General Motors took money from the escrow account to pay back the $7 billion low-interest loan. So what happened to the other $43 billion? Aha! They don’t talk about that, they just talk about how they paid off the “loan”. Yes, the “loan” that was just $7 billion of the $50 billion that was paid off with money taken out of that same $50 billion thus leaving GM still with $50 billion to pay back! You seeing how this works? They aren’t lying but they are lying.
Regardless of the sketchy details, a report put out by the Congressional Research Service regarding the restructuring of General Motors concluded that:
Without the U.S. government assistance, GM would not have been able to pay creditors, suppliers, or workers and would most likely have entered bankruptcy earlier with a less certain outcome. (Government support) may have reduced collateral damage to many auto suppliers and some of the other automakers who buy parts from them. … (It also) exposed the U.S. government to risk that not all the assistance would be recovered.
Mitt Romney on the subject of Pell Grants said, “I want to make sure we keep our Pell Grant program growing.” This statement is confusing because it contradicts what Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan have implied, that being that they want to limit eligibility for the Pell Grants program. Romney recently said that he’d prefer having the college grant increase but only with the rate of inflation. Mitt also said that he would “refocus Pell Grant dollars on the students that need them most and place the program on a responsible long-term path that avoids future funding cliffs and last-minute funding patches.” Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which is now essentially Romney’s budget plan proposed, “limiting the growth of financial aid and focusing it on low-income students who need it the most.” Ryan referring to his own plan said that it “maintains the maximum Pell award of $5,550.” What that means is that he would maintain the same level of funding but he’d also limit eligibility. The point is, it’s confusing.
The last subject to look at is gas prices. Mitt Romney falsely claimed that under Obama, gas prices have gone up $2,000. Obviously, he doesn’t mean per gallon. What he’s referring to is the average price of gasoline per year per household. Romney’s shaky figure was estimated by taking the increase in the average national price of gas since Obama took office and multiplying it by the average number of gallons consumed per vehicle and then multiplied by the average number of vehicles per household. The problem is, the $2,000 figure is greatly inflated due to the fact that gas prices just before Obama was president were much higher than the moment he was sworn in due to a rapid drop off at the time due to the 2008 recession. The truth is, in 2008 – before Obama, the average price of gas was $4.10 per gallon. Today the average price is $3.91. Furthermore, the price has never been as high as it was in 2008. Then again, I discussed Mitt’s inflated gas price figures last time these two debated. Mitt arguing about the huge spike in gas prices since Obama took office is like a bitchy customer complaining about the rising price of bread after they missed a “buy one, get one” sale the previous week.
Now there are also other bullshit claims that were made by both men during the course of this debate but they were already covered in the previous fact checking articles since these two fellas like repeating themselves, especially the lies.
In most polls after the debate, the results varied. Obama won a bunch and so did Romney. In polls that had the option of calling the debate a “draw”, that was the option that seemed to be most popular. Liberal pundits were finally satisfied with Obama and conservative pundits were marching behind Romney per usual. As I said earlier, I think that both men brought their best to the debate and neither really had any weak moments, as far as being A-list performers.
Now the reality of the situation, is that both men continue to dupe the public with their fallacious statements and bad math. The American people continue to be lied to but unfortunately, most of them take all of this at face value because they either don’t have time to look into all of the facts for themselves or they are too trusting and possibly too lazy. This is why the bastards of the world continue to run the show and why we’re on a fiscal path of destruction, not to mention having our liberties taken away at a rapid rate while the police state and nanny state continue to swell like our candidates faulty figures.
There is just one more Obama-Romney debate before Election Day is upon us and I expect more of the same from that one. Let’s be honest, neither candidate is really inspiring. Sure, Obama inspired people four years ago but that ship has long since sailed and there aren’t many people left on it other than the loyal progressives willing to support anyone who carries their torch. Romney inspires no one, not even his own party. When all is said and done and the votes are counted, the end result will be pointless and we’ll be stuck with the same status quo bullshit regardless of whoever is sitting in the White House next year.
At least the debate between third party candidates is on the horizon because I prefer seeing sane people talk sanely about our real issues. Too bad Obama, Romney and the Commission on Presidential Debates are too fucking cowardly to let the real people share the stage.