Last night I saw some "oops" and some, not quite right spins, but I also saw some outright nonsense. I am usually not into politics, but the people who are wrote an interesting little "facts" synopsis last night.
Facts from last night's debate, are from independent news sources: (These are all quotes from independent news, I wrote none of this myself).
Facts from last night's debate:
RYAN: "Look at just the $90 billion in stimulus the vice president
was in charge of overseeing — this $90 billion in green pork to campaign
contributors and special interest groups."
THE FACTS: Dismissing an entire package of energy stimulus grants and
loans as "green pork" ignores the help that was given to people to make
their homes more energy efficient, grants to public entities
constructing high speed rail lines and tax credits to manufacturers to
install equipment fostering cleaner energy.
To be sure, there were notable failed investments, such as $528
million to the politically connected and now-bankrupt solar power
company Solyndra. But Ryan's claim made it sound like every penny went
down the drain.
More broadly, economists are nearly universal in saying Obama's $800
billion-plus stimulus passed in early 2009 helped create both
public-sector and private-sector jobs, even if they fell short of what
sponsors had hoped. Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan
Congressional Budget Office, estimated the stimulus saved or created
more than 3 million jobs.
RYAN: "We cannot allow Iran to gain a nuclear weapons capability.
Now, let's take a look at where we've gone — come from. When Barack
Obama was elected, they had enough fissile material — nuclear material —
to make one bomb. Now they have enough for five. They're racing toward a
nuclear weapon. They're four years closer toward a nuclear weapons
THE FACTS: Ryan's claim is misleading. Iran isn't believed to have
produced any of the highly enriched uranium needed to produce even one
nuclear weapon, let alone five. That point isn't even disputed by
Israel, whose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implored the world at
the United Nations last month to create a "red line" at enrichment above
20 percent. Iran would have to enrich uranium at much higher levels to
produce a weapon. There is intelligence suggesting that Iran has worked
on weapon designs, but not that it has developed a delivery system for
any potential nuclear warhead.
RYAN: "What troubles me more is how this administration has handled
all of these issues. Look at what they're doing through Obamacare with
respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. They're
infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by
infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic
THE FACTS: The requirement under the health care law that most
employers cover birth control free of charge to female employees does
not apply to churches, houses of worship, or other institutions directly
involved in propagating a religious faith. It does apply to
church-affiliated institutions such as hospitals and charities that
serve the general public.
RYAN: "We should have spoken out right away when the green revolution
was up and starting, when the mullahs in Iran were attacking their
people. We should not have called Bashar Assad a reformer when he was
turning his Russian-provided guns on his own people.
THE FACTS: Neither President Barack Obama nor anyone else in his
administration ever considered the Syrian leader a "reformer." The
oft-repeated charge stems from an interview Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton gave in March 2011 noting that "many of the members of
Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have
said they believe he's a reformer." She did not endorse that view. The
comment was widely perceived to be a knock at senators such as John
Kerry of Massachusetts who maintained cordial relations with Assad in
the months leading up to his crackdown on protesters.
RYAN: "This one tax would actually tax about 53 percent of small-business income."
BIDEN: "Ninety-seven percent of the small businesses in America pay less — make less than $250,000."
THE FACTS: Both are correct, but incomplete, when sizing up the
effect on small business of raising taxes for individuals making more
than $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000, as Obama
wants to do. Republicans say that would hit small-business owners who
report business income on their individual income tax; Democrats say the
overwhelming majority of small businesses would not be affected.
According to a 2010 report by the Joint Committee on Taxation, the
official scorekeeper for Congress, about 3 percent of people who report
business income would face a tax increase under Obama's plan. That
support's Biden's point.
The same report says those business owners account for about half of all business income. That supports Ryan.
RYAN: Notes that there have been four rounds of U.N. sanctions on
Iran to deter its nuclear program, three during the Bush administration
and one under Obama. "And the only reason we got it is because Russia
watered it down and prevented the sanctions from hitting the central
bank. Mitt Romney proposed these sanctions in 2007. In Congress, I've
been fighting for these sanctions since 2009. The administration was
blocking us every step of the way." He also noted the administration has
granted 20 waivers to the sanctions.
THE FACTS: The argument that the administration was watering down or
delaying sanctions is misleading. For sanctions to work, they need
maximum global agreement and cooperation. Russia watered down U.N.
sanctions not only under Obama, but also under Bush. And it's highly
unlikely that a Romney administration, particularly led by a candidate
who says Russia is the biggest geostrategic threat to the U.S., would be
able to get Russia completely on board with what the U.S. wants to —
either in Iran or Syria.
The more absolute U.S. sanctions that Ryan and others have pushed in
Congress would have punished U.S. allies, including most countries in
Europe as well as Japan and South Korea, along with good friends like
India and Singapore — without the exemptions that were put in place.
The administration has indeed granted 20 waivers, to countries that
made significant reductions in Iranian oil imports. And the sanctions
are pinching; Iran has been convulsed over the past week with protests
over the collapse of its currency, which most people say is a direct
result of the sanctions that the U.S. and others have imposed.
Paul Ryan made me laugh last night too.....and I only watched for about 15 minutes.