The C is for Crank

Presidential Debate Fact-Check Roundup

The C is for Crank's roundup of today's post-debate fact checks.

By Erica C. Barnett October 17, 2012

 

The consensus seems to be that Romney blew it last night, ignoring facts, petulently complaining that moderator Candy Crowley wasn't sticking to the rules, and coming out with bizarre, off-point statements about marriage curing gun violence (forced pregnancies and forced marriages for all!) and "binders full of women." While both candidates played fast and loose with some facts, Romney was far more prone to fabrications and misstatements. 

General fact-checks first: From the Washington Post, the Post again (with graphs!) Think Progress, which notes 31 "myths" Romney told in 41 minutes 

ThinkProgress says Romney's main energy claim last night—that oil drilling on government land has gone down 14 percent—is "misleading," noting that oil drilling on public land is actually up from the last administration. They also point out that the vast majority of oil gas shales in the continental US are not on public lands, making it "geologically impossible" for public oil and gas leases to keep pace with drilling on private lands. 

Meanwhile, in a piece bemoaning the lack of discussion on climate change and both candidates' stated commitment to increasing production of fossil fuels, Grist notes that Romney's "gas prices doubled under Obama" claim is specious, because the $1.86-a-gallon low reached in January 2009 was the result of the nation's economic free-fall, which zapped demand. 

Everyone knows Romney was wrong about Libya, but I love the fact that Obama was all, "Please proceed, Governor," and Mittens was all, "Yes, Mr. President, I WOULD love the opportunity to step in it!" Explanation if you missed it at Pam's House Blend.

About those "binders full of women" (Romney's claim that after he failed to find one single qualified woman to appoint to any top position, so he asked "women's groups" for suggestions and received "binders full of women"): Not true.

According to the Boston Phoenix, what actually happened was that a group formed in 2002, before Romney was elected, to address the lack of women in top positions in Massachusetts government. During Romney's term, the number of women in senior positions actually declined—from a relatively equitable 42 percent to 27 percent when he left office.

Also, a Romney advisor said today that Romney would have opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made it easier for women to sue for employment discrimination.

In my favorite gotcha of the night, Melissa at Shakesville points out that children of single parents—those people Romney said aren't part of the "American system" and are more likely to be a drain on society—happen to include not just the guy Romney was debating, but George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Bill Clinton, and a dozen other past Presidents, all of whom were raised at some point by a single parent. 

Finally, check out my live tweets from last night, and follow my personal feed on Twitter if you don't already, here. (And while you're at it, follow PubliCola and Seattle Met too!)

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