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Thursday, October 14, 2004

Fact-checking the debates 3.0

From the Associated Press:

"Kerry accurately quoted Bush as saying he does not think much about Osama bin Laden and is not all that concerned about him. The president protested: 'I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations.

But in March 2002, Bush indeed said: 'I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run.' He described the terrorist leader as 'marginalized,' and said, 'I just don't spend that much time on him.'"

WATE in Knoxville reports:

"Verbal volleys flew between President Bush and John Kerry during their final debate Wednesday night. However, in making their attacks, the facts seemed to be the real casualties.

The first misstatement of the evening came in the president's first response. 'I signed the Homeland Security bill to better align our assets and resources,' Bush said. 'My opponent voted against it.'

That's wrong. Sen. Kerry voted yes on final passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002...

Kerry also told the president, 'Five hundred thousand kids lost after-school programs because of your budget.' Wrong. Although the president proposed cutting $400 million from after school funding, Congress didn't go along so no children lost their programs."

John Kerry said George W. Bush hadn't met with the Congressional Black Caucus during his term in office. In fact, Bush met with the caucus in the first two weeks of his administration. More recently, Bush has turned down six invitations to meet with the caucus.

The AP writes:

"The last presidential debate highlighted words President Bush forgot he had spoken, a meeting John Kerry thought never happened, but did, and a refusal on both sides to back off questionable statements that have practically become classics through repetition.

Kerry claimed once more that Bush has lost 1.6 million jobs, about twice as many as have actually disappeared. The persistent discrepancy comes from his not saying that the losses he speaks of are in the private sector, and are mitigated by job gains in public service. He let go of another regular misstatement, however, this time using an accurate figure on the cost of the Iraq war.

Bush again declared of his opponent, 'He voted to increase taxes 98 times,' which should not be taken at all to mean Kerry has voted for that many tax increases. Independent analysis has found the list of 98 includes multiple votes for single measures and votes that set targets without having any effect on the tax code."

-Kerry said he had a plan to "insure all Americans." In fact, most estimates put the number of additional Americans he would insure at about 25-27 million. The number of uninsured Americans has risen to 45 million under Bush. Independent analysts have estimated that Bush's "health care plan," if implemented, would only bring health insurance to 7 million more Americans.
-Bush sought to take credit for creating the Department of Homeland Security. In fact, Bush had originally opposed created a homeland security department. As the AP put it, "President Bush overlooked a flip-flop of his own when he boasted yesterday about launching the Homeland Security Department: He was against it before he was for it."


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