Andrew Trembley (bovil) wrote,
Andrew Trembley

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Final Debate FactCheckery...

This time I'm just going for a swipe summary, Bush first since it's my blog.

Tax cut Bushshit
Bush could hardly have been farther off base when he said most of his tax cuts "went to low- and middle-income Americans." That's just not true.

In fact, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center recently calculated  that most of the tax cuts -- 53% to be exact -- went to the highest-earning 10% of US individuals and families. Those most affluent Americans got an average tax cut of $7,661.

Osama Bushshit
Bush stumbled when he denied making some remarks about Osama bin Laden that Kerry had accurately paraphrased. Bush accused Kerry of "one of those exaggerations."

In fact, Bush said almost exactly what Kerry quoted him as saying. It was in a news conference at the White House on March 13, 2002, after US forces had overturned the Taliban regime in Afghanistan:

Q (March 13, 2002): Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden.  Why is that? . . .

Bush: So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him , Kelly, to be honest with you. . . .

Q:  But don't you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?

Bush: Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I  --  I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.  I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban.

Vaccine Bushshit
It's not true, as Bush claimed, that "we took the right action" in blocking "contaminated" influenza vaccine from entering the US.

Actually, it was the British and not the US that blocked shipment. The British Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, according to an Oct. 6 news release, suspended the license of Chiron Corp., the manufacturer of approximately 50% of the U.S. supply.

Kerry Edutainment
Kerry claimed the Bush administration had cut Pell Grants for low-income students to attend college. Bush said Pell Grants have been increased by a million students. Bush was correct.

More Kerry Edutainment
Kerry claimed that "500,000 kids lost after-school programs," which isn't the case. A cut was proposed but Congress rejected it. The Department of Education's 2004 budget proposal called for a nearly 40% cut in funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, or a drop of nearly $400 million from about $1 billion in 2003. According to a  report by the Afterschool Alliance, "More than 550,000 children would lose access to afterschool programs." But even assuming that projection would have turned out to be correct, it never happened because Congress kept funding at about $1 billion.

Kerry's Raucous Caucus
Kerry wrongly claimed Bush "hasn't met with the Black Congressional Caucus." He garbled the organization's name, for one thing. It's actually the Congressional Black Caucus, made up of 39 African-American members of the House.

And in fact, Bush met with the caucus a few days after taking office, on Jan. 31, 2001.

Kerry's Surfiet of Surplus
Kerry claimed Bush "has taken a $5.6 trillion surplus and turned it into deficits as far as the eye can see." But the country never actually had a $5.6 trillion surplus. The projected surplus Kerry was referring to was a 10-year figure that was already made dubious by a weakening economy and a pent-up Congressional urge to spend. The largest annual surplus actually realized was $236 billion in fiscal year 2000, which ended a month before Bush was elected.

Opinions anyone?
Well, mine. Bullpatties abounded, but some of Kerry's were peppered with grains of truth.

Kerry's claim that Pell Grants were cut can't be backed up, but his comment that Bush didn't satisfy 2000 campaign promises on Pell grants was accurate, and Kerry's comment on the increase in Pell Grant eligibility was an interesting indicator supporting his job-loss/income-loss theme.

Kerry's claim of a 5.6 trillion surplus isn't supportable, but his basic claim that the Bush administration presided over a change from budget surpluses to budget deficits is accurate.

I'm actually kind of disappointed; I hoped for less bullshit since folks all over the country are calling both of the campaigns on the carpet when this happens. A few of the most atrocious exaggerations have been quietly retired, but quite a few debunked claims were repeated... and repeated... and repeated...

Bush again said Kerry "voted to increase taxes 98 times." But that total includes up to 16 votes on a single tax bill, and 43 votes on budget measures that set targets but don't actually legislate tax increases.

I don't know who to attribute this quote to, but I like it:

"John Kerry changes his positions to suit the facts. George W. Bush changes the facts to suit his positions."

Now, as you can see above, it's not so black and white. There's a credibility gap on both sides, but I'm going for the cracks in the sidewalk (Kerry) that I might trip on (but then I can get John Edwards to represent me in the ensuing lawsuit) rather than the Grand Canyon that Bush/Cheney wants to push the country into.

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