Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fact-Checking The Third Presidential Debate

Like the first two presidential debates, the third debate generated controversial and factually debatable claims from both candidates. Here are a couple of examples.

Barack Obama claimed that all of John McCain's campaign advertisements have been negative:

And 100 percent, John, of your ads – 100 percent of them have been negative."

According to, however, this was almost, but not quite, true for a period of only one week, and it is not true for the remainder of the campaign.

John McCain stated that " "We have to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don't like us very much", a reference to U.S. spending on oil imports.

According to an
Associated Press news story, however, "the United States spent $246 billion in 2007 for all imported crude oil, a majority of it coming from friendly nations including neighboring Canada and Mexico. [...] A majority of the refined products come from refineries in such friendly countries as the Netherlands, Canada, the United Kingdom, Trinidad-Tobago and the Virgin Islands".

For other perspectives on the factual accuracy of statements made by both presidential candidates during the debates, see such sites as
The Fact-Checker and

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

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