The first presidential debate of the 2012 general election is done, and both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have traded their competing views on air. But which one of the two candidates was correct in their statements? That’s where fact-checkers come in.
Both candidates made plenty of claims of fact that the other objected to strongly. To sift through these competing statements, services like PolitiFact and FactCheck are around to examine those claims in detail.
Both men avoided mud-slinging and kept their statements largely on the specifics of their fiscal and political plans if elected. So let’s take a look at some of the claims made by the candidates.
During the economic portion of the debate, Romney stated that Obama failed to keep his pledge to "cut the deficit in half." According to PolitiFact, “That's the case. We rated a claim from Crossroads GPS that Obama failed to keep his pledge of halving the deficit True.”
In a March 2009 speech, Obama promised to cut the nation’s $1.3 trillion deficit in half, but by 2012, the amount still stands at $1.17 trillion. According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, “Although the deficit is starting to shrink, it remains very large by historical standards.”
At another point in the debate, Obama bragged about the effectiveness of Obamacare while Romney pointed out that he failed to meet his goal of cutting middle class premiums by $2,500. According to Politifact, “That's true. We've rated that a Promise Broken.”
Obama did have some strong statements of his own, especially when discussing the differences in his and Romney’s tax plans. While Romney maintained that his tax cuts for the wealthy were not going to hurt the middle class, Obama claimed "that would give millionaires another tax break and raise taxes on middle class families by up to $2,000 a year."
Politifact upheld Obama’s statement, citing “A reputable study from the Tax Policy Center” which found that the cuts could cost middle-class families up to $2,000 in deductions.
For more information on whose points at the first presidental debate were correct, check out PolitiFact's coverage.