Fact Checking

Here is our analysis of some of the claims made by the presidential candidates in the most recent debate.

Obama’s claim: “I want to thank Hofstra University for hosting us. I’m very happy to be here tonight.”
The facts:Obama was not actually happy to be there. He’d been hoping to watch the baseball playoffs, not sit at a table and argue with John McCain.

McCain’s claim: “As soon as I heard Denny’s had introduced a new breakfast special, I suspended my campaign to fly back to Washington and investigate.”
The facts:Denny’s has not introduced a new breakfast special, and even if it had, there would be no need to fly to Washington to look into it.

Obama’s claim: “Under my tax plan, 95 percent of Americans will see their taxes lowered. Only people making more than $250,000 a year will see an increase.”
The facts:While this is indeed a true summary of the tax plan Obama has revealed, it has nothing to do with the secret tax plan that he will actually implement if he’s elected. That plan will include tax breaks for all terrorists, and impose a heavy tax on Whitey.

McCain’s claim: “I am rubber and Obama is glue, so whatever he says bounces off me and sticks to him.”
The facts:According to both candidates’ medical records, neither man’s body is composed of anything other than the normal biological materials.

Obama’s claim: “I rock a mic like a vandal, light up a stage and wax a chump like a candle.”
The facts:Research indicates this is actually a line from “Ice Ice Baby.” There is no evidence that Obama has ever waxed a chump at all, let alone like a candle.

McCain’s claim: “Joe the plumber doesn’t look anything like Michael Chiklis.”
The facts:Independent research confirms that Joe the plumber actually looks exactly like Michael Chiklis.

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Joe the plumber (left), and Michael Chiklis.

Obama’s claim: “McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time.”
The facts:This is only true from a very limited perspective. Taking into account votes on things like what theme the White House Christmas party should have, or whether the Senate should get a puppy, McCain has aligned himself with Bush only 60 percent of time.

McCain’s claim: “As soon as I witnessed the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914, I suspended my campaign and rushed back to Washington to deal with the crisis.”
The facts:McCain was nowhere near Sarajevo in 1914, and “rushing back” to Washington in those days would have entailed a weeks-long sea voyage. At the time of the assassination, McCain was in college.

Obama’s claim: “Earmarks only account for 0.5 percent of the budget. Eliminating earmarks won’t make much of a dent.”
The facts:Possibly true, but we still don’t really know what “earmarks” are. Could somebody beef up the Wikipedia entry?

McCain’s claim: “We need to stop spending $450 billion a year on oil imported from countries that don’t like us, such as Venezuela.”
The facts:McCain has grossly exaggerated the amount spent annually on imported oil, which the Department of Energy says is only $448 billion. Furthermore, according to the note that Venezuela passed to Argentina in biology class, Venezuela “sorta likes” America right now.

Obama’s claim: “I like big butts, and I cannot lie.”
The facts:These are two separate assertions combined into one. Obama may indeed like big butts; however, it is not true that he “cannot lie.” Anyone can lie.

McCain’s claim: “Under Obama’s plan, children will have to pay taxes on money received from the Tooth Fairy, and the Tooth Fairy herself will have to register as a small-business owner.”
The facts:While Obama’s tax plan does have a provision for money and goods received from mythical figures, it is a flat 1% tax to be collected after the taxpayer has lost all of his or her baby teeth, or at the age of 12, whichever comes first. The Tooth Fairy remains exempt as a non-profit charitable organization.

Obama’s claim: “I hate America. America needs to be blown up or destroyed with fire.”
The facts:Obama later explained that he was referring to America Ferrera, star of “Ugly Betty.”

McCain’s claim: “Sarah Palin is an intelligent, highly qualified, well-spoken maverick who is absolutely prepared to lead this country effectively should the need arise.”
The facts:We find nothing to dispute in this claim.

Many newspapers and other media outlets have been running regular fact-check features during this campaign. For a long time "The Daily Show" has been the only program that would point it out when a candidate said something that wasn't true, and I guess the real news agencies finally felt embarrassed enough by this discrepancy to actually start doing their jobs. Anyway, I enjoy the fact-checking that comes after each debate, and I thought a little silliness might be fun.

SnideCast intro & outro: "Little Lies," Fleetwood Mac.