Fact Checking The Denver Presidential Debate

Fact checkers are hard at work after the first Presidential debate of 2012, and it appears that both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama need to do some research before they meet up again.

The consensus among all researchers so far is that both of the Presidential candidates stretched some facts on Wednesday, reports NPR. While they have had little time to check all of the statements the candidates made, they were quick to note that the debate was very focused on numbers.

The debate was filled with facts, which should make many happy and also brought researchers more work. While Romney’s performance may have wowed his supporters, he’s getting dinged more by fact checkers, at least in the early hours following the debate.

One of the biggest disputes between Romney and Obama was over taxes. While Obama argued that Romney’s plan includes a tax cut of $5 trillion that he believes isn’t possible since the Republican nominee is also promising to spend money elsewhere.

Romney disputed the number, stating, “First of all, I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut.” As for who is right? The Washington Post and The New York Times both agree that the facts are on Obama’s side, with The New York Times noting Romney “has proposed cutting all marginal tax rates by 20 percent — which would in and of itself cut tax revenue by $5 trillion.”

FactCheck.org also gave their opinion by tweeting during the debate, “Romney says he will pay for $5T tax cut without raising deficit or raising taxes on middle class. Experts say that’s not possible.”

PolitiFact, a group of non-partisan watchdogs, also gave Obama’s statement that “Romney is proposing a tax plan that would give millionaires another tax break and raise taxes on middle class families by up to $2,000 a year” a “mostly true” rating.

Another source of contention between the debaters? Medicare benefits were talked about, with Romney stating that Obama’s plan will cut them by $716 billion. The president disagrees.

PolitiFact writes that Romney’s assertion is “half true.” They state:

“That amount — $716 billion — refers to Obamacare’s reductions in Medicare spending over 10 years, primarily paid to insurers and hospitals … the statement gives the impression that the law takes money already allocated to Medicare away from current recipients,” which is why it gets only a ‘half true’ rating.”

According to The New York Times Fact Checker:

“[Obama] did not cut benefits by $716 billion over 10 years as part of his 2010 health care law; rather, he reduced Medicare reimbursements to health care providers, chiefly insurance companies and drug manufacturers. And the law gave Medicare recipients more generous benefits for prescription drugs and free preventive care like mammograms.”

NPR does note that some of the money will reduce future Medical spending, but they add that “the fact is, you can’t reduce health care spending and preserve Medicare for 78 million baby boomers without slowing its growth.”

When the two candidates were talking about cutting the federal deficit, Romney asserted that Obama promised to “cut the deficit in half.” Obama, on the other hand, stated he put forward “a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan.” Obama’s statement is true when you combine the 10-year impact of his budget with the 10-year impact of cuts that were already approved. Because of this, Obama’s budget plan remarks are “half true,” according to PolitiFact.

Check out PolitiFact, The New York Times, and FactCheck.org for additional information about the candidates’ comments and whether they were true or not.

Do you think that the first Presidential debate has influenced who you will vote for in November?