The CBS News Reality Check Team fact checks the Nashville Town Hall Debate...
Reality Check on Obama's Earmark Request - Never Funded
Senator John McCain attacked Senator Barack Obama for spending hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks while he's been senator. McCain specifically cited an outlay of $3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago.
McCain was referring to a request from Obama for $3 million for a projector for the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. According to the non-partisan spending watchdog organization, Taxpayers for Common Sense, the request was for $3 million to replace the projector. But the earmark was not funded. No money was spent on the projector. Here is the text of the Obama request according to Taxpayers for Common Sense: "Adler Planetarium, to support replacement of its projector and related equipment, $3,000,000. One of its most popular attractions and teaching tools at the Adler Planetarium is the Sky Theater. The projection equipment in this theater is 40 years old, and is no longer supported with parts or service by the manufacturer. It has begun to fail, leaving the theater dark and groups of school students and other interested museum-goers without this very valuable and exciting learning experience."
Obama Proposes a Net Spending Cut?
Senator Barack Obama claims he's proposing a net spending cut. False, according to most nonpartisan sources. Tax Policy Center says Obama will deficit spend by $473 billion over 4 years, and that was an estimate made before the bailout. McCain scored worse, however, with a projected 4 year deficit of $988 billion.
Obama Biggest Spender in Congress?
Senator John McCain's claim that Obama is the most liberal big spending Senator in Congress is a slight stretch. He's not the most liberal according to most rankings. And one of the lead spending watchdog groups, Citizens Against Government waste, says Obama is tied for the Senate's 15th biggest spender, not the biggest for lifetime rankings. In 2008, the group ranked Obama as number 70, meaning 69 Senators ranked higher than Obama in their pork requests.
Obama Voted to Raise Taxes 94 Times?
McCain tonight repeated the same line he, his running mate and their Republican allies have used against Senator Obama for some time: that Obama voted 94 times to raise taxes or to not cut taxes. Not so fast. This fact has been well-documented by many independent observers. Of those 94 votes, 23 were against tax cuts. So that part is right. Seven of the votes cast by Obama would have lowered taxes. And according to teh nonpartisan FactCheck.Org, most of the 94, over 50 of them, were on non-binding budget resolutions that are not on their own tax bills. According to FactCheck.Org's Deputy Director Viveca Novak, "These are not actual bills that would raise taxes, further action would be required before any tax increase could take effect."
McCain: Wrong on Hoover
McCain: "My friends the last president to raise taxes during tough economic times was Herbert Hoover..."
Not true. The National Bureau of Economic Research says the recession in the 1990's began during the administration of the first President Bush and lasted from July 1990 to March 1991. U.S. Treasury says President Bush raised taxes in October, 1990.
By the CBS News Reality Check Team
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