The Truth Behind The VP Candidates' Claims

As good as both candidates were last night, they were also quite good at being wrong, CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports.

Beginning with a specific Sarah Palin claim that Barack Obama tried to raise taxes on middle class families, saying that he voted to increase taxes as late as last year for those families making only $42,000 a year.

That claim is simply false.

"Families, no way," said Brooks Jackson, director of FactCheck.org.

According to the non partisan FactCheck.org, none of Obama's votes would've raised taxes on families making $42,000.

"If you're a family, you'd have to make $83,000, maybe over $90,000, a year to have been affected by that," Jackson said.

Biden, meanwhile, not wanting the tax mistake to stand, claimed that McCain was for the same thing.

"John McCain voted the exact same way," Obama said.

Wrong again. McCain voted against the budget bill.

On the crucial, heartland issue of taxes on small business, Palin claimed Obama's tax increases on families making $250,000 would impact millions of small companies.

"You're forgetting millions of small businesses that are going to fit into that category," Palin said.

Millions of businesses? Not even close. Only 1.4 percent of small business owners, 480,000 people, make more than $250,000.

The figure is a few hundred thousand, but it's not in the millions.

On the foreign policy issue of who presidents should meet, Biden tried to claim Obama never said he'd meet Iran's President Ahmadinejad.

"He did not say sit down with Ahmadinejad," Biden said.

Fact is that's a stretch. On the CNN/YouTube debate last year, Obama was asked directly if he would meet the leader of Iran, among others.

"I would," Obama said.

Then - on the energy front - there's the Sarah Palin claim a new Alaska pipeline is under way.

"And we're building a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline," Palin said.

The fact is she's not quite "building."

Palin has legislative approval to plan the pipeline, but construction isn't even close, and gas flow is 10 years away.

The fact that Biden and Palin were squabbling over that 42 thousand dollar family is no political accident. Forty-two thousand dollars in income is in the range that some economists call the middle of the middle class -- the very audience both candidates were trying to win over last night.
  • Wyatt Andrews

    Wyatt Andrews is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Washington D.C. He is responsible for tracking trends in politics, health care, energy, the environment and foreign affairs.

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