Reality Check On The VP Debate

The CBS News Reality Check Team fact checks the debate...

Obama Voting 94 times To Increase Taxes?:
Sarah Palin: "Barack Obama had 94 opportunities to side on the people's side and reduce taxes and 94 times he voted to increase taxes or not support a tax reduction. 94 times."

The facts on this have been widely commented on since the Republican National Committee began using this erroneous fact in July of this year. Of the 94 votes, 23 did not increase taxes were votes against proposed cuts. Seven of the votes were offset votes, calling for taxes for some, but less taxes for others. Some measures had more than one vote, which compounds the number. According to non-partisan, 53 of 94 votes were budget measures that had nothing to do with raising taxes.

Obama Meet with Ahmadinejad?:
Biden's claim that Obama never said he would meet Ahmadinejad is wrong. In a CNN /You Tube debate last year, Obama said he would. Here's the excerpt from the transcript:

Anderson Cooper: In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?

OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous.

Sarah Palin Pushed to Raise Taxes as Mayor of Wasilla:
Palin said: "As mayor every year I was in office I did reduce taxes."

When she was mayor Sarah Palin successfully pushed for a referendum to raise local sales taxes to pay for a multi-use sports complex. In a Wasilla City Hall memo obtained by CBS News, Palin said it made sense to raise taxes because there was strong support for the hockey rink, the private sector had failed to step in and because it would be good to use government money to prevent social problems instead of spending money to try and fix them.

Palin on Natural Gas Pipeline:
Palin claims,"We're building a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline which is North America's largest and most expensive infrastructure project ever". has examined this claim. While Palin's proposed pipeline is the longest, it is not the most expensive infrastructure project.

The Alaska Pipeline was completed in 1977 at a cost of $8 billion. Adjusted for inflation, this would be at least 27-billion in 2007 dollars.

The pipeline that Palin refers to is expected to cost $26 billion, not $40 billion according to Transcanada.

Obama Position on Afghanistan Out of Context:
Palin's claim that Obama said, "All we're doing in Afghanistan is air-raiding villages and killing civilians.." is a distortion. Obama did not say this was "all we're doing."

Obama quote from Associated Press August 14, 2007: "We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there."

Palin referred to the commanding general in Afghanistan as McClellan. Not quite. General David McKiernan is the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Obama Plan Raise Taxes on Middle Class?:
Governor Palin claims Obama's plan would increase taxes on the middle class, saying tonight, "Barack Obama even supported increasing taxes as late as last year for those families making only $42,000 a year- that's a lot of middle income average American families. To increase taxes on them, I think that is the way to kill jobs and continue to harm our economy."

This is a distortion.

Obama voted for two non-binding resolutions that would have rolled back the Bush 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, not to raise taxes. And at $42,000, Obama's tax plan actually gives greater tax cuts to these middle class families than McCain's.

Palin: Energy Bill Tax Breaks to Oil Companies?:
Palins claim the 2005 Energy Bill gave big tax breaks to the oil companies. This is misleading. The fact is there were tax cuts, but according to the Congressional Research Service, tax increases on the oil companies-- in the same bill--were 300 million greater.

Biden Voted Against the 2005 Energy Bill, Contradicting his Running Mate's Position:
Biden tonight defended Obama's vote for the 2005 Energy Bill, but Biden himself voted against this legislation because he said it was written by big oil companies. This was a bill to ensure jobs in the energy industry and included $2.8 billion in subsidies for oil and natural gas production.

McCain's Health Care Plan:
Palin claims McCain's health care plan is budget neutral, saying tonight, "He's proposing a $5000 tax credit for families so that they can get out there and they can purchase their own health care coverage. And that's a smart thing to do-that's budget neutral. That doesn't cost the government anything, as opposed to Barack Obama's plan to mandate health care coverage and have this universal government-run program."

The fact is most economists fear McCain's refundable tax credits will actually result in deficit spending.

Claims are Flying Already:
The Obama campaign just sent out a pre-debate pitch to supporters for dollars. Meanwhile, their communications team sent a list of "5 attacks we expect tonight," and their defense of each. They say they expect Palin to attack Obama on spending, taxes and the one time he voted against troop funding because he wanted a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

But while the Obama campaign is loading inboxes with pre-emptive defense of claims against their presidential candidate, the McCain campaign is attacking Biden. They sent reporters a cheat sheet on prior Biden "tall tales."
By The CBS News Reality Check Team