- (Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young)
A bevy of statistics and accusations of lying characterized some of the heated debate Tuesday between presidential candidates Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. Here is a fact check of three of those exchanges.
The Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, Libya
Obama claimed that he called the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi an "act of terror" in a Rose Garden speech the day after the attack. Romney took exception to that and said that it took 14 days for Obama to call it an "act of terror." The debate moderator, CNN's Candy Crowley, claimed that both were correct -- Obama did call the attack an "act of terror" but Obama also claimed for two weeks that the attack was sparked by an anti-Muslim YouTube video.
In Obama's Sept. 12 remarks, the day after the attack, he said, "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for."
So Obama did use the phrase "acts of terror" in the speech about the Benghazi attack. The phrase is used in a generalized statement, though, and he did not acknowledge that it was a terrorist attack. Plus, as Crowley pointed out, Obama and other administration officials continued to reference the video and said there was spontaneous demonstration before the attack for about two weeks.
State Department officials recently testified before a congressional hearing that there was no demonstration before the attack and that the State Department never claimed that the attack was in response to an anti-Muslim video. State Department personnel were also in contact with officials in Benghazi as the attack was happening.
Letting Detroit Go Bankrupt
Obama claimed that Romney said "Detroit," by which he meant General Motors and Chrysler, should be allowed to go bankrupt. Romney countered that Obama "took Detroit bankrupt."
"So when you say that I wanted to take the auto industry bankrupt, you actually did," Romney said.
"What Governor Romney said just isn't true," Obama replied. "He wanted to take them into bankruptcy without providing them any way to stay open."
Romney wrote a New York Times editorial in November 2008, arguing that American car companies need to restructure in order to survive. At the end of the editorial, Romney said that the "American auto industry is vital to our national interest" and "a managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs."
The title of the article was, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," but Romney did not write the title. A New York Times editor wrote it.
GM and Chrysler did go bankrupt. Romney criticized the way Obama handled the managed bankruptcy at the time, arguing against the government assistance. Obama argues that the car companies would not have survived after the managed bankruptcy without the government assistance.
Romney claimed that under Obama oil production on government land is down 14 percent and the number of new leases for oil production is down. Obama claimed that oil, natural gas and coal production on government land have all increased.
Romney is correct on both counts, but he is also cherry-picking his data. Oil production on government land dropped 14 percent from 2010 to 2011, but it rose the first two years of the Obama administration and much of the drop-off is due to the 2010 Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Similarly, oil leases increased in Obama's first two years, but saw a dramatic drop in 2011 due to the moratorium on new leases he put in place after the disaster in the Gulf.
Looking at the production of fossil fuels on government land for the first three years of the Obama administration, Obama was correct for one of the three. Oil production is up overall, but natural gas and coal production on public lands are down from 2008 to 2011.