Obama and Romney agreed in the final debate that people will look up some of their claims. So, here I am to prove them right, fact-checking some claims from tonight’s debate.
Romney said that Syria is “Iran’s route to the sea.” That is false. And a quick glance at a map shows why. Syria does not border Iran, and Iran has over a thousand miles of coastline.Apparently this is not the first time he’s said this and been ridiculed for it.
Obama said that this week, the US and Israel are holding the largest joint military exercise in history. That is true.
Romney said that Pakistan has about 100 nuclear weapons. That is true.
Romney cited Tesla as an example of a failed company the Administration invested in. That is false. Tesla is a successful company. Forbes says
In fact, Tesla and Musk, a self-made billionaire whose Space X startup is privatizing space travel, would seem to be poster children for the type of entrepreneurialism Romney says he seeks to unleash.
Obama said trade to China has doubled in the last four years. This is true.
Under Bush, exports to China rose as well. When Obama took office, exports to China had dipped sharply from the Great Recession. From the trough of the dip, shortly after Obama took office, exports to China have more than doubled.
The biggest claim of the night, though, was on Romney’s New York Times op-ed from November 2008, entitled, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”
Obama is essentially right on this. Romney said in his op-ed,
If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.
Romney does end the op-ed by calling for federal investment in research, and for having a fund in place to get the industry on its feet after post-bankruptcy restructuring. But the broader point of his op-ed is that the US needs to gut the United Auto Workers union. He says that the key to Detroit’s future success is to cut workers’ salaries, benefits and pensions. Ultimately, he does say, as Obama claimed, that the private sector should manage itself.
But don’t ask Washington to give shareholders and bondholders a free pass — they bet on management and they lost.
The American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing. A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs.
Obama’s larger point that if Romney had been elected president in 2008, his laissez faire approach would have costs hundreds of thousands of Americans their jobs. And it would have gutted the kind of worker protections that we have fought for for over a century. Obama’s point that his leadership saved jobs in Detroit and Romney would have destroyed jobs in Detroit is correct.