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Checking the facts

October 16, 2008
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McCain: "And what you want to do to Joe the plumber and millions more like him is have their taxes increased and not be able to realize the American dream of owning their own business."

Fact check: The assertion that "millions" of small-business owners would pay higher taxes under Obama's plan is "untrue," according to Factcheck.org, a fact-checking service sponsored by the Annenberg School of Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. The independent Tax Policy Center, meanwhile, has concluded that several hundred thousand small-business owners, "at most," would pay higher taxes under Obama's plan.

McCain: "We have to have nuclear power . . . which Senator Obama has opposed."

Fact check: The charge is "false," according to factcheck.org. Obama has said he supports nuclear power as long as it is 'clean and safe.' In a town hall meeting in Newton, Iowa, in December 2007, Obama said, "I have not ruled out nuclear [energy] . . . but only so far as it is clean and safe."

McCain: "Senator Obama, as a member of the Illinois state Senate, voted in the Judiciary Committee against a law that would provide immediate medical attention to a child born as a failed abortion."

Fact check: It is true that Obama voted against such a measure as a state senator, but the implication that the fetus would not receive care is false. With or without the bill, Illinois state law would require that the fetus be protected if it was "born alive" during an abortion, according to Factcheck.org.

Obama: "Every dollar that I've proposed, I've proposed an additional cut, so that it matches."

Fact check: The National Taxpayers Union, in analyzing both candidates' plans, found that after accounting for proposed spending cuts, Obama would increase spending by more than $292 billion. McCain, who says he will cut spending, is proposing more than $92 billion in new spending, the study found.

Obama: "And 100 percent, John, of your ads - 100 percent of them - have been negative."

Fact check: Obama was referring to a University of Wisconsin study that found during the week of Sept. 28 to Oct. 4 that McCain's ads were "nearly 100 percent negative" compared with 34 percent of Obama's.

Obama: "Now, Senator McCain - the centerpiece of his economic proposal is to provide $200 billion in additional tax breaks to some of the wealthiest corporations in America. ExxonMobil and other oil companies, for example, would get an additional $4 billion in tax breaks."

Fact check: The charge is "misleading," according to Factcheck.org. "McCain is not proposing any special tax breaks for the oil industry. What he's proposing is a reduction in the corporate income tax rate for all companies."

Compiled by Bryan Bender of the Globe staff and Kevin Baron, Globe correspondent

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