By Farah Stockman and Bryan Bender, Globe Staff
Here is a factual assessment of some of the candidates' statements in last night's debate:
McCain: "Look, we're sending $700 billion a year overseas to countries that don't like us very much. Some of that money ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations."
Fact Check: The United States is on track to pay about $536 billion this year for foreign oil and about one-third of those payments go to Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, which are long-time US allies, according to the nonpartisan Factcheck.org at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
McCain: “Senator Obama said the surge could not work, said it would increase sectarian violence, said it was doomed to failure."
Fact Check: Obama said at the time that the increase in roughly 30,000 US troops in Iraq could improve security in "certain neighborhoods" but that it would not solve the long term political strife between Iraq's ethnic and religious groups. "I don't think there's been any doubt that if we put U.S. troops in that, in the short term, we might see some improvement in certain neighborhoods," he said in March 2007. In a September 2007, speech Obama said "the stated purpose of the surge was to enable Iraq's leaders to reconcile. Our troops fight and die in the 120 degree heat to give Iraq's leaders space to agree, but they aren't filling it."
McCain: "And Senator Obama, who after promising not to vote to cut off funds for the troops, did the incredible thing of voting to cut off the funds for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Fact Check: Obama did vote against a 2007 spending bill that did not include language calling for withdrawing troops from Iraq, but then voted for the version that did. That version was vetoed by President Bush, though McCain does not say Bush cut off funding for the troops. Overall, Obama voted yes on at least 10 other war funding bills prior to the single no vote.
McCain: “I voted for alternate fuel all my time.… No one can be opposed to alternate energy, no one.”
Fact Check: In his 26 years in Congress, McCain has voted against several bills and amendments calling for new investments in renewable energy, according to official Senate records. In March 2002, for example, McCain voted against an amendment to require utilities to generate 10 percent of electricity from renewable energy facilities by 2020.
Obama: McCain's tax plan would give oil companies "an additional $4 billion in tax breaks."
Fact Check: McCain's plan entails cutting the overall corporate tax rate and does not represent a special $4 billion in tax breaks for the oil companies. Both Obama and McCain have proposed plans that eliminate tax loopholes for oil and gas companies, according to Associated Press.
Obama: said that he did not convene any policy hearings as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Subcommittee on European Affairs because "the issues of Afghanistan, the issues of Iraq, critical issues like that don't go through my subcommittee because they're done as a committee as a whole."
FactCheck: Obama adviser Greg Craig acknowledged in March of 2008 that Obama's presidential candidacy prevented him from calling hearings, saying to ABC News: "The record is what it is. He didn’t become chairman of that subcommittee until January of 2007. The fact is that he made his announcement for president of the US in February of 2007. So, he had other things on his mind.”
Obama: said that the Bush administration has "coddled" Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf while the Pakistanis "weren't going after al Qaeda."
FactCheck: The Pakistani military has lost 1,200 soldiers since 2004 in the war against Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in the tribal areas and flown more than 100 F16 missions against tribal fighters, according to Pakistani military officials.
Obama: "Senator McCain mentioned Henry Kissinger, who is one of his advisers, who along with five recent secretaries of state just said we should meet with Iran -- guess what? -- without preconditions."
FactCheck: Kissinger did call for high-level negotiations with Iran without preconditions, but said he felt such meetings should be held at the level of the Secretary of State, not the president, according to a transcript of his remarks at a foreign policy forum.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.