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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Fact-Checking The Vice Presidential Debate In Kentucky

Jen Nowell |
October 11, 2012 | 8:54 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

The auto industry still has to make up 400,000 jobs to reach pre-recession levels. (C-SPAN)
The auto industry still has to make up 400,000 jobs to reach pre-recession levels. (C-SPAN)
The vice presidential candidates met in Kentucky for Thursday's debate, putting fact-checkers to work as Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan flooded the discussion with facts and numbers.

Neon Tommy has decided to take a look at some of these facts to see if they ring true:

Fact-checking Paul Ryan:


  • Ryan was correct when he said Marine guards serve at both embassies and consulates. Marine guards were not stationed at the "interim facility" in Benghazi, according to Politico. The consulate had a "lock-and-key" security, which is not at the same level as a formal embassy. After Ryan claimed more security was requested, Biden said he wasn't told more security was wanted in Benghazi, but the State Department did receive requests for more security. 
  • Ryan charged that the $787 billion stimulus package overseen by Biden suffered from fraud and waste, but according to government officials, very little of the money was lost to outright criminal fraud. Executive Director Michael Wood, of the Recovery Board, in a press release in September said out of the $276 billion — the amount of taxpayer money allocated for contracts, grants and loans — it's estimated that only $11.1 million had been lost to fraud.
  • Ryan said that no one is considering sending troops Syria, but Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney told CBS News in August that he would send troops in, if it prevented the spread of chemical weapons. 

Fact-checking Joe Biden:

  • Vice President Joe Biden said the auto industry has added 200,000 jobs -- which is true if you start counting when auto companies began the bankruptcy process in spring 2009. In reality, the industry still has about 400,000 fewer jobs than it had at the start of the recession.
  • Biden accused Ryan of proposing budget cuts that would affect spending for embassy security. Ryan has not made a specific proposal that would have that effect, but his broader budget proposal would limit the non-defense discretionary budget. Obama's campaign has argued that if these budget cuts are applied evenly across federal programs, it would result in a $300 million cut for securing and maintaining embassies. Romney is dismissing these claims, saying the Ryan budget didn't specifically call for cuts to embassy security, so it's unfair to draw those conclusions, according to The Hill.
  • Biden made the claim several times that all Americans will be out of Afghanistan by 2014, but he skipped over the fact that some troops will remain, although the final number has yet to be confirmed by Obama. This presence has yet to be agreed upon by the Afghan government.

Reach reporter Jen Nowell here.



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