McCain and Obama debated for the second time, in Nashville. We noted some misleading statements and mangled facts:
- McCain proposed to write down the amount owed by over-mortgaged homeowners and claimed the idea as his own: “It’s my proposal, it's not Sen. Obama's proposal, it's not President Bush's proposal.” But the idea isn’t new. Obama had endorsed something similar two weeks earlier, and authority for the treasury secretary to grant such relief was included in the recently passed $700 billion financial rescue package.
- Both candidates oversimplified the causes of the financial crisis. McCain blamed it on Democrats who resisted tighter regulation of federal mortgage agencies. Obama blamed it on financial deregulation backed by Republicans. We find both are right, with plenty of blame left over for others, from home buyers to the chairman of the Federal Reserve.
- Obama said his health care plan would lower insurance premiums by up to $2,500 a year. Experts we’ve consulted see little evidence such savings would materialize.
- McCain misstated his own health care plan, saying he’d give a $5,000 tax credit to “every American” His plan actually would provide only $2,500 per individual, or $5,000 for couples and families. He also misstated Obama’s health care plan, claiming it would levy fines on “small businesses” that fail to provide health insurance. Actually, Obama’s plan exempts “small businesses.”
- McCain lamented that the U.S. was forced to “withdraw in humiliation” from Somalia in 1994, but he failed to note that he once proposed to cut off funding for troops to force a faster withdrawal.
- Obama said, “I favor nuclear power.” That’s a stronger statement than we've heard him make before. As recently as last December, he said, “I am not a nuclear energy proponent.”
- McCain claimed “1.3 million people in America make their living off eBay.” Actually, only 724,000 persons in the U.S. have income from eBay, and only some of them rely on it as their primary source.