Last night's presidential debate at the University of Denver was an exercise in futility, both for viewers and moderator Jim Lehrer. I couldn't Google fast enough to make sense of all the claims and accusations that flew fast and furious between President Obama and Governor Romney.
It seems I wasn't alone though; Thursday morning's news has brought forth a slew of fact check articles. Apparently even the professionals needed a few hours to suss out the exaggerations and outright falsehoods.
In short, Romney was vague on details and left many questions unsatisfactorily answered, and Obama jumped to the worst possible conclusions to fill in those gaps. Likewise, both men laid claim to good news that really wasn't news at all.
Obama vowed to use money saved by ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for rebuilding America. From the Washington Post Fact Checker:
The Bush administration never properly accounted for war spending, refusing to project costs in the future, which kept its deficit projections artificially low. Now that the wars are winding down, the Obama administration is happy to project costs far into the future, because it artificially inflates the potential deficit reduction.
You can't save money that hasn't been budgeted and appropriated. (But you sure can spend it, right GWB?)
Meanwhile, Romney vowed to create 12 million jobs while he's president. The Fact Checker dampens enthusiasm considerably with these projections:
Moody’s Analytics, in an August forecast, predicts 12 million jobs will be created by 2016, no matter who is president. And Macroeconomic Advisors in April also predicted a gain of 12.3 million jobs.
Perhaps those who haven't been following the campaign closely aren't so wary of these claims, but I can't believe we're still hearing about the $716B in Medicare cuts, which has been addressed ad nauseum by FactCheck.org, among others. Likewise, the government "takeover" of health care was named PolitiFact's "Lie of the Year" in 2010, and yet it's still a talking point.
Fact checking by The New York Times, Washington Post, and The New Republic all identified errors in arithmetic by both candidates. It seems that we voters need to check the work behind all the answers; none of it can be taken at face value.
In the meantime, I'll be brushing up on my typing skills so as to be more adept at Googling in real time for the next debate.
Image via ABCNews