WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney traded facts and figures from Medicare to the Middle East on Tuesday night in the second of three presidential debates.
But not everything the candidates said during the high-stakes debate at Long Islands Hofstra University was concrete correct. Heres a fact check of some of what they said:
In response to the debates first question, Romney said: I want to make sure we keep our Pell Grant program growing. Were also going to have our own loan program, so that people are able to afford school.
Romney has argued that a flood of federal dollars is contributing to the increasing cost of higher education. In an education white paper he vowed not to write a blank check to universities to reward their tuition increases. Romneys campaign said he would not reduce the maximum Pell Grant award of $5,550 a year.
Romney suggested early in the debate that he proposed bankruptcy for General Motors and Chrysler and that Obama pursued the plan Romney suggested. Thats not correct. Obama pursued a structured bankruptcy for the automakers, one where details such as what unions and management would each give up, and what would happen to restructuring of the companies debt, were worked out in advance. This assured the companies would enter and leave bankruptcy quickly, instead of a long, drawn-out proceeding that could have pulled many suppliers into bankruptcy, too.
Romney suggested that the lack of a clear energy policy is why gasoline prices are higher today than when Obama took office. Obama correctly noted that he came into office amid the deepest crisis since the Great Depression, one where demand for gasoline and oil plunged and took prices with it. Separately, however, there is plenty of evidence than the price of oil has increasingly been driven by factors having little to do with supply and demand, factors such as large-scale financial speculation, soaring oil prices because of fears of Middle East unrest and even the strength or weakness of the U.S. dollar.
Obama and Romney sparred over why the number of leases on federal land for oil and gas drilling have fallen. Obama correctly noted that he revamped the leasing program in an effort to force energy companies to use their leases or lose them. Curiously, the president did not mention the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Much of the drilling on federal land is actually offshore, and much of the falloff in production came in the aftermath of the devastating oil spill, when the administration halted deepwater drilling and slowed shallow water activity in order to review safety procedures.
Romney challenged the Obama administrations varying accounts of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi.
He said that the president himself called it an act of terror in a Rose Garden statement the following day, and yet five days later, Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called it a spontaneous assault prompted by an anti-Islamic video posted on YouTube. The first administration official to publicly call the assault a "terrorist attack" was Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, during a Sept. 19 appearance before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.