Worth Noting

Biden: Factually Wrong

October 02, 2008

Karl Rove joined Hannity & Colmes to share some post-VP debate thoughts and outlined where Sen. Joe Biden got it wrong. From misinterpreting the constitutional role of the vice president to misrepresenting Sen. McCain’s record on key issues, including tax increases and funding of troops in Iraq, Karl Rove counted 10 factually wrong statements made by Sen. Biden during the course of the debate. Below is a clip from Karl’s appearance on Hannity & Colmes, followed by some of his notes on each of Sen. Biden’s misstatements.

Notes from the Architect:

  1. Sen. Biden claimed that Sen. McCain voted the same way that Sen. Obama did on the Democratic budget resolution that calls for a tax increase on those making as little as $42,000 a year. In fact, on March 14, 2008 and again on June 4, 2008, Sen. Obama voted for the Democratic budget resolution, while Sen. McCain did not.

    Sources: U.S. Senate Legislation & Records – March 14, 2008 Vote, Resolution; U.S. Senate Legislation & Records – June 4, 2008: Vote, Resolution

  2. Sen. Biden claimed that in an Obama Administration the top earners in America would "pay no more than they did under Ronald Reagan." When President Reagan came into office, the top marginal tax rate was 70 percent. While in office, he lowered the top marginal tax rate to 28 percent. In an Obama Administration, the top marginal tax rate would be raised to 39.6 percent, which is higher than President Reagan's 28 percent.

    Sources: The Impact of the Presidential Candidates' Tax Proposals on Effective Marginal Tax Rates; Lowering Marginal Tax Rates: The Key to Pro-Growth Tax Relief

  3. Senator Biden claimed that it would take 10 years to get any oil from new production. However, the chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute estimates that some offshore installations could be brought online within only 2-3 years.

    Source: CNN Money: American's favor offshore drilling

  4. On the Resolution to Authorize the Use of Force Against Iraq, Sen. Biden stated that he "voted for the power because he [President Bush] said he needed it not to go to war but to keep the United States, the UN in line, to keep sanctions on Iraq and not let them be lifted."

    In fact, on October 2, 2002 before Sen. Biden voted for the resolution, President Bush said that if Saddam Hussein "persists in his defiance, the use of force may become unavoidable."

    Source: White House Office of the Press Secretary: President, House Leadership Agree on Iraq Resolution

  5. Senator Biden claimed that "with regard to Barack Obama not quote funding the troops, John McCain voted the exact same way." That is incorrect, as Sen. McCain voted for the final passage of the bill funding the troops while Sen. Obama voted against the bill.

    Sources: U.S. Senate Legislation & Records – May 24, 2007 Vote H.R. 2206; Bill

  6. Sen. Biden claimed "we spend more money in three weeks on combat in Iraq than we spent on the entirety of the last seven years that we have been in Afghanistan building that country."

    In reality, according to the Congressional Budget Office and Department of Defense, of the funds appropriated for activities related to the war on terror around Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007, "Operation Iraqi Freedom accounted for approximately 85 percent of all reported obligations; Operation Enduring Freedom (which refers mainly to operations in and around Afghanistan) accounted for another 15 percent." The US spends as much in 51 weeks – not 7 years – in Afghanistan as it spends in every three weeks in Iraq.

    Source: Congressional Budget Office, The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2008 to 2018

  7. Sen. Biden said of Vice President Cheney that, "He doesn't realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that's the Executive Branch."

    However, Article I of the Constitution is actually about the Legislative Branch of government and the Vice President is mentioned in both Article I (Sections 3) and Article II (Sections 1 & 4).

    Source: Cornell University Law School: The United States Constitution

  8. Sen. Biden said that Gov. Palin "imposed a windfall profits tax up there in Alaska." The Encyclopedia Britannica defines an excess or windfall profits tax as a tax on an amount of profit that exceeds a set standard. An example of a windfall profits tax is President Carter's 1980 tax on oil company profits, where the government took 50 percent of everything above $26 a barrel.

    However, Gov. Palin's energy policy was an increase in the royalties paid for oil pumped from state lands, not a windfall profits tax.

    Sources: Britannica Online Dictionary

  9. Sen. Biden claimed "Barack Obama, first thing he did when he came to the United States Senate, new senator, reached across the aisle to my colleague, Dick Lugar, a Republican, and said, "We've got to do something about keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists."

    "They put together a piece of legislation that, in fact, was serious and real. Every major – I shouldn't say every – on the two at least that I named, I know that John McCain has been opposed to extending the arms control regime in the world."

    In fact, this vote was so uncontroversial and unimportant that it passed the Senate by voice vote, where the votes of Senators are not even recorded.  For more information on Sen. Obama's backing for what was a Bush Administration initiative and more examples of Senator Biden's hype, see my Weekly Standard piece, Biden's Exaggerations.

    Sources: Sen. Obama Press Release: Lugar-Obama Bill to Keep Weapons Out of Terrorists' Hands Passes Congress

  10. Sen. Biden claimed that on US action in Bosnia "initially John McCain opposed it along with a lot of other people."

    However, Senator McCain actually helped to pass a Senate resolution supporting the American mission in Bosnia. He voted for the resolution on December 13, 1995.

    Sources: Q&A/John McCain: Why Senate Skeptic Backed Bosnia Mission, U.S. Senate Legislation & Records – December 13, 1995 Vote
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