During tonight’s vice presidential debate, we will be posting live fact checks on The Washington Post’s Election 2012 Blog. Then, we will have a full report on this Web page that will post in the wee hours of Friday.

Remember, if you hear something fishy, send a tweet to #FactCheckThis.

 In the meantime, here are links to some of our previous fact checks about Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, as well as links to some of the key issues likely to come up in this debate.

Joe Biden

 “Romney vetoed a bill passed by the Massachusetts legislature that would have stopped the state from outsourcing contracts overseas.”

Biden loves this claim, which he said could be fact checked. We did, and it does not add up. Romney had a plan to curb the outsourcing of jobs out of state, but the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill that both the liberal Boston Globe and conservative Boston Herald said was so poorly conceived that they urged a veto. The Democratic-dominated Massachusetts legislature did not override his veto, even though it overturned 117 others, suggesting there was little real support for the measure.


“Their plan on Social Security, the one they have now, would raise taxes on your Social Security. The average senior would have to pay $460 a year more in tax for their Social Security.”

Romney has no plan to raise Social Security taxes, but the Obama campaign makes this claim based on an interpretation of what could happen under Romney tax plan if not enough tax deductions can be found to make up for lost revenue. So this is an average of an assumption of an assumption. Pretty thin gruel  for such a specific figure.

“The six months before we took office, the bottom fell out. There were 5 million jobs lost. Before we got the first bill passed, another 3 million jobs lost. So we started off with an 8 million job deficit that wasn't of our making.”

Biden is always getting these numbers mixed up. In this case, the total is actually 4 million jobs, in part because he said 5 million jobs when he meant to say 3.5 million. Another time, he padded the jobs numbers by adding extra month to the total.


Paul Ryan

“We passed a budget which, according to somebody from S&P, would have prevented this downgrade from happening in the first place.”


 Ryan has a tendency to sugarcoat history. He has claimed Standard & Poor’s would never have removed the triple AAA rating for U.S. Treasuries if the GOP budget plan was passed, when in fact S&P said it was the failure of Republicans and Democrats to demonstrate they could work together that led directly to the downgrade. Another time, he used a misleading historical analogy an example of bipartisan cooperation.


“I voted for a mechanism”

It will be interesting to see if Ryan, a long-time member of Congress, lapses into Washington doublespeak. He voted for the budget bill that threatens to slash defense spending at the end of the year, even calling it a “victory” at the time. But he has tried to defend his vote by claiming it was only a “mechanism,” not an actual cut itself—and that he proposed a bill to reverse the cuts.

“You have 219 new regulations coming out, costing over $100 million each.” 

There are serious problems with this claim, frequently repeated by Republicans. Many of the regulations had no due date for completion; others had already been completed. The rules are listed as being economically significant if they have “economic impact” of $100 million, which could mean costs, benefits or both. It is incorrect to assume all of the potential regulations have only costs.


Fact Checking Tools



 The old-age health program is sure to be an issue. We answered reader questions, including the frequent charge that Obama cut Medicare spending by more than $700 billion.


Social Security

 Read our extensive primer to the program that provides workers with a basic level of income in retirement, as well as disability pay and life insurance while they work.


Federal Budget

 Both sides make incorrect claims about President Obama’s budget. Here is a look at some of the charges and countercharges.


Bain Capital

 The Obama campaign has leveled many claims about Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital, and here is a collection of 10 columns. And this is a look at one of Biden’s favorite claims—that Romney got a “bailout’ that cost taxpayers $10 million.


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