Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fact check: GOP candidates stretch truth in S.C. debate

Source: USAToday:

Romney claimed that "this president has opened up no new markets for American goods around the world in his three years," ignoring trade deals Obama signed in October 2011 with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

When we asked Romney's spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, about this claim, he said the three deals we mentioned were negotiated by the Bush administration and only approved by Congress under Obama. But that, too, ignores work by the Obama administration to break a stalemate and win agreement from lawmakers on the deals. The New York Timessaid that the culmination of the deals "end[ed] a political standoff that has stretched across two presidencies," calling the inking of the pacts "a rare moment of bipartisan accord" and "a victory for President Obama," who bucked some in his own party who opposed the deals.

So it would be accurate to say the president hasn't negotiated any new trade deals, but Romney goes too far when he denies the president any credit for opening up new markets.

Paul vs. history: Income tax

Rep. Ron Paul claimed that the United States had no income tax "up until 1913." Not quite. Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861 to help finance the Civil War.

During the debate, moderator Bret Baier asked each candidate how high they would set the income tax rate. Paul was the only candidate to say "zero" percent, drawing huge applause, and supporting his position with a bogus history lesson.

Paul: Well, we should have the lowest tax that we ever had and up until 1913 it was zero percent. What's so bad about that?

Yes, the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave Congress the explicit power to tax "from whatever source derived." But Congress did impose income taxes prior to that.

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