- October 12, 2012 - 5:46 AM
ATTACK IN LIBYA
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN, on whether U.S. should have beefed up security at the U.S. consulate in Libya before the deadly terrorist attack there: "We weren't told they wanted more security there."
REP. PAUL RYAN: "There were requests for more security."
THE FACTS: Ryan is right, judging by testimony from Obama administration officials at a congressional hearing this week. Charlene Lamb, a deputy assistant secretary for diplomatic security, told lawmakers she refused requests for more security in Benghazi, saying the State Department wanted to train Libyans to protect the consulate. Eric Nordstrom, who was the top security official in Libya earlier this year, testified he was criticized for seeking more security.
RYAN: "And then they put this new Obamacare board in charge of cutting Medicare each and every year in ways that will lead to denied care for current seniors."
THE FACTS: Ryan is referring to the Independent Payment Advisory Board, created under President Obama's health care overhaul law. It has the power to force cuts in Medicare payments to service providers if costs rise above certain levels and Congress fails to act. But it doesn't look like the board will be cutting Medicare "each and every year." Medicare costs are currently rising modestly and the government's experts project the board's intervention will not be needed until 2018 and 2019 at the earliest.
BIDEN: "What we did is, we saved $716 billion and put it back, applied it to Medicare."
THE FACTS: Not all the money cut from Medicare is going back into the program in some other way. The administration is cutting $716 billion over 10 years in Medicare payments to providers and using some of the money to improve benefits under the program. But most of the money is being used to expand health care coverage outside of Medicare.
BIDEN, when asked who would pay more taxes in Obama's second term: "People making a million dollars or more."
THE FACTS: Obama's proposed tax increase reaches further down the income ladder than millionaires. He wants to roll back Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making over $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000.
RYAN: "We cannot allow Iran to gain a nuclear weapons capability ... When Barack Obama was elected, they had enough fissile material -- nuclear material -- to make one bomb. Now they have enough for five. They're racing toward a nuclear weapon."
THE FACTS: Ryan's claim is misleading. Iran isn't believed to have produced any of the highly enriched uranium needed to produce even one nuclear weapon, let alone five. There is intelligence suggesting that Iran has worked on weapon designs, but not that it has developed a delivery system for any potential nuclear warhead.
BIDEN: "Romney said, 'No, let Detroit go bankrupt.'"
THE FACTS: GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has gotten endless grief through the campaign for the headline put on his November 2008 opinion essay that he wrote for the New York Times. But his point was never that he wanted the auto industry to go down the tubes. Romney opposed using government money to bail out Chrysler and General Motors, instead favoring privately financed bankruptcy restructuring. His prescription seemed improbable. Automakers were hemorrhaging cash and the banking system was in crisis, so private money wasn't available. Without the government money, it's likely both companies would have gone out of business.
© 2013 Star Tribune