TRUTH TEST: Candidates trade claims in third presidential debate



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Posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:23 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 23 at 10:08 AM

AUSTIN -- In their third debate, Republican challenger Mitt Romney and Democratic President Barack Obama squared off for the final time. During a heated exchange 10 minutes into the match, the president offered a claim about Mitt Romney and Iraq.

"Just a few weeks ago that you indicated we should have more troops in Iraq," the president said over his opponent's objections. "You made it at a major speech."

The speech to which the president was referring was televised. Romney's exact words were, "America's ability to influence events for the better in Iraq has been undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence. The president's tried, he tried, but he also failed to secure a responsible and gradual drawdown that would have better secured our gains."

While the inference could be made, Romney's comment is vague enough to leave room for interpretation. The president's claim doesn't exactly match what Romney said and lacks critical context. For his part, the Republican challenger made an often repeated claim about the president.

"The president said by now we'd be at 5.4 percent unemployment," said Romney. "We're nine million jobs short of that."

The figure comes from estimates on potential jobs the stimulus package may create. The report was issued before the president took office in January of 2009. The president elect explained at the time, "I asked my nominee for Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Dr. Christina Romer, and the Vice President-Elect’s Chief Economic Adviser, Dr. Jared Bernstein, to conduct a rigorous analysis of this plan and come up with projections of how many jobs it will create."

Though the analysis was ultimately inaccurate, it was in fact an estimate and not the promise Romney and others have often suggested.

As the dust now settles on the debate stage, voters will have just two more weeks to decide the winner.

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