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Fact Check Thursday: Romney Vs. Obama – Round One

Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama debate at the University of Denver - Oct. 3, 2012 (credit: Rick Wilking-Pool/Getty Images)

Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama debate at the University of Denver – Oct. 3, 2012 (credit: Rick Wilking-Pool/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - It’s Fact Check Thursday, when we put the Presidential campaigns under the scrutiny of factcheck.org, a nonpartisan non-profit part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Usually, we present this segment on Fridays, but this week, we’re presenting it one day earlier to strike while the iron is hot after last night’s first debate between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.

Factcheck.org headlined it “Dubious Denver Denver Debate Declarations.” Great alliteration on their part.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot Checks The Facts

Let’s start with something we heard over and over from the President last night on the size of Romney’s tax cut plan.

“$5 trillion in tax cuts and $2 trillion in additional military spending,” Obama said.

WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot spoke to factcheck.org’s Brooks Jackson. He and his team have analyzed the President’s $5 trillion number.

“True or false?” asked Cabot.

“Well, it would be true if all we were talking about was cutting rates 20 percent; eliminating the estate tax, which, of course, benefits the wealthy; and all the other things Romney’s promised,” Jackson said. “But Romney has, in the midst of all that, promised he wouldn’t raise the deficit. He’d pay for this by closing loopholes, broadening the base, and that sort of thing. And he says it’s not a $5 trillion tax cut.”

How about the following claim from Romney?

“I will not reduce the taxes paid by high income Americans,” said Romney.

“And he says he will lower taxes paid by middle income Americans and he says none of this will increase the deficit. It’ll all somehow come out revenue neutral,” Jackson said. “Problem with that is, of course, that independent analysts who’ve looked at this thing say it’s just not mathematically possible to do all those things. You can’t slash rates, hold everything revenue neutral, without disproportionately favoring the wealthy.”

Did the President oversell his health care law – the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called “Obamacare” (as Romney called it last night)?

“Well, he said that health care premiums were at a low over many decades. Actually, what he was talking about is overall medical spending and, in fact, that really had nothing to do, or very little to do, with the health care law,” Jackson said. “That was mostly due to the economy. People had lost their insurance. The had less money to spend on health care.”

Jackson said health care premiums actually went up nine percent in the most recent year and about one, two, or three percent of that was due to the health care law itself.

Romney also spoke about the Affordable Care Act.

“I’d just as soon not have the government telling me what kind of health care I get,” Romney said.

Is that true?

“No. There’s a board charged only with reducing Medicare payments. Wouldn’t affect anybody who isn’t on medicare and it specifically prohibited by law from cutting benefits or rationing care,” Jackson said. “So, just one of those claims that keeps getting made about the health care law that’s not true.”

We’ll check the facts again after the next debate. For your information, the first Vice Presidential debate is on October 11, the second Presidential debate is on October 16 at Hofstra University, and the third and final Presidential debate is on October 22.