The Debate

Fact Checking Obama

Was Barack Obama upfront in his State of the Union address last night? The New York Times takes a look.

This is very cool: The New York Times has video of Barack Obama’s State of the Union address from last night paired with a real-time transcript down the side and a fact check on some key points.

On the issues I mentioned in my blog post, the fact check says of a couple of them:

Claim: Bin Laden Not a Threat to the U.S.

President Obama can claim a record of aggressive pursuit of al-Qaeda and its affiliates abroad over the past year, including the killing of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda's founder, in May; Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born propagandist and plotter for the terrorist network's branch in Yemen, in September; and scores of suspected militants in Pakistan.

Before the mission to kill Bin Laden, Mr. Obama made a high-risk decision to send a Navy Seal team deep into Pakistani territory without alerting Pakistani officials, a bold move that later drew praise even from some Republicans.

Claim: I’ve proposed a new defense strategy that ensures we maintain the finest military in the world, while saving nearly half a trillion dollars in our budget.

Mr. Obama's assertion that he has a defense strategy that ensures that the United States maintains the finest military in the world is hard to quibble with, since even with coming defense cuts America will still spend $500 billion each year on its military, which is almost as much as all other military budgets in the world combined.

Although the Republican presidential candidates have charged that Mr. Obama is gutting defense, in reality it was both Republicans and Democrats in Congress who agreed with Mr. Obama last summer to cut $450 billion in Pentagon spending over the next decade, or about 8 percent of the base Pentagon budget. There is a potential for an additional $500 billion in Pentagon budget cuts over a decade if Congress follows through on deeper reductions, but Mr. Obama's defense secretary, Leon E. Panetta, has characterized them as ruinous.