U.S. Debate: Misquotes, Flawed Conclusions

Posted October 23rd, 2012 at 2:10 am (UTC-5)
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In the aftermath of the third U.S. presidential debate, analysts are finding new and repeated inaccuracies in the candidates' arguments, on topics ranging from Iraq to al-Qaida.

Immediately following Monday's debate, experts criticized U.S. President Barack Obama for misconstruing a comment Mr. Romney made earlier in the campaign, when the Republican candidate said “It's not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars” to catch Osama bin Laden. While Mr. Obama claimed Mr. Romney did not consider finding the terrorist leader important, analysts say Mr. Romney specified he favored a broader approach to dealing with al-Qaida, rather than a manhunt narrowly focused on its leader.

Mr. Obama also drew criticism for saying his opponent called ending the war in Iraq “tragic.” Fact-checkers say when Mr. Romney made the remark, he made clear that he was criticizing only the pace of the withdrawal, which he felt was too swift.

Mr. Romney said the U.S. Navy is smaller now than at any time since, 1917, and the Air Force is older and smaller than at any time since its founding in 1947. But experts say having a smaller fleet of ships or aircraft does not mean the military is weakened — in fact, updated technology and changing needs may simply make a larger fleet unnecessary.

Mr. Obama responded by joking that because of changing military needs, the nation's forces also have fewer horses and bayonets .

Mr. Romney misspoke outright when he said Syria and Iran are allied because Syria is Iran's “route to the sea.” Iran has its own coastline and no land border with Syria.