Fact Check: Education, Spending and Terror

In the closing days of the campaign, the misstatements and misleading remarks are flying.

In Milwaukee today, Sen. John Kerry slammed President Bush on education. "George Bush talks a lot about 'No Child Left Behind,' but what he doesn't tell you is that he's left the funding behind, and that's wrong," Kerry said.

Has Bush left funding behind for that bill?

Not exactly. According to the Department of Education, funding for programs covered under the new law has been around $24 billion -- a dramatic increase in new education spending. But Democrats claim they were promised $27 billion more than that, and they point out Congress authorized more than the president requested.

Speaking of spending, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., today, Bush said Kerry has "promised about $2.2 trillion of new spending. That's with a 't.' "

Has Kerry promised $2.2 trillion in new spending?

The figure, spread over 10 years, comes from a study by the American Enterprise Institute, a respected think tank that describes itself as being "dedicated to limited government [and] private enterprise."

Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, says the AEI figure "seems to exaggerate the amount of spending that he's proposed and probably doesn't give him credit for offsets that he's proposed as well." For Bixby and his group -- which is dedicated to the elimination of the deficit and national debt -- "the bigger point here is that both candidates are proposing over a trillion dollars in new initiatives that we just can't afford at this time."

Even though Kerry's speech was focused on women's issues -- like the pay gap between male and female workers -- he also managed to work in a reference to Halliburton. "When [President Bush] hands Halliburton a $7 billion no-bid contract," Kerry quipped, "well let me tell you, there isn't any pay gap there."

Did Bush hand Halliburton a $7 billion no-bid contract?

"The president didn't award those contracts, the Pentagon did," says Brooks Jackson of factcheck.org, "and that's an important distinction."

Moreover, according to a Government Accountability Office report from June, the "sole-source contract for rebuilding Iraq's oil infrastructure" awarded to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root -- the one Democrats often criticize -- was properly awarded since KBR was "the only contractor that was determined to be in a position to provide the services within the required time frame."

Finally, Bush makes this charge just about every day now: "My opponent also misunderstands our battle against insurgents and terrorists. He's called it a diversion from the war on terror."

Did Kerry say that? In the speech the president is referring to -- delivered on Sept. 24 -- Kerry said, "the invasion of Iraq was a profound diversion from the battle against our greatest enemy -- al Qaeda -- which killed more than 3,000 people on 9/11 and which still plots our destruction today."

Thus Kerry was saying that invading Iraq -- toppling Saddam Hussein -- was the "diversion." He was not referring to the current battle against insurgents and terrorists. In fact, one sentence later in that speech, Kerry said, "Iraq is now what it was not before the war -- a haven for terrorists," drawing a distinction between the enemies U.S. troops fight today and those whom they were charged with defeating upon invasion.

ABC News' Daniel Arnall, Charles Herman and Lisa Stark contributed to this report.

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