FACT CHECK: The Truth Hurt During Debate

Sarah Palin, Joe Biden debate claims not entirely accurate.

ByABC News
October 2, 2008, 8:49 PM

Oct. 3, 2008 — -- Stakes were high in the first and only vice presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden as they sparred at the University of Washington in St. Louis, Mo., Thursday night.

During the 90-minute debate covering everything from the economy, the Iraq War, foreign policy and health care, both candidates made claims that were, well, not entirely accurate.

ABC News independently fact checked some of these claims and found both vice presidential wannabes were guilty of stretching the truth during the debate.

Bankruptcy Law

BIDEN: "We should be allowing bankruptcy courts to be able to readjust, not just the interest rate you are paying on your mortgage to be able to stay in your home, but in -- be able to adjust the principal that you owe, the principal that that you owe. That would keep people in their homes; actually help banks by keeping them from going under. But John McCain, as I understand it -- I'm not sure of this, but I believe John McCain and the governor don't support that….

GWEN IFILL: Gov. Palin, is that so?

PALIN: That is not so.

FACT: The Senate has voted only once this year on legislation that would change bankruptcy laws to help distressed homeowners. John McCain was absent for that vote. Contrary to what Palin says, the McCain campaign acknowledges that he does not support those changes to bankruptcy laws.

Palin on Troop Levels in Iraq

During an exchange on Iraq, Palin erroneously claimed the United States is down to presurge levels in Iraq. Palin said, "We have got to win Iraq. And with the surge that has worked we're now down to presurge numbers in Iraq. That's where we could be." Palin is incorrect.

FACT: The Alaska governor is wrong because the number of troops on the ground is still higher and the number of combat brigades is the same as at the start of the surge in January 2007, according to Pentagon figures. Iraq troop levels before the surge were at 133,500. While U.S. troop levels in Iraq have been in the 142,000 range recently, today they are at around 150,000 because of an ongoing troop rotation.