By Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press on Thursday's GOP debate.
Fact Check: Misfires in GOP Debate
WASHINGTON - A number of assertions in the latest Republican presidential debate went unchallenged because candidates spent more time criticizing Democrats from afar than challenging - and correcting - each other face to face.
THE SPIN: John McCain took issue with a questioner's statement that he favors "mandatory caps" on greenhouse gas emissions.
"No, I'm in favor of cap-and-trade," McCain said.
"And all we are saying is, 'Look, if you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, you earn a credit. If somebody else is going to increase theirs, you can sell it to them.' And, meanwhile, we have a gradual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions."
THE FACTS: McCain has proposed mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions.
The Arizona senator has been among the most vocal supporters in Washington of capping greenhouse gases, proposing legislation to do that several times, and criticized the Bush administration for resisting mandatory measures.
In a cap-and-trade system, companies that outperform pollution requirements could sell the right to pollute to companies that don't meet the limits. But overall emissions would have to come down, and ever more stringently as years pass.
The bill McCain co-sponsored with Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman last year proposed that pollution allowances be cut by two-thirds between 2012 and 2050. A section of the bill is titled: "Mandating Emissions Reductions."
THE SPIN: Mitt Romney boiled down Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton's health care plan to what he regarded as its essence: a government giveaway.
"Her health care plan, quite simply, is one which says, 'Look, we're going to give health insurance to everybody by the government.'"
THE FACTS: Clinton's plan does not propose that the government give everyone health insurance. Most people and companies would pay for it, like now.
The New York senator proposes that the government help those who can't afford the insurance to buy it, so that everyone can be covered, and uses tax credits to small business and other spending to try to make that possible. Existing health insurance plans would be preserved for those who want it, while people could choose to join other programs she proposes to create.
THE SPIN: Rudy Giuliani again talked up his record as New York mayor.
"I'm the only one who's actually turned around a government economy. I mean, the reality is, when I became mayor of New York the economy of New York was in very, very bad shape - tremendous deficits, 10 1/2 percent unemployment, 300,000 jobs gone. We turned that around, cut unemployment by more than half, brought in 450,000 new jobs, and we cut taxes by 17 percent."
THE FACTS: The unemployment rate fell from about 10 percent when he took office to a little over 6 percent before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, rising after to 7.6 percent. The rate did not fall by more than half.
On deficits, an analysis by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania found that he inherited a $2.3 billion deficit in 1994 and produced surpluses during his mayoralty, but projected a $2.8 billion deficit in his last budget, released the spring before the attacks.
THE SPIN: Mike Huckabee aired his proposal to eliminate federal income, investment and payroll taxes in favor of a national sales tax, an idea he has likened elsewhere to "a magic wand relieving us from pain and unfairness."
Questioned about a 30 percent sales tax, he said "it's 23 percent" if the government is to bring in the same money it is getting now. He said his plan "untaxes the poor, untaxes the elderly."
THE FACTS: A mathematical exercise is required to understand why 30 percent and 23 percent are both applied to the plan.
If an item costs $100 before tax and $130 after tax, that's $30 more, which most shoppers would consider a 30 percent rate.
But proponents of the sales tax cast it another way. They say that because $30 is 23 percent of $130, the rate is really 23 percent.
Huckabee does not exempt the elderly from the tax, despite claiming he "untaxes the elderly."
By that, he means that he thinks most retirees keep their spending under the poverty-line level, and so would be sheltered.