The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Election 2012

October 12, 2012

FACT CHECK: Slips in vice president’s debate

By Calvin Woodward

The Associated Press


WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden has mangled a heaping helping of facts over the years. Despite being newer to presidential-campaign politics, Republican Paul Ryan has already earned something of a reputation for taking flying leaps past reality.

How’d they do Thursday night?

Here’s a look at some of their claims:

BIDEN, on whether U.S. should have beefed up security at the U.S. Consulate in Libya before the deadly terrorist attack there: “We weren’t told they wanted more security there.”

RYAN: “There were requests for more security.”

THE FACTS: Ryan is right, judging by testimony from Obama administration officials at a congressional hearing this week.

Charlene R. Lamb, a deputy assistant secretary for diplomatic security, told lawmakers she refused requests for more security in Benghazi, saying the department wanted to train Libyans to protect the consulate. “Yes, sir, I said personally I would not support it,” she said.

Eric Nordstrom, who was the top security official in Libya earlier this year, testified he was criticized for seeking more security. He said conversations he had with people in Washington led him to believe that it was “abundantly clear we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident. How thin does the ice have to get before someone falls through?”

RYAN: “We should have spoken out right away when the green revolution was up and starting, when the mullahs in Iran were attacking their people. We should not have called Bashar Assad a reformer when he was turning his Russian-provided guns on his own people.

THE FACTS: Neither President Barack Obama nor anyone else in his administration ever considered the Syrian leader a “reformer.” The oft-repeated charge stems from an interview Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gave in March 2011 noting that “many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.” She did not endorse that view. The comment was widely perceived to be a knock at senators such as John Kerry of Massachusetts who maintained cordial relations with Assad in the months leading up to his crackdown on protesters.

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