All stories featuring Paul Ryan

Fact-checking taxes in the presidential race

What are the facts when it comes Barack Obama's and Mitt Romney's tax policies?

Fact-checking the vice presidential debate

The vice presidential debate Thursday night began on a somber note, then quickly turned to lively attacks — with both candidates stretching the truth. Moderator Martha Raddatz asked Vice President Joe Biden whether the assault that recently killed a U.S. ambassador in Libya represented a massive intelligence failure. Biden said it was a tragedy. Then he went after Rep. Paul Ryan's partner on the Republican presidential ticket, Gov. Mitt Romney. And the wrangling began, some of it truthful, much of it just partly so. Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and al-Qaida Biden attacked Romney's past statements on foreign policy. President Barack Obama had promised to end the war in Iraq, Biden said, while "Romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 troops there." It’s true that Romney characterized Obama’s 2011 deadline with the word "tragic." Romney did not say ending the war was tragic; he was talking about the speed at which Obama removed all troops. Romney’s preference was to leave a large residual force, and he has used an estimate of up to 30,000 in the past, as Biden said during the debate. We rated Biden’s claim Half True. Biden also claimed Romney said he "wouldn't move heaven and earth to get (Osama) bin Laden." We've rated a similar claim from an Obama ad, that Romney's view on killing bin Laden was "it's not worth moving heaven and earth." The Obama team was right that Romney used those words, but it's cherry-picking, glossing over comments describing his broader approach. Romney said he wanted to pursue all of al-Qaida, not just its leaders. We rated the claim Half True. Biden said that Obama would end the war in Afghanistan in 2014, but claimed that Romney said the United States shouldn't set a date, and with regard to 2014, "it depends." Ryan responded that Romney and Ryan agree with a 2014 deadline for U.S. withdrawal. There's some evidence for all of those claims. We checked a statement by Ryan in September that he and Romney have "always agreed" with the 2014 timetable. We found numerous instances where Romney expressed support for that deadline. His criticism was not of the date itself but the announcement of it, which he said emboldened the Taliban and endangered troops. But Romney also has said a troop withdrawal would be conditional on what the situation on the ground is -- an important caveat that could leave him room to ignore the deadline. (Or, as Biden said, "it depends.") Ryan’s previous statement was accurate but for that one detail. We rated it Mostly True. On Iran, Ryan described the impression he thought the ayatollahs would get about the U.S. relationship with ally Israel. Ryan claimed Obama was in New York City the same day as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but went on a TV show instead of meeting with him. The two leaders were not there on the same day: Obama was there Monday and Tuesday, and Netanyahu was there later in the week, on Thursday and Friday. Obama taped The View on Monday. We rated this claim False. Auto industry, home foreclosures and the stimulus Biden claimed that Romney wasn't committed to saving the auto industry. "He said, let it go bankrupt, period," Biden said. We checked a similar claim from Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan, at the Democratic National Convention in September. She said that Romney's response to the crisis in the auto industry was, "Let Detroit go bankrupt." Romney did use the words about letting Detroit go bankrupt in a CBS TV interview, but his meaning was more nuanced and he emphasized that he was not referring to liquidation. We rated Granholm's statement Half True. Biden also claimed the Obama administration helped people refinanced their homes, while Romney said, "No, let foreclosures hit the bottom." A Democratic National Committee ad in 2011 said that Romney’s housing policy was, "Don’t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom." That was part of his policy, but Democrats edited out his remarks that said the housing market should then turn around and come back up as investors buy properties and rent them out. Romney also said he was open to ideas for encouraging refinancing. Romney did seem to favor letting foreclosures run their course, but he also suggested that doing so would enable investors to buy low-priced homes and revive the market. We rated the DNC’s ad Half True. In an exchange about the effectiveness of Obama's stimulus, Ryan asked Biden whether it was "a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars on electric cars in Finland, or on windmills in China?"  An American car company, Fisker Automotive, got federal loan guarantees and later manufactured cars in Finland, but the federal support the company received wasn't funded by the stimulus. Meanwhile, the loans went toward engineering and design that happened in the United States. As for the windmills in China, it's true that a small number of windmills and components to build them came from China. But the statement greatly exaggerates China’s role in the overall use of stimulus money. We rated Ryan's statement Mostly False. Ryan said the Obama administration passed the stimulus with the idea that "unemployment would never get to 8 percent." Obama's Council of Economic Advisers created a chart predicting that the stimulus would keep the unemployment rate from going higher, but the accompanying report included heavy disclaimers that the projections had "significant margins of error" and a high degree of uncertainty due to a recession that is "unusual both in its fundamental causes and its severity." We rated Ryan's statement Mostly False. Health care Ryan claimed that Obama took money from Medicare to spend on Obamacare. Romney has said something similar, that "under the president's plan, he cuts Medicare by $716 billion, takes that money out of the Medicare trust fund and uses it to pay for Obamacare." The claim gives the impression that the law takes money that was already allocated to Medicare and funds the new health care law with it. In fact, the law uses a number of measures to try to reduce the rapid growth of future Medicare spending. Those savings are then used to offset costs created by the law -- especially coverage for the uninsured -- so that the overall law doesn't add to the deficit. We rated the statement Half True. Biden said about Ryan and Romney's plan for Medicare, "It's a voucher." Obama made a similar claim in the presidential debate, that Romney "would turn Medicare into a voucher program." The plan would give seniors a premium support payment toward private insurance, to replace the current system of government payments to doctors and hospitals. Generally, we think "voucher program" is a fair way of describing to voters the vision for Medicare under a Romney-Ryan administration. We rated Obama's claim Mostly True. Biden also said Romney and Ryan would "eliminate the guarantee of Medicare." Here's the deal: Calling today’s Medicare benefits "guaranteed" is partially, but not entirely, true. Currently, Medicare does guarantee broad health coverage for seniors and, in the short term, guarantees specific benefits. But Medicare doesn’t cover everything, and Congress and the president can change what is covered -- and will be forced to do so as fiscal pressures hit. Meanwhile, it’s plausible that the Romney plan could provide less of a "guarantee" than Medicare currently does, but we found sharp disagreement between supporters and opponents of Romney’s Medicare plan on that point. This disagreement is hard to resolve given the shortage of information Romney has so far provided. We rated Biden's claim Half True. Ryan, in his closing statement, said Obama "made his choices," including "a government takeover of health care." The phrase is simply not true. "Government takeover" conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees. But Obama's health care law relies largely on the free market.  We voted "a government takeover of health care" our Lie of the Year for 2010. Did you hear a claim you would like us to check? Use Twitter hashtag #PolitiFactThis or email us at

Biden and Ryan exchange claims, barbs in Kentucky debate

The second debate — and only debate for vice presidential candidates — of the presidential election season is in the books. And like their running mates a week ago, the second-in-command contenders had a lot to say. In some heated exchanges, Vice President Joseph Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan accused each other of distorting information, repeating some familiar talking points from the presidential campaigns. PolitiFact and PolitiFact Georgia are checking statements made by the two candidates Thursday night in Danville, Ky. We will be updating our online site — — throughout the day as fact-checks are completed. Readers can comment on our Truth-O-Meter rulings at our Facebook page: And they can follow on Twitter at: PolitiFactGA. Below are some initial fact-checks on statements by the candidates or major themes they broached during Thursday’s debate. 

Fact-checking the vice presidential debate

We're checking the lively volley of claims from Joe Biden and Paul Ryan in Thursday's debate. Did you hear a claim you would like us to check? Use Twitter hashtag #PolitiFactThis or email us at Here's what we've posted so far.

Biden vs. Ryan: Our VP debate roundup

Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan relied on a mix of accurate and exaggerated claims while politely exchanging 90 minutes of attacks and counterattacks in the vice presidential debate. Here’s a look at how we have rated some of the claims that were repeated.

Biden vs. Ryan: Previewing the VP debate

Will a single quip turn the Danville debate in favor of Vice President Joe Biden or challenger Paul Ryan? If facts win the night, what is the best ammunition for the two men? Maybe one of these 12 PolitiFact-tested claims from our Truth-O-Meter files will play a role.

In Context: That testy Paul Ryan interview

Less than a week after Vice President Joe Biden created political buzz with a remark about how the middle class had been "buried the last four years," Republican presidential candidate Paul Ryan made some buzz of his own. We take a look at the context of the Ryan interview with a Michigan TV station.

In Context: Biden on 'buried' middle class

On Oct. 2, 2012, Vice President Joe Biden said something at a campaign speech in North Carolina that ended up as fodder for "The Tonight Show" later that evening. We take a look at the context of the vice president's comment that the middle class has been "buried" for the past four years.

Paul Ryan returning to Texas

Paul Ryan stumps in Houston this week. He’s met the Truth-O-Meter already.

Truth-O-Meter checks claims on Medicare costs, support of tax hike on home sales

Truth-O-Meter finds accuracy issues with claims made by Shelley Adler, "Menendez Facts" blog

Ad Watch: A look at Obama's attacks on Romney's tax and Medicare stances

The sticking point is that Romney hasn’t specified what exemptions, deductions and loopholes he wants to get rid of. So it’s impossible to tell if the math in Romney’s tax plan adds up.

Greatest hits from the Tampa and Charlotte conventions

We choose our most significant fact-checks from the Republican and Democratic conventions.

Ad Watch: Crafty splice tags Obama with a promise

An Americans for Prosperity ad shows President Barack Obama promising to cut the national deficit during his first term and saying, "If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition." Did President Obama really give himself a three-year deadline to accomplish that goal?

Convention speakers throw verbal jabs at Obama

President Barack Obama quipped that Republicans have said some "wonderful" things about him during this week’s national convention in Tampa. Speakers contrasted the president’s record to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s. Others claimed Obama has never worked in business and doesn’t want farm kids to do basic chores. PolitiFact looked at those claims and others. Want to comment on our rulings? Go to our Facebook page ( or find us on Twitter ( And check our Facebook page throughout the day. We update it with new convention fact-checks morning and night. Read summaries of some of our latest checks below. Look for a roundup of our fact-checks of Romney’s speech in Saturday’s newspaper.

Ryan and the Simpson-Bowles Commission: the full story

In his speech accepting the vice presidential nomination, Paul Ryan blamed President Barack Obama for the failure of a presidentially appointed debt commission. But that ignored Ryan's own role.

Checking Paul Ryan and more at the Republican National Convention

We're fact-checking the second full night of speeches at the Republican National Convention.

Truth-O-Meter keeps rolling

The speeches keep coming and our Truth-O-Meter keeps rolling. The Republican National Convention in Tampa scheduled hours of back-to-back speeches pounding President Barack Obama on what they say is his inability to bring about change we can believe in. Who can get the job done? We’ll let you guess the GOP’s answer. And here’s a hint: The theme of Wednesday's session was "We Can Change It." GOP luminaries focused on fiscal responsibility and the economy, which was good news for PolitiFact. Those are two of our favorite subjects. And speaking of the economy, we added a fact-check of a top Obama campaign official who made a claim about Mitt Romney’s position on a popular tax policy. Read these summaries of our latest checks below. Want to comment? Go to our Facebook page ( or find us on Twitter ( And check our Facebook page throughout the day. We update it with new convention fact checks morning and night.

Wednesday night at the GOP convention: the running mate and more

We're fact-checking the second full night of speeches at the Republican National Convention.

Republican convention: Talking about money

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney took center stage Tuesday on PolitiFact and the Truth-O-Meter as Republicans geared up to nominate him at their Tampa convention. First, we tested a talking point GOP leaders are using to cast Mitt Romney as a self-made man: That Romney "gave away his father's inheritance." We also checked Romney’s critique of the economy and its effects on young people. The economy is perhaps the Obama campaign’s biggest hurdle, and Democrats know it. One of his top campaign aides tried to defend him by saying that the recovery during President Barack Obama’s term is stronger than President Ronald Reagan’s. Wrong. We also checked an attack on Obama by Romney’s vice presidential pick U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan about declining household incomes. He was wrong, too. Read these summaries of our findings below. Want to comment on our rulings? Go to our Facebook page, or find us on Twitter. And watch for us during the conventions. We’re providing daily Truth-O-Meter updates for this week’s Republican convention in Tampa and next week’s Democratic convention in Charlotte.

Truth-O-Meter unstoppable amid GOP convention shutdown

Hurricane Isaac may have shut down the Republican National Convention on Monday. But the Truth-O-Meter was unstoppable. PolitiFact arrived in Tampa just as former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist made a surprise endorsement of President Barack Obama in The Tampa Bay Times. He served as governor as a Republican, then ran an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate as an independent. We completed two fact-checks that touched on Crist’s endorsement. Medicare remained a chief concern as the festivities began. Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney accused Obama of hypocrisy, while his vice presidential pick, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, said the Romney-Ryan plan "does not affect" benefits for anyone 55 or older. Read these summaries of our findings below. Want to comment on our rulings? Go to our Facebook page or find us on Twitter. PolitiFact will provide daily Truth-O-Meter updates on the GOP before moving on to Charlotte next week to keep tabs on the Democrats.