edit: Progressive Accountability has already got a pop-up fact check video up. Damn, they’re fast.

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Well, that was certainly something. Senator Obama answered the questions, and Senator McCain recited his talking points from the campaign (most liberal voting record? Dude. Although I liked Obama’s answer – his record only looks liberal to someone who voted with Bush over 90% of the time).

OK, a few things.

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The bear DNA thing? I know it was one of your campaign talking points, Senator, but you must not read the paper. It turned out not to be such a good idea

"My friends," McCain says, "we spent $3 million of your money to study the DNA of bears in Montana. "Now I don’t know if that was a paternity issue or a criminal issue, but it was a waste of money."

It turns out, the state of Alaska under Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate, sought millions in federal funds to study the genetics of harbor seals, and gather data on halibut fisheries and sea crabs.

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No, Senator McCain, we’re all aware that you were never Miss Congeniality. Your running mate was (oh, wait, no, she wasn’t). You didn’t really need to repeat it four times.

At any rate, if you were with the people who made this mess on nine out of ten votes, it really doesn’t matter if you did it in such a way that they still don’t like you. Inability to work and play well with others is not a selling point.

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No, Senator McCain, if we get out of the quagmire in Iraq, it will not mean that the soldier whose name is on your bracelet gave his life in vain. Nobody but you is saying that here. He gave his life because he did the duty he signed up for in service of his country.


What we sent him to do, Senator McCain – I remember this distinctly – was to take out Saddam Hussein and protect America from the weapons of mass destruction Saddam Hussein didn’t have. Mission (and I do have a cite on this, Senator) accomplished.

And look! Senator Obama has a bracelet too. The mother of the serviceman whose name is on it doesn’t speak for all the families of our servicemen either. She, like the mother of your soldier, speaks for herself.

As it happens, a healthy majority of the country agrees with her. Not any of which means that any of our soldiers’ sacrifices are any less tragic and honorable (or that either mother – or anyone who mourns them – has less of a right to their opinions, beliefs or way of grieving). Remember this?

But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract.

Yeah, I know. You weren’t around then, but I’m sure they mentioned it in military school.

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via lalisa – Another thing you seem to have missed at military school: Eisenhower was not the President during D-Day (although I’d think you’d remember that – you were certainly old enough to read the papers, if current events were your thing). You also got the story wrong.

Eisenhower wrote "let’s get ‘em boys" letter to the troops before the invasion and a letter in case of failure—which was not a letter of resignation, but a letter taking full responsibility.

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On Afghanistan: you know what the problem with supporting the "afghani freedom fighters" was, Senator? We trained them, and then some of them became the Taliban afterwards.

[note: thanks for the fact check in comments]

Leaving aside your rather odd we’re going to invade Pakistan but it’s tacky to say so talking point, it might be nice if we went back to supporting the American soldiers across the border. We pulled supplies away from them while they were trying to defeat the actual people who were behind 9/11 (you know, the guy we haven’t caught yet. Because he’s hiding in Pakistan. And they don’t want us to go in. So we sell them nuclear weapons delivery systems. Despite their record of selling nuclear technology to the Axis of Evil. Except for, well, Iraq).

Our soldiers are still dying there, Senator, and they can’t carry out their mission, because we’re bogged down in Iraq. Senator Obama knows that. While you are correct that his European Affairs subcommittee did not hold their own hearings on the matter, he did attend the Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

You, on the other hand, Senator McCain, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, missed all seven of the hearings that they held on Afghanistan during the same two years, according to ABC News

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About talking to dictators: you appear to have evolved on that

You also said this (YouTube at the link)

I don’t believe in walls. I believe in freedom. If I were president, I would negotiate a free trade agreement with almost any country willing to negotiate fairly with us.

and contrary to what you said in the debate, Senator, your great and good friend Dr. Kissinger did indeed say we had to engage Iran and Syria

Frm Secretaries Of State Agreed Engagement With Iran Was Necessary. "On Iran and Syria, both Republican and Democratic former secretaries backed engagement when they spoke at a panel at George Washington University. McCain slammed Obama earlier in the campaign for taking a similar stand. ‘I believe we need to engage with Iran,’ said Albright who served under President Bill Clinton during his second term. Powell agreed with Albright. ‘Let’s get together and talk about nuclear weapons… Start a dialogue at a low level and let it grow over time,’ said Powell, who served President George W. Bush in his first term. While serving for President George H.W. Bush in the 1990s, Baker recalled that the elder Bush’s administration offered to meet with Iran at the highest diplomatic level, but Iran refused for its own political reasons. Baker also said the United States might have to contain Iran just as it did with the Soviet Union for decades. The next American president, he said, should be prepared to warn Tehran that Washington will aim its ‘strategic deterrant’ at Iran if it points a nuclear missile at Israeli or US targets. Kissinger, who served under both Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, said: ‘I’m in favor of negotiating with Iran.’ The US aim would be to achieve a stable Middle East, he said." [Agence France Presse, 09/16/08]

and here they are saying it on YouTube: Kissinger, Powell, Albright, Baker, Christopher

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Oh, dear, Senator McCain, were you a POW? OK, let me give you a quick hint anyway. One of the ways you start to heal the wounds of war is you let the war end. You’re welcome.

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I’m going to be updating this for Late Night. Please put your own fact checks (with cites) in comments.

edit: via Ian in comments

Lie—McCain: “He has voted in the United States Senate to increase taxes on people who make as low as $42,000.”

Well, no.

Lie—“Senator Obama is the chairperson of a committee that oversees NATO that is in Afghanistan. To this day he has never had a hearing. That’s remarkable.”

He chaired the full committee hearing on Afghanistan, actually.

Bonus: McCain missed every Armed Service Committee meeting on Afghanistan in the last 2 years.

Lie—McCain: “Senator Obama said the surge could not work, said it would increase sectarian violence, said it was doomed to failure. Recently on a television program he said it exceeded our wildest expectations, but yet after conceding that, he still says that he would oppose the surge if he had to decide that again today.”

March 11, 2007—Obama said “I don’t think there’s been any doubt that if we put U.S. troops in that, in the short term, we might see some improvement in certain neighborhoods because the militias are going to fade back into the community.”