Facts Take a Beating in First Presidential Debate
CNBC Senior Correspondent
But at the debate, Romney pointed to his record as governor of Massachusetts as proof of his commitment to education.
“I don't want to cut our commitment to education. I wanted to make it more effective and efficient,” Romney said. “And by the way, I've had that experience. I don't just talk about it. I've been there. Massachusetts schools are ranked number one in the nation.”
Massachusetts schools were indeed ranked first in the nation when Romney left office in 2007, as we found in our inaugural rankings of America’s Top States for Business later that year. The state led the nation in elementary school math and reading scores as well as high school test scores.
Romney’s crowning achievement as Massachusetts governor was his health care plan, which he touted during the debate even as he repeated his promise to repeal Obamacare, which was largely modeled after it. (Read More: Top States Study Gives Romney Mixed Review as Mass. Governor.)
But Romney said there are key differences between his plan and the president’s plan, chief among them the Independent Payment Advisory Board mandated by the Affordable Care Act to help bring down costs.
“It puts in place an unelected board that's going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have. I don't like that idea,” Romney said.
But no one else seems to like the idea either, because Section 3403 of the lawspecifically bars the board from making decisions about patient care, and limits the board’s scope to the Medicare program.
“The proposal shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums … or increase Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria,” the law says.
Finally, Romney criticized Obama’s spending on what the governor called “green jobs.”
“You put $90 billion into green jobs,” Romney said. “Look, I'm all in favor of green energy. $90 billion, that would have hired 2 million teachers.”
Obama’s 2009 stimulus plan does devote some $92 billion to programs that can broadly be described as “green,” such as renewable energy and high speed rail. The largest portion of the money — $29 million — includes funding for energy efficient buildings.
As we reported in August, one of the members of Congress who sought some of that money for projects in his district was GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. (Read More: Ryan's Stimulus Requests: Did They Work?)
—By CNBC's Scott Cohn
Correction: An earlier version of this story said the assertion that Romney's tax cuts would cost $5 trillion came from the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, but the CBPP says it relied on figures reported by the Tax Policy Center.