Washington, Sept.27 : The first of the three presidential debates between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama in Oxford, Mississippi, have purportedly exposed McCain as inconsistent and inaccurate on many fronts and issues. Here is a sample of some of them.
McCain has repeatedly said during the course of his campaign that in a unipolar world, the United States has maintained its status as the most respected country thanks to the Bush administration, but rival Obama says: "We are less respected now than we were eight years ago or even four years ago."
According to the Pew Center, which has been tracking anti-Americanism in the world since 2001, a favorable opinion of the United States has declined precipitously in Europe and in the Muslim world since the Iraq war was launched.
Opinion has declined less markedly in key Asian countries, by contrast. A majority of people in India and Japan still had favorable perceptions of the United States in 2006, according to Pew.
On the issue of Afghanistan, Obama exposed McCain by saying that in 2003, the Arizona Senator had expressed cautious optimism about the future of Afghanistan under President Hamid Karzai, but now he was casually saying "We can muddle through Afghanistan."
McCain has also seriously misstated his vote concerning the marines in Lebanon. He said that when he went into Congress in 1983, he voted against deploying them in Beirut.
The fact actually is that the Marines went in Lebanon in 1982, before McCain came to Congress. The vote came up a year into their deployment, when the Marines had already suffered 54 casualties.
What McCain voted against was a measure to invoke the War Powers Act and to authorize the deployment of U.S. Marines in Lebanon for an additional 18 months.
The measure passed 270-161, with 26 other Republicans (including McCain) and 134 Democrats voting against it.
McCain was wrong again in accusing Obama of wanting to stage "military strikes" inside Pakistan, which is a misleading account of what Obama famously said in 2007: That he would be willing to go after Al Qaeda targets inside that country with or without the approval of the Pakistani authorities.
"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will," Obama said.
When discussing what ways he would save money in the federal budget, McCain said, "Look, we're sending 700 billion dollars a year overseas to countries that don't like us very much."
This is a line he used in his campaign acceptance speech, but as a matter of context he was not talking about foreign aid -- That only amounts to 39 billion dollars a year, most of which is economic aid.
McCain instead is talking about the amount of money that Americans spend on foreign oil, though some experts think that figure is a bit high. It certainly is not part of the federal budget.
McCain said Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had called Barack Obama's Iraqi troop withdrawal plan dangerous, a charge Obama strenuously called untrue. In fact, in July, Mullen, addressing a plan that would remove all combat troops by 2010, did say on Fox News, "I think the consequences could be very dangerous. I'm convinced that making reductions based on conditions on the ground are very important."
McCain claimed that Obama voted in the Senate to raise taxes on anyone making more than 42,000 dollars a year.
This is misleading on several levels. The vote that McCain is talking about was a non-binding resolution on the budget that envisioned letting the Bush tax cuts to expire, as scheduled, in 2011. But these budget resolutions come up every year, and do not represent a vote for higher taxes in future years.
In fact, Obama said he would continue the Bush tax cuts for middle and low-income taxpayers. He says that he will cut taxes for all but the wealthiest tax payers.
McCain's wildly exaggerated when he described the allied invasion of Normandy as "the greatest invasion" in history.
Such historical comparisons are always dangerous. In scale, the D-Day landings were far exceeded by Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union, in June 1941, and the Soviet invasion of Germany at the end of World War II.
A total of 326,000 allied troops took part in the initial D-day Landings in June 1944. By comparison, Hitler's sent an army of 4.5 million men into the Soviet Union in June 1941 along a 1,800 mile front.