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Reality Check: The Final Debate

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There was none of the harsh exchanges familiar in the first two debates.

But it doesn’t mean the candidates didn’t mix it up, and they stretched some facts.

For example, President Barack Obama accused Gov. Mitt Romney of wanting to keep troops in Iraq, even today.

“What I would not have done is left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down,” the president said.”That certainly would not help us in the Middle East.”

Romney objected, saying the president was misrepresenting his position.

“There was an effort on the part of the president to have a status of forces agreement,” Romney said, “And I concurred to that, that we should have some number of troops to stay on. You thought it should be five thousand troops, I thought it should be more.”

What Romney says it MOSTLY TRUE.

Obama wanted to leave thousands of troops in Iraq under what’s called a “status of forces agreement.”

But the Iraqi government refused to grant legal immunity to the troops that remained, and negotiations for a transition force broke down.
All U.S. troops left Iraq by December 2011.

The president was right: Romney wanted to leave thousands of troops in Iraq.

But Romney’s criticism was that the troops left too quickly, not that the war should go on.

Regarding Iran, Romney accused the president of all but allowing Iran to build a nuclear weapon, repeatedly saying that Iran is close to building a nuclear weapon.

“We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran,” Romney said.”We should not have wasted these four years to let them continue to spin these centrifuges and get that much closer.”

That’s MISLEADING, and context is important here.

It’s true that Iran is moving forward on developing nuclear fuel, according to international inspectors, and may be working on technology to build a weapon, including a delivery system.

But Iran denies that it is creating enriched uranium to build a nuclear weapon.

What Romney doesn’t say is that America didn’t do nothing. In fact, the U.S. led a years-long effort to impose crippling economic sanctions.

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check, and other sources to review for foreign policy claims made in the debate.

Nuclear Iran (CNN): http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/12/politics/fact-check-iran-nuclear/index.html

Benghazi Security (CNN): http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/12/politics/fact-check-benghazi-security/index.html

Romney’s Defense Spending (FactCheck.org): http://factcheck.org/2012/10/will-romney-increase-defense-spending-by-2-trillion/

Romney on China (FactCheck.org): http://www.factcheck.org/2012/09/romney-ad-on-china-mangles-facts/

Foreign Policy: Iran: http://www.propublica.org/article/reading-guide-where-obama-and-romney-actually-stand-on-iran

Iraq War (PolitiFact.com) :http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/oct/11/joe-biden/biden-romney-called-ending-iraq-war-tragic/

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