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October 4, 2012

In stats-filled debate, who said what -- and was it true?

DENVER — There they go again.

Both President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney tossed out a blizzard of statistics and facts, often of dubious origin. Here are some highlights.

"Governor Romney's central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut — on top of the extension of the Bush tax cuts — that's another trillion dollars." — Obama

"I don't have a $5 trillion tax cut." — Romney

How can both facts be true? The $5 trillion figure comes from the fact that Romney has proposed to cut tax rates by 20 percent and other provisions. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says that would reduce tax revenue by nearly $500 billion in 2015, or about $5 trillion over 10 years.

But Romney also has said he will make his plan "revenue neutral" by eliminating tax loopholes and deductions, although he has not provided the details.

The Tax Policy Center has analyzed the specifics of Romney's plan thus far released and concluded the numbers aren't there to make it revenue neutral.

In the debate, Romney countered that "six other studies" have found that not to be the case, but he's wrong about that. Those studies actually do not provide much evidence that Romney's proposal — as sketchy as it is — would be revenue neutral without making unrealistic assumptions.

Given the uncertainty, the Obama campaign has assumed the worst about Romney's plan_ that it would mean higher taxes for middle-class Americans — even though, as Romney stated, there is no chance he would try to implement such a plan as president.

- - -

"I've put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan. . . . And the way we do it is $2.50 for every cut, we ask for $1 of additional revenue. . . . That's how the bipartisan commission that talked about how we should move forward suggested."_ Obama

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