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What's This? Times Actually Fact-Checks Obama's Health Plan Claims

Reporter Robert Pear's reality check lacked the passion of campaign-era defenses of Obama on various issues, but at least it was there.

Well, the tone was much milder than the paper's passionate "fact-check" defenses of candidate Barack Obama in 2008 - but Robert Pear did file a brief fact-check Thursday on dubious health-care claims made by Obama during Wednesday night's prime-time news conference: "ExpertsDispute Some Pointsin Obama Health Care Talk."


Here's the toughest part:


The president continued to take credit for deficit reduction by making a claim that has been challenged by many experts.


"If we had done nothing, if you had the same old budget as opposed to the changes we made," the deficit over the next 10 years would be $2.2 trillion greater, the president said.


In fact, $1.5 trillion of those "savings" are mainly based on an assumption that the United States would have had as many troops in Iraq in 10 years as it did when Mr. Obama took office. But before leaving office, PresidentGeorge W. Bushsigned an agreement with Baghdad mandating the withdrawal of all American forces within three years.


So Mr. Obama is claiming credit for not spending money that, under the policy he inherited from Mr. Bush, would never have been spent in the first place.


By the Times' usual standards of Obama coverage, that last line is positively disrespectful.