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Posted at 10:36 AM ET, 01/ 6/2008

NH: One Day to Go

By Michael Dobbs

Monday, 9 a.m.

I'm still in New Hampshire. Here are a couple more fact checks on Saturday's Republican debate in Manchester that we did not get around to posting in our live debate fact check. I am off to listen to Bill Clinton in Peterborough, and then Mitt Romney this afternoon.

"I supported the president and the war before you [Mitt Romney] did. I supported the surge when you didn't".
--Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee was simply wrong on this, as the Romney campaign was quick to point out.

In an interview with MSNBC on Jan. 24, 2007, just as President Bush's troop surge in Iraq was coming into effect, Huckabee expressed doubts about the strategy, saying that he was "not sure" that he could support any extra deployments from the "Guard and Reserve troops which have really been overly stretched." By contrast, Romney issued a press release two weeks earlier saying that it was necessary to send "additional troops" to Iraq to provide adequate security for Iraqi civilians, as a precondition for defeating the insurgency.

Interviewed yesterday by George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, Huckabee refused to retract his statement, saying that he was objecting to the "overuse" of National Guard troops rather than the surge itself. But this is a stretch and the fact remains that he misrepresented Romney's position.

"I don't describe your [immigration] plan as amnesty in my ad. I don't call it amnesty."
--Mitt Romney, addressing John McCain.

This is untrue, as Romney later conceded. The Romney campaign has repeatedly described the McCain-sponsored immigration bill, which would have provided a path for undocumented aliens to legalize their status, as an "amnesty" measure. A Romney ad now running in New Hampshire quotes Romney supporters ciriticizing McCain for writing "the amnesty bill that America rejected." The ad includes a line from the candidate saying "I'm Mitt Romney and I approved this message."

Romney told ABC News yesterday morning that he did not see the ad prior to its airing. But he has been getting himself in contortions over this issue. In the debate on Saturday night, he said that the McCain bill was "not technically amnesty" because it charged undocumented aliens $5,000 to stay in the country while they got in a line for citizenship. However, in a 2005 interview with the Boston Globe, he described the McCain approach as "reasonable" and "very different" from amnesty.

Three pinocchios apiece.

(About our rating scale.)

Sunday 10.50 a.m.

I am glad that the Obama camp is reading the Fact Checker at all hours of the night. I got several e-mails from Obama supporters well after midnight disputing my critique of the senator for blaming George W. Bush for allowing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to "fall apart." Here is a typical one, which landed at 1.39 a.m., from Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

Your post on Obama's point about the erosion of the nonproliferation system under Bush misses the point and ignores the facts. India/Pak tested nukes in 1998, yes, but are not membebrs of the NPT. Under Bush, Iran has advanced its nuclear program, [North Korea] has produced plutonium and tested a bomb, the 2006 NPT ReviewConference was an utter failoure due to lack of Bush admin leadership, and experts ranging from Kissinger to Nunn, to Hans Blix, to Mohammed El Baradei agree that the system is under tremendous streain now.

Well, ok, it's true that Pakistan and India were not signatories to the 1968 non-proliferation treaty, so it is technically true that they did not violate their treaty obligations. In addition, India tested a small nuclear device in 1974. Nevertheless, the twin nuclear tests by India and then Pakistan in 1998 came as a huge shock to the Clinton administration, and did much to undermine the international non-proliferation norms established by the treaty. Once those two countries went nuclear, other countries lost the incentive to abide by the treaty. Many experts would agree that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal will present the single greatest national security threat to the United States over the next few years, given the political instability in that country.

You can't blame Bush for everything, much as some peoople would like to do so.

I am off to Nashua at mid-day for a Hillary Clinton rally. Talk to you later.

By Michael Dobbs  | January 6, 2008; 10:36 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama, Candidate Watch, Immigration, Iraq, Other Foreign Policy  
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