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Final OT

Debate fact checks and analysis

AP

Mitt Romney and President Obama met on stage before the final debate.

The Globe is providing real-time fact checks and analysis from tonight’s presidential debate. Follow the updates below, and click here to refresh the page for the latest updates.

10:34 p.m. | ANALYSIS: Obama may be declared the winner of this debate in instant polls, but Romney may have accomplished his seemingly modest goal. Romney’s game plan clearly was to reassure voters concerned about his bellicose campaign rhetoric that he would be a steady hand. While he attacked Obama regularly, he also repeatedly said that he agreed with the president. He stressed he, like Obama, did not want to send US troops into Syria. For Obama, meanwhile, this was a strong performance. Even when on defense, he managed not to seem defensive. He used many chances to put his record in the best light and Romney’s rhetoric in the worst. It was not likely to be the kind of game-changer like debate No. 1, but it may have brought Obama some gains. Whether it is enough to make a difference won’t be known until Election Day.

-- Michael Kranish

10:33 p.m. | FACT CHECK: What exactly did Romney say about the auto industry? As both candidates pointed out, voters can look up his op-ed on the subject themselves. And here it is. Romney wrote, “I believe the federal government should invest substantially more in basic research,” and wrote, “The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.”

-- Alan Wirzbicki

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10:27 p.m. | ANALYSIS: Government-backing of clean technology companies has been tough for Obama given that several firms that got government funds have failed: California solar panel maker Solyndra; Tyngsboro energy storage developer Beacon Power; and the latest, Waltham lithium ion battery maker A123 Systems. A123 filed for bankruptcy last week.

-- Erin Ailworth

10:25 p.m. | FACT CHECK:This is Romney’s “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” op-ed.

-- Callum Borchers

10:23 p.m. | FACT CHECK: China’s manipulation of its currency has been a political hot potato for years, and Mitt Romney brought it up again tonight, promising to formally label China a currency manipulator. However, concerns over currency manipulation have eased somewhat recently. Since 2009, the value of China’s currency has risen by 11 percent against the dollar, when inflation rates in the two countries are factored in, making US goods slightly more competitive and China’s slightly less so.

-- Alan Wirzbicki

10:19 p.m. | ANALYSIS: China, in many ways, is both an opportunity and a threat. For sure, the country wants to acquire any and all of the cutting edge US companies and technologies that it can. Two local cases illustrate the point: 1) an ongoing intellectual property lawsuit filed by AMSC (formerly American Superconductor) after the Devens firm said the Sinovel Wind Group Co. in Beijing stole some of its wind turbine control system technology; and 2) a more legitimate attempt by Wanxiang to acquire advanced battery technology from A123 Systems. US firms, meanwhile see China and its already vast – and still-growing – consumer market as a place they need to be to compete. Here’s one story I did on the topic a few months ago, highlighting operations that Massachusetts companies like Cabot Corp and Thermo Fisher Scientific have built up in China.

-- Erin Ailworth

10:18 p.m. | FACT CHECK: The Obama administration has won every trade case against China that has been decided: The Obama administration has won about a dozen cases against China that were decided by the World Trade Organization, including a ruling last week that barred China from imposing unfair tariffs on American steel exports. The United States has not lost any of the cases it has brought before the WTO against China, though some are pending.

But China also has won three trade cases against the United States, and it is unclear whether the American victories have aided US companies. For example, the Obama administration successfully fought for repeal of Chinese tariffs on American-made auto parts, but before and during the adjudication process, Chinese auto parts makers built a formidable industry that has diminished little, even after the tariff repeal.

The Obama administration filed a new complaint in September, alleging that China is illegally subsidizing its auto parts industry to gain a competitive advantage over the United States. Winning the case would not automatically entitle American companies to recover lost business.

In addition, some major business sectors fall outside the World Trade Organization’s jurisdiction, leaving the United States without an independent arbiter to resolve disputes.

-- Callum Borchers

10:14 p.m. | ANALYSIS: Romney seems to be taking pains to stress points of agreement with Obama. On drones: “I support that entirely, and feel the president was right.” Upside: it could make him look statesmanlike. Downside: repeatedly praising Obama muddles Romney’s argument that the president has mishandled foreign policy.

-- Alan Wirzbicki

10:12 p.m. | ANALYSIS: On the related issues of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the back and forth demonstrates how both candidates are walking a very similar fine line. Both support pulling US troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and both agree that the United States must prop up the government of Pakistan despite the fact fact that extremists groups operate in the country with at least tacit support of some in the government. With 100 plus nukes there is little choice, whichever man is president.

-- Bryan Bender

10:12 p.m. | ANALYSIS: Obama has brought up “jobs of the future” at least twice now, but still no real talk about renewables and the clean tech industry, or where the US fits when trying to compete in that sector on a global scale.

-- Erin Ailworth

10:07 p.m. | ANALYSIS: Obama had joked last week that he would say during the debate “we got bin Laden.” His task was to find a way to tell that story without simply thumping his chest. He found a way, telling the story of a person who thanked him for killing the man who killed her father at the twin towers, bringing closure. “We did not forget her father,” the president said. A deft way to retell a story everyone already thought they knew.

-- Michael Kranish

10 p.m. | FACT CHECK: The world was “divided” on Iran when Obama took office: The president used a variation of his campaign’s repeated claim that the United States was “isolated” on Iran, a statement that suggests that before Obama took office, the United States was on its own or in the minority as it pursued sanctions against Iran in an effort to thwart development of a nuclear weapon -- and that Obama deserves credit for building an international coalition where none existed.

But the Bush administration already had secured cooperation on sanctions by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the governments of seven countries.

In March 2008, the UN Security Council voted 14-0, with one abstention, to approve a third round of sanctions against Iran, which included trade bans on civilian and military goods, inspections of shipments to and from Iran, and monitoring of two Iranian banks believed to be aiding nuclear development. The UN resolution was co-sponsored by Britain and France.

Three months later, the European Union froze assets in Iran’s largest bank and adopted financial and travel sanctions.

In addition, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany and Australia, imposed their own sanctions against Iran.

-- Callum Borchers

9:57 p.m. | FACT CHECK:Iran’s nuclear weapons capability: A May report by the Institute for Science and International Study, which analyzed data collected by the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that Iran had produced roughly seven tons of low-grade enriched uranium.

“This total amount of 3.5 percent low enriched uranium hexafluoride, if further enriched to weapon grade, is enough to make over five nuclear weapons,” the institute reported. Uranium enrichment percentages refer to concentrations of uranium-235, the radioactive isotope that produces nuclear reactions. Nuclear power plants operate with concentrations of 3 to 5 percent; nuclear weapons require 90 percent.

Between the two extremes is 19.75 percent enriched uranium, which is used in research reactors. The Institute for Science and International Study reported in June that if Iran further enriched its supply of this concentration of uranium, it could produce less than half of the weapons-grade uranium it would need to make a bomb. At its current rate of production, the institute estimated that Iran will have enough 19.75 percent enriched uranium in February 2013 to make a bomb.

Earlier this month, the Institute for Science and International Study estimated that Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to make a bomb in less than a month, if it devoted its full resources to that purpose.

“Although Iran’s breakout times are shortening, an Iranian breakout in the next year could not escape detection by the [International Atomic Energy Agency] or the United States,” the institute reported.

-- Callum Borchers

9:55 p.m. | FACT CHECK: The charge that President Obama began his presidency with an “apology tour” is a common accusation from Mitt Romney -- he even named his book “No Apologies.” But it’s not true. Obama did go on a world tour early in presidency, but he did not issue any apologies. Politifact looked into it and called it a “ridiculous charge.”

-- Alan Wirzbicki

9:51 p.m. | FACT CHECK: This is the report about one-on-one talks between the United States and Iran.

-- Callum Borchers

9:48 p.m. | ANALYSIS: Here’s the Energy Information administration’s profile on Iran and its energy resources.

-- Erin Ailworth

9:45 p.m. | ANALYSIS: Romney wants to dramatically increase military spending, some say by $2 trillion. Romney has charged that Obama is cutting the Pentagon budget, but Obama said the US spends as much as the next 10 countries combined. Here is the intersection between defense spending the deficit. Obama is ready for Romney’s charge that the Navy has fewer ships than in 1917. “We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them,” Obama said. The issue is further explored in this story.

-- Michael Kranish

9:44 p.m. | ANALYSIS: Deja vu! The candidates are replaying lines from the previous debate. Romney’s description of his role at the 2002 Olympics sounds eerily familiar.

-- Alan Wirzbicki

9:41 p.m. | FACT CHECK: Scholarship for high-scoring Mass. students: The John and Abigail Adams Scholarships were Romney’s proposal. They cover only tuition at state colleges, not fees, which account for more than 80 percent of yearly costs at some schools. Just a quarter of the recipients actually choose to attend state colleges.

-- Callum Borchers

9:36 p.m. | ANALYSIS: Romney, having minimized differences on some foreign policy issues so far, pivots to the need for a strong economy and echoes Reagan’s peace-through-strength argument. He says that around the world, people vote for peace. not for war. He says he wants to work for peace, hoping to reassure those who may have been concerned by his more bellicose statements earlier in the campaign.

-- Michael Kranish

9:36 p.m. | FACT-CHECK: How dependent are we on foreign oil? The Energy Information Administration says net imports (that’s imports minus exports) accounted for about 45 percent of the petroleum used in the US in 2011. Roughly half of those came from the Western Hemisphere. Click here for more.

-- Erin Ailworth

9:36 p.m. | FACT CHECK:Obama promised 5.4 percent unemployment: Romney’s claim is based on a report Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers prepared before Obama took office. The council predicted that passage of Obama’s stimulus package would prevent unemployment from rising above 8 percent -- a fact Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney cites frequently -- and would bring it down to the mid 5s in the third quarter of 2012.

The real American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was actually a bigger government expenditure, $840 billion, than what Obama’s economic advisers assumed in early 2009, “just slightly over the $775 billion currently under discussion.”

The council appears to have underestimated the magnitude of the recession. It projected that even without stimulus spending, the unemployment rate would be down to 5.9 percent by now.

-- Callum Borchers

9:30 p.m. | FACT CHECK: Obama spent four years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before becoming president.

-- Bryan Bender

9:29 p.m. | FACT CHECK: Sequestration would destroy the United States’ military strength: The Department of Defense already must trim $487 billion under the Budget Control Act, the debt ceiling compromise reached last summer. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in May that his department is prepared to handle those reductions with a plan that “meets not only the goal of savings but also, more importantly, protects a strong national defense for this country.”

But deeper cuts are coming if Congress does not find an alternative. The Budget Control Act called for $2.1 trillion in total deficit reductions between 2012 and 2021. Most of those cuts, $1.2 trillion, were unspecified, and a 12-member congressional “supercommittee” was charged with determining where the money would come from.

To promote bipartisan compromise, lawmakers included in the Budget Control Act a list of default cuts, known as sequesters, to be implemented if the supercommittee failed to reach an agreement. The supercomittee did fail, and the default cuts include another $500 billion from defense.

Sequestration is part of what lawmakers often refer to as the “fiscal cliff” a combination of spending cuts and tax increases that will take effect next year, unless the two parties reach a deal, and which could push the country back into a recession. A deal is not expected before Election Day.

-- Callum Borchers

9:28 p.m. | ANALYSIS: President Obama’s claim that Governor Romney opposed the New START Treaty with Russia aimed at reducing their respective nuclear arsenals -- which was ratified with the support of 71 of 100 senators -- stems from this op-ed Romney penned in 2010 opposing the pact.

-- Bryan Bender

9:27 p.m. | ANALYSIS: First mentions of energy, but neither the president or Romney has detailed one of the major reasons we care about tensions in Libya, in Iran, in Syria: fuel supplies and prices. Earlier this year, for instance, the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program pushed gas prices higher as many worried that tensions would spill over and disrupt oil production.

-- Erin Ailworth

9:26 p.m. | ANALYSIS: Romney seems to be passing up opportunities to attack Obama. The debate opened with a question from Schieffer about the attack on the US consulate in Libya, which might have been a good opening for the governor to criticize Obama’s handling of the aftermath. But he didn’t pounce. Obama, on the other hand, seems to be taking every chance he can get to criticize Romney.

-- Alan Wirzbicki

9:23 p.m. | ANALYSIS: On Syria, despite the tough rhetoric tonight, Romney’s position is fairly similar to that of Obama. Neither wants to send US troops into the country. Both men have declined to support a proposal from Senator John McCain to create no-fly zones and safe havens for rebels. Romney wants to send arms to rebels, but only those who share US values, a difficult condition to assess in wartime. Obama has encouraged some other countries to get light arms to rebels. A full look in this story.

-- Michael Kranish

9:23 p.m. | FACT CHECK: President Obama’s claim that Romney said he would have left large numbers of troops in Iraq is true, but fails to mention that he, too, expressed a desire to keep some troops but failed to secure the permission of the Iraqi government. This independent fact-check takes a look at both candidates’ statements on the continued role of US troops in Iraq.

-- Bryan Bender

9:21 p.m. | FACT CHECK: Romney said a couple of weeks ago that we should still have troops in Iraq: Obama has made this charge before, in reference to a foreign policy address Romney delviered at Virginia Military Institute on Oct. 8. Here’s what Romney said about Iraq that day:

“In Iraq, the costly gains made by our troops are being eroded by rising violence, a resurgent Al-Qaeda, the weakening of democracy in Baghdad, and the rising influence of Iran. And yet, America’s ability to influence events for the better in Iraq has been undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence. The President tried—and failed—to secure a responsible and gradual drawdown that would have better secured our gains.”

-- Callum Borchers

9:16 p.m. | ANALYSIS: Obama tells Romney: “Here’s one thing I’ve learned as commander in chief.” The message from the president is Romney is a novice on foreign policy. Obama is hitting that note again and again.

-- Michael Kranish

9:15 p.m. | FACT CHECK:This is Obama’s hot-mic comment about “flexibility” with Russia after the election.

-- Callum Borchers

9:12 p.m. | ANALYSIS: President Obama made an important pivot on the Libya question. Instead of dwelling defensively on why his administration’s story about the attack in Benghazi had shifted, he stressed his success in helping assemble a coalition that led to Ghaddafi’s ouster.

-- Michael Kranish

9:12 p.m. | FACT CHECK:Here’s Romney’s remark about Russia being the United States’ number one geopolitical foe.

-- Callum Borchers

9:09 p.m. | ANALYSIS: Romney’s opening statement mentions hotspot not yet on the radar of most Americans: Mali. Reports suggest hundreds of Islamic exrtremists are flooding to the North African country to fight in a civil war. The latest news is that France is dispatching drones to the region.

-- Bryan Bender

8:36 p.m. I’m a business reporter for the Boston Globe. I’ll be weighing in on China, clean energy and/or fuel prices.

-- Erin Ailworth

8:31 p.m. I’m a political reporter in Boston. I’ll be providing additional analysis and fact-checking for tonight’s third and final presidential debate.

-- Alan Wirzbicki

8:22 p.m. I am the Boston Globe’s national security reporter in Washington. I will be live blogging during tonight’s debate, providing quick analysis, fact-checking, and context on issues ranging from the war in Afghanistan to US policy in the Middle East and Pentagon spending.

-- Bryan Bender

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