10:32PM EDT October 16. 2012 - In their second debate, President Obama and Mitt Romney took questions from an audience of undecided Long Island voters. Some of their responses deserve a deeper look:
Claim: Romney said he will create 12 million new jobs in his first term.
Facts: Romney's pledge to create 12 million jobs has been hotly contested in large part because economic forecasters, including Moody's Analytics, predict roughly 12 million jobs will be created over the next four years - no matter who is elected president.
Romney's pledge means 250,000 jobs will have to be added every month for four years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth has averaged 139,000 month in 2012 and 153,000 month in 2011.
Romney's five-part jobs plan is shy on details but says jobs will be created by achieving North American energy independence by 2020, expanding U.S. trade efforts, training workers, cutting the deficit and promoting small businesses. It is accurate that the U.S. economy is expected to gain 12 million jobs in the first term of the next president, but Romney's job plan is not the reason.
Claim: The Obama administration brought criminal charges against North Dakota oil companies for killing a handful of birds.
Facts: The U.S. attorney in North Dakota last year charged seven oil companies with misdemeanor violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which carries a $15,000 fine, in connection with the death of 28 endangered birds.
The birds reportedly flew into open oil pits that they mistook for ponds, or were poisoned by oil that spilled into nearby wetlands.
Charges against three companies were dismissed in January.
Three other defendants reached plea agreements, and the charges against the final company were dropped by the government.
Claim: In response to a question from a college student, Romney said, "I want to make sure we keep our Pell Grant program growing."
Facts: Romney's white paper on education, "A Chance for Every Child," suggests that a Romney administration would reverse the growth in Pell Grant funding. Indeed, he sharply criticizes Obama for doubling funding for Pell Grants.
The May 23 position paper said, "A Romney Administration will refocus Pell Grant dollars on the students that need them most and place the program on a responsible long-term path that avoids future funding cliffs and last-minute funding patches."
Paul Davidson, Tim Mullaney, Gregory Korte, Susan Davis and Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY