Romney Goes On Offense, Pays For It In First Wave Of Fact Checks by Mark Memmott and Scott Montgomery In their first of three debates, President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney "traded barbs" and stretched some facts, say the nonpartisan watchdogs at PolitiFact.com. Similarly, the researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center's FactCheck.org found examples of truth-stretching by both men. Overall, it was a debate packed with facts, a wonk's delight. From the very first remarks, with President Obama saying 5 million jobs have been created in the private sector over the last 30 months, the debate was very number focused. So there were some things to check. And because Romney made more factual assertions, he's getting dinged more — at least in the early hours after the debate — by the fact checkers. Here a sample of what's being reported about the truthiness of what Obama and Romney had to say Wednesday night on stage at the University of Denver: — One of the biggest disputes was over tax cuts. Obama argued that Romney's plan to stimulate the economy includes a tax cut totaling $5 trillion that, Obama said, isn't possible because the Republican nominee is also promising to spend money in other places. Romney flatly disputed that number. "First of all, I don't have a $5 trillion tax cut," he said. Who's right? The Washington Post's Fact Checker says the facts on this one are on Obama's side. The New York Times notes that Romney "has proposed cutting all marginal tax rates by 20 percent — which would in and of itself cut tax revenue by $5 trillion." FactCheck.org has weighed in too, tweeting during the debate that "Romney says he will pay for $5T tax cut without raising deficit or raising taxes on middle class. Experts say that's not possible." PolitiFact has given a "mostly true" rating to the charge that "Romney is proposing a tax plan "that would give millionaires another tax break and raise taxes on middle class families by up to $2,000 a year." — Has the president put in place a plan that would cut Medicare benefits by $716 billion? Romney says yes. The president says no. According to PolitiFact, Romney's charge is "half true." "That amount — $716 billion — refers to Obamacare's reductions in Medicare spending over 10 years, primarily paid to insurers and hospitals," says PolitiFact. So there is a basis for the number. But, it adds, "the statement gives the impression that the law takes money already allocated to Medicare away from current recipients," which is why it gets only a "half true" rating. The New York Times writes that Obama "did not cut benefits by $716 billion over 10 years as part of his 2010 health care law; rather, he reduced Medicare reimbursements to health care providers, chiefly insurance companies and drug manufacturers. And the law gave Medicare recipients more generous benefits for prescription drugs and free preventive care like mammograms."