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Biden to press: 'Fact check me'

ZANESVILLE, OH -- The meta-fact check war rages on.

As the campaigns continued to trade salvos over the accuracy of claims made in both parties' convention speeches, Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday that he's happy to be under the microscope of fact checkers.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Vice President Joe Biden talks with Lisa McIntosh of Lewisburg, Ohio, as he stops for an ice cream cone Saturday at a Dairy Queen in Nelsonville, Ohio.

"I say to the press, 'Fact check me,'" the vice president declared before launching into a lengthy critique of the Republican plan for Medicare overhaul.

"What they're proposing will actually cost the Medicare trust fund that pays for the benefits when you go to the hospital, the doctor, to run out of money, a sufficient amount of money by 2016," he said. "That's when it would hit the wall."


Biden's claim echoes one made Wednesday night by former President Bill Clinton, who said that the Romney-Ryan goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act would eliminate that bill's measures to keep Medicare solvent until 2024, pushing the date when Medicare will "go broke" up by 8 years.

The non-partisan factcheck.org found that to be an exaggeration; while repeal of ACA would mean the earlier exhaustion of the part of Medicare that covers hospitals, the fund would still collect payroll taxes to cover the vast majority of hospital bills.

The Washington Post put it more bluntly: "This is wrong," it wrote on Sept. 6 of Biden's 2016 Medicare solvency claim.

On Saturday, Biden also accused Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryanof proposing to turn the federal health insurance program for seniors into "Vouchercare," saying that the Romney-Ryan plan would raise costs for seniors.

Independent fact checkers have pointed out that while Ryan's most recent budget would provide private insurance vouchers which would grow at the rate of inflation rather than at the rate of health costs, it would also keep traditional Medicare as an option for seniors who wanted it. While most agree that it's likely that seniors would have to pay more if they chose Medicare, it's hard to project how health care costs would change under a hypothetical Romney-Ryan plan.

"Today, Vice President Biden said that he should be fact-checked, and we agree," said Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg. "The vice president knowingly and deliberately leveled false and discredited attacks."

The fact check challenge comes after a Romney pollster was quoted saying that "we're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." Paul Ryan's convention speech was heavily criticized for citing several discredited claims.

Biden poked fun at that sentiment Saturday, calling it "amazing" that the Romney campaign "doesn't like to be fact checked."

Addressing the crowd of about 450 at an Ohio elementary school, Biden also needled Republicans for their impassioned support for Medicare.

"If … you got dropped down from Mars and turned on the convention, you'd think that they really cared about it. You'd think it's something they thought of," Biden said of Republicans.

“They mention it so often you'd be surprised to learn that they've always been trying to chip away [from it] for the last 40 years," he added.

Another fact check? You can't survive on Mars.