October 22nd, 2008
03:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Fact Check: Did Obama only serve 300 days in the Senate before he became a candidate?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/22/art.obama.capitol.jpg caption="Did obama only spend 300 days in the Senate before becoming a presidential candidate?."]
The Statement:

GOP vice-presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin, in an interview on CNN's "Situation Room" on Tuesday, October 21, questioned Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama's experience, saying he "served for his 300 days before he became a presidential candidate."

Get the facts!

The Facts
Palin was referring to Obama's career in the U.S. Senate. Maria Comella, Palin's spokeswoman, told CNN that from the time Obama was sworn in on January 3, 2005, to the announcement of his exploratory committee on January 16, 2007, the Senate was in session 304 days. The secretary of the U.S. Senate told CNN the numbers are correct.

But lawmakers also work when the Senate is not in session. Obama served 743 days in the Senate from his swearing in to the announcement of his exploratory committee, the first official step when considering a run for the presidency. He served 768 days from the start of his career in the Senate to February 10, 2007, when he formally announced his candidacy for president. Palin served as governor of Alaska for 634 days before Republican nominee Sen. John McCain named her as his running mate.

The Verdict: Misleading. Palin failed to give credit for Obama's work on days when the Senate was not meeting.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Fact Check • Sarah Palin
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