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Santorum challenges Obama, Bush on Iran funding

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:49 AM EST, Sun November 13, 2011

(CNN) -- Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum made numerous statements about sanctions on Iran and the Iran Freedom and Support Act during Saturday night's GOP candidates' debate on national security issues in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The Statement: "I've been working on Iran since back in 2004 and proposed exactly the things that Herman and Mitt Romney suggested, which was to give money to the rebel forces there to help the pro-democracy movement and put tough sanctions in place. I was opposed by President Bush, and yet we were able to overcome that and pass the Iran Freedom and Support Act. I was able to get that done, and then President Bush didn't provide money for the pro-democracy movement and President Obama cut that money."

The Facts: Santorum did sponsor a bill to provide assistance to pro-democracy groups opposed to the government of Iran. The bill was passed in 2006 and became public law.

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on March 2, 2006, Santorum testified that the Bush administration did support funding for pro-democracy efforts. "Given the administration's recent commitment to provide $75 million to pro-democracy efforts within Iran, I intend to increase the level of funding authorized by my bill to $100 million," he said. Between the 2004 and 2009 fiscal years, the Bush administration requested $151.3 million for this purpose, while the Obama administration has requested $115 million for fiscal years 2010 through 2012, according to a Congressional Research Service report.

The verdict: Misleading. Santorum did sponsor the bill, and the Obama administration has requested fewer dollars toward the effort than the previous administration. However, the Bush administration also requested money for the purpose.

CNN's Amy Roberts contributed to this report.

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