If you watched the second presidential debate last night, you might have caught a couple of doozies -- supposed "facts" tossed around with little regard for reality.
Perhaps you even noticed smoke wafting from a pair of trousers.
Stretching the truth, omitting details or outright lying are not the domain of one particular party and aren't unique to this particular contest. Candidates from both parties have been guilty over the years.
But in this Internet age, when it's relatively easy to check a suspicious claim, why are voters so willing to let the candidates get away with them?
That was the question posed by Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, in a recent opinion piece for CNN, "Do facts matter?"
His conclusion: We've come to accept politicians lie, and, given our hyper-partisan political atmosphere, we tend to seek out news sources that reaffirm our pre-existing views rather than set the records straight.
"The partisanship that shapes our politics has many costs. Congress has trouble making decisions, tensions among voters over certain issues are often severe, and the quality of our discourse often suffers," Zelizer writes.
"Perhaps one of the worst effects of partisanship, however, has been the fact that the truth is much harder to discern and, in many cases, voters don't even expect it," he adds.
But we should expect it. We should demand it.
So if it sounds fishy when President Barack Obama claims he'll use the money saved by ending two wars to "rebuild America," check it out. You'll find that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were paid for mostly with borrowed money. To continue borrowing money for other projects would just add to the national debt.
And when you hear Republican nominee Mitt Romney pledge to "roll back President Obama's deep and arbitrary cuts to our national defense that would devastate our military," do some research. Those defense cuts are part of a bipartisan deal reached by the White House and congressional Republicans, including his GOP vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan.
These two examples were taken from a recent Associated Press Fact Check column, "an occasional look at political claims that take shortcuts with the facts or don't tell the full story."
The column is a good example of an objective take on political claims, and there are other reputable, nonpartisan sources out there as well.
Those include websites such as www.factcheck.org, sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania; www.votesmart.org, a nonpartisan group founded by the likes of former President Jimmy Carter and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; and www.politifact.com, a Pulitzer Prize-winning project of the Tampa Bay Times.
These sites offer a wealth of well-researched and documented information for voters concerned about getting spun by the campaigns.
Independents still undecided can find unbiased information to help them make up their minds, and partisans can double-check the facts -- of "their guy" and the other candidate.
It's likely no one will be too happy to see how gullible both candidates and their parties seem to think we are.
And it's time we called them on it.