A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Stuck in Iraq

Summary
The latest Democratic presidential debate brought into sharp focus the candidates’ disagreements on how quickly the U.S. can disentangle itself from Iraq. Long-shot candidate Dennis Kucinich stood by his promise to bring all troops home within three months, and Bill Richardson said he could do it in a year – even at the cost of leaving some military equipment behind. But Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama said they might have to keep some combat troops there in a counterterrorism role for more than four years,

Bush’s False Claims About Children’s Health Insurance

Summary
President Bush gave a false description of proposed legislation to expand the 10-year-old federal program to provide health insurance for children in low-income working families.
He said it "would result" in covering children in families with incomes up to $83,000 per year, which isn’t true. The Urban Institute estimated that 70 percent of children who would gain coverage are in families earning half that amount, and the bill contains no requirement for setting income eligibility caps any higher than what’s in the current law.

Maybe It’s a Trend

Summary
Last month we were happy to note the launch of PolitiFact.com, a joint project of the St. Petersburg Times of Florida and Congressional Quarterly of Washington, D.C. Today we welcome The Washington Post’s new feature, "The Fact Checker," written by veteran journalist Michael Dobbs with the assistance of chief researcher Alice Crites.
The first four Fact Checker articles find fault with statements by Republican presidential candidates Fred Thompson and Sam Brownback, Democratic presidential contender Mike Gravel,

Operation Iraqi Gloss-Over

Summary
President Bush played loose with the facts in his address to the nation Thursday night as he tried to convince the American public that the surge in U.S. troops in Iraq has made the country more stable.

He said "36 nations … have troops on the ground in Iraq." In fact, his own State Department puts the number at 25.
He said “ordinary life” was returning to Baghdad. Perhaps. In fact, news reports describe the city as starkly segregated with Shiites and Sunnis living in separate neighborhoods,

Richardson Flunks Two Subjects

Summary
Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, has claimed again and again U.S. students, from kindergarten through 12th grade, are ranked 29th in the world in math and science. He claims they used to be No. 1, too. But none of that is true.
The two leading international assessments of student achievement rank U.S. students better in all cases, and in most cases much better, than Richardson claims. Furthermore, neither of them even tries to cover all grades K through 12.

Twisting Facts in Spanglish

Summary
The Sunday night debate, complete with interpreters, produced a few flubs or fibs from the Democratic field, including these:

Rep. Dennis Kucinich gave a figure for health insurance company profits that was vastly overstated. He also made a much-disputed claim about NAFTA.
Former Sen. John Edwards made his health care plan seem cheaper than it would actually be. He assumed it was in effect right now, rather than the soonest it could possibly be implemented,

Some Old, Some New

Summary
The Republican candidates aired their views, claims and criticisms in yet another debate. We found a few mistakes and questionable pronouncements:

Rudy Giuliani said 2,000 illegal immigrants was the most the federal government deported from New York City during any of his years as mayor.  That doesn’t square with Department of Homeland Security figures. Giuliani also took a little too much credit for a drop in New York’s welfare rolls.
Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas tried to link gay marriage with an increase in children being born out of wedlock.