A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Congressional Black Caucus for Blacks Only?

Q: Is the Congressional Black Caucus racially exclusive?
A: Yes. It has never had a white member in its 36-year history. However, its stated mission is to work for "America’s neglected citizens," whatever their color.

Simi Valley Showdown

Summary

With a nationwide wave of nominating contests looming next week, Republican presidential candidates held their last scheduled debate against the backdrop of Ronald Reagan’s retired Air Force One. But we found some of the candidates' facts just won’t fly.

Romney complained that McCain used "the wrong data" about job creation to support his assertion that Massachusetts had ranked 47th among the 50 states while Romney was governor. Romney was wrong;

Military Deaths Under Clinton and Bush

Q: Did more soldiers die during Bill Clinton’s term than have died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan?
A: Actually, even counting non-combat fatalities, more military personnel died during the first six years of George Bush’s tenure than during the entire eight years that Bill Clinton was in office.

Facts of the Union 2008

Summary
Bush pretty much stuck to the facts in his final State of the Union address. But he chose his facts carefully and didn't always tell the whole story.

He correctly noted that the number of jobs has grown steadily for a record 52 straight months. But the number of jobs gained is a fraction of the gains made during Bill Clinton's years, and wage gains have been eaten up by inflation.
He claimed his proposal to give tax deductions for those who buy their own health insurance will "put private coverage within reach for millions."

Defining an ‘Earmark’?

Q: What is an earmark?
A: Earmarks are government funds that are allocated by a legislator for a particular pet project, often without proper review.

McCain Ads Attack Romney

Summary
On the eve of the crucial Florida GOP primary, John McCain is attacking Mitt Romney with some out-of-context or misleading statements on radio and the Internet:

A Web ad says Romney's health care program in Massachusetts is "not very good" and "is failing." But official figures indicate that roughly 200,000 previously uninsured residents have gained health coverage, and those persons might disagree.
The ad says the Romney plan is costing $400 million more than expected.

Bogus Claims in Boca

Summary
In last night's debate, held days before Tuesday's Republican primary in the Sunshine State, the remaining GOP candidates came up with a few new factual distortions and repeated several old ones. Among them:

McCain said he had won the Republican vote in both the South Carolina and New Hampshire primaries, where independent voters also participate. One exit poll showed him narrowly prevailing with Republicans in New Hampshire, while another didn’t. And the same poll that favored him in that state had him losing the GOP vote to Huckabee in South Carolina.

Defining the ‘Middle Class’

Q: Is there a standard, accepted definition of what constitutes the "middle class"?
A: No, there isn’t. "Middle class" means different things to different people – and politicians.

Peas in a Pod

Summary

A radio ad sponsored by Hillary Clinton reprises her misleading claim that Barack Obama likes Republican ideas. Obama has responded with an ad that makes a half-true accusation that Clinton "championed" NAFTA. We find that both claims are misleading and that the candidates are, in fact, making mountains of molehills.

Specifically, we found that:

Clinton’s ad falsely implies that Obama supported "special tax breaks for Wall Street" and running up the deficit, and that he opposed minimum wage increases while refusing to deal with the housing crisis.

Clinton-Obama Slugfest

Summary
In one of the liveliest debates of the 2008 presidential campaign, the three top Democrats slugged it out in Myrtle Beach, S.C. We noted some low blows:

Clinton falsely accused Obama of saying he "really liked the ideas of the Republicans" including private Social Security accounts and deficit spending. Not true. The entire 49-minute interview to which she refers contains no endorsement of private Social Security accounts or deficit spending, and Obama specifically scorned GOP calls for tax cuts.