A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

The Florida Recount of 2000

Q: When the votes were recounted in Florida, who won the 2000 presidential election?
A: Nobody can say for sure who might have won. A full, official recount of all votes statewide could have gone either way, but one was never conducted.

Clinton Passed on Killing bin Laden?

Q: Did Bill Clinton pass up a chance to kill Osama bin Laden?
A: Probably not, and it would not have mattered anyway as there was no evidence at the time that bin Laden had committed any crimes against American citizens.

Crooked Claims About Clinton

Summary
In a video that has logged millions of views on the Internet since early October, Peter Paul, a felon who helped produce a gala fundraiser for the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, makes a number of false or misleading charges against the presidential contender and former First Lady. Among them:

The video gives the false impression that the Clintons somehow caused Paul to be investigated for securities fraud as retaliation for a lawsuit he filed against them.

Obama’s Creative Clippings Part Deux

Summary
The Obama campaign’s new ad uses an old trick and takes quotes from newspapers out of context.

Once again, the campaign uses a quote from a news story to say Obama’s health plan would offer universal coverage. But the full article points out that his plan "does not guarantee" full coverage.
The ad also shows a clip saying that Obama has been against the war in Iraq since the beginning. True enough, but the story also chastises him for making too much of the boldness of his early stance.

U.S. Intelligence on WMDs in Iraq

Q: What was known to U.S. intelligence and Congress about WMDs in Iraq before the vote to go to war?
A: Senior U.S. intelligence officials believed, incorrectly, that Iraq had stockpiles of chemical and germ weapons and was developing nuclear weapons. They also agreed Saddam Hussein wouldn’t give such weapons to terrorists unless attacked. Few members of Congress read the full 92-page report with all its qualifications and dissents.

Short Ads, Even Shorter on the Facts

Summary
Two recent ads by the Edwards campaign are quick and to the point, but they miss the mark. One claims that Edwards is the "only" Democrat who "beats" the leading Republican contenders in "the recent" CNN poll. Actually, Edwards wasn’t even included in the most recent CNN poll; the ad is referring to an older one. More recent polling has found that both Obama and Clinton are leading all of the Republican front-runners.

Stacking the Deck

Summary
The three leading Democratic presidential candidates debated in Las Vegas and we noted the following:

Clinton once again mischaracterized the 2005 energy bill, saying it had "enormous giveaways" to oil and gas companies. In truth, the measure raised taxes on those industries.
Obama accused the Bush administration of failing to make "any serious effort" to encourage use of alternative fuels or raise fuel efficiency of automobiles. In fact, President Bush has signed major bills that do both.

The Impact of Tax Cuts

Q: Have tax cuts always resulted in higher tax revenues and more economic growth as many tax cut proponents claim?
A: No. In fact, economists say tax cuts do not spark enough growth to pay for themselves.

McCain’s Misleading Mailer

Summary
McCain is sending out a postcard mailing in South Carolina that is misleading on more than one point.

It says that "Romney provided taxpayer-funded abortions," a distortion. Romney’s Massachusetts health-care plan faced a court order requiring abortions to be covered.
It says Romney "refused to endorse Bush Tax Cut Plan," but fails to note that McCain himself voted against it.
It says, "Hillary tried to spend $1 million for a Woodstock museum" until "John McCain said NO."

Myrtle Beach Blarney

Summary

Another debate, another round of fact-checking. The GOP meeting in South Carolina was the third for Republican candidates in a week, but they haven’t run out of exaggerations or misstatements:

Romney claimed Massachusetts gained jobs "every single month" he was governor after hitting a low point. In fact the job gains seesawed, with seven of 36 months producing job losses.
Huckabee escalated his misleading claims about cutting taxes, saying he cut taxes for the first time in the history of the state of Arkansas,