A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Oil and Gas Company Tax Breaks

Q: What kind of tax breaks does the U.S. give to oil companies and to corporations that send jobs overseas?
A: Companies with overseas subsidiaries can keep their income untaxed by the IRS if they don’t transfer that revenue back to the U.S. Oil and gas companies received tax breaks and subsidies from a 2005 energy bill, but the bill led to a net tax increase for them.

Fear and False Claims

A widely-seen ad pushes a White House-backed bill that would make it easier for the government to wiretap Americans. It also would give retroactive legal immunity to telecom companies that cooperated with Bush’s secret, post-9/11 warrantless wiretapping program. Sponsored by Defense of Democracies, a group with GOP connections, the ad takes the House to task for not passing the bill, as the Senate has. The ad appeals to fear, with its image of Osama bin Laden and similar ploys. But we find that it also makes several misleading claims.

Cleveland Clinkers

The Clinton-Obama showdown debate in Cleveland produced several false, twisted or dubious claims, most of which we’ve heard and debunked before. Both Obama and Clinton claimed their health care plans would cut costs more than the other’s, and that experts back them up on that. But experts we talked to said the plans are too similar to predict which would save more, and two experts said neither plan can save nearly as much as the candidates claim.

John McCain’s Presidential Eligibility

Q: How can Panamanian-born McCain be elected president?
A: Though born abroad, he is considered a natural-born U.S. citizen.
FULL QUESTION:
I understand John McCain was born in Panama. Doesn’t that make him ineligible to be president? I thought the Constitution said you had to have been born in a state.
FULL ANSWER:
John McCain’s father was an admiral in the U.S.

Clinton Edits ‘The Truth’

Hillary Clinton, stung by an Obama mailer that painted her as a supporter of the North American Free Trade agreement, is responding in kind with a barrage of postcards saying, “Ohio needs to know the truth about Obama’s position on Protecting American Workers and NAFTA.” But the mailer gives less than the whole truth.

Obama Mailings ‘False’?

Clinton said “every Democrat should be outraged” at two “false” mailers that Obama sent to voters in Ohio. We find that a mailer criticizing her position on trade is indeed misleading. One that attacks her health care plan we have previously described as straining the facts, though not exactly “false.”

Vice President Bill Clinton?

Q: Could former President Bill Clinton be vice president?
A: Probably not, but it’s an untested constitutional conundrum.

Clinton-Obama Pillow Fight

The most recent Obama-Clinton debate drew little blood, but we noted a few factual claims that could use correcting or clarifying: Clinton wrongly implied that Obama had little or no accomplishments to his credit. Obama recited a list of achievements at both the state and federal level, which we found to be accurate.

Cell Phones and Political Polls

Q: Are polls skewed because many people only have cell phones?
A: Poll-takers worry a lot about this. A recent study indicates that polling results aren't yet affected very much. We're not so sure.