A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Out of Context on Health Care

Summary
An Obama-Biden ad falsely claims McCain says he wants to "do the same to our health care" that "Wall Street deregulation" has done to the banking industry.
The ad relies on a single phrase from a journal article under McCain's byline, in which he said he would reduce regulation of health insurance "as we have done over the last decade in banking." But the full context reveals that McCain was referring narrowly to his proposal to allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines.

Bridge to Nowhere

Q: What's the full story on the Bridge to Nowhere?
A: Palin supported it even after McCain denounced it, then blamed "inaccurate portrayals" when she canceled it for lack of money. Obama and Biden voted for the big transportation bill that contained it. McCain's vote was one of four against. Our time line gives full details.

Obama’s Social Security Whopper

Summary
In Daytona Beach, Obama said that "if my opponent had his way, the millions of Floridians who rely on it would’ve had their Social Security tied up in the stock market this week." He referred to "elderly women" at risk of poverty, and said families would be scrambling to support "grandmothers and grandfathers."
That’s not true. The plan proposed by President Bush and supported by McCain in 2005 would not have allowed anyone born before 1950 to invest any part of their Social Security taxes in private accounts.

Sparring in Spanish

Summary
An Obama TV ad tells Spanish-speaking viewers that McCain is "friends" with Rush Limbaugh, and quotes the radio host as calling Mexicans "stupid and unqualified" and telling them to "shut up or get out." The ad is doubly misleading. Limbaugh has until recently disparaged McCain repeatedly to his audience. And Limbaugh says his words are ripped out of context and twisted in the ad. In any case they don't represent McCain's position.
 

Scaring Seniors

Summary
A new Obama ad characterizes the "Bush-McCain privatization plan" as "cutting Social Security Benefits in half." This is a falsehood sure to frighten seniors who rely on their Social Security checks. In truth, McCain does not propose to cut those checks at all.
The ad refers to a Bush proposal from 2005 to hold down the growth of benefits for future retirees. Compared to the buying power of benefits paid to today’s retirees,

McCain’s cloudy crystal ball

Confused about whether John McCain really predicted the fall of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? We don’t blame you. The McCain-Palin campaign says he did, and as proof, they point to a 2006 speech in which McCain exhorts his colleagues to vote for legislation he cosponsored, legislation that would have regulated the misbehaving mortgage giants. The Obama campaign says he did not and point out that McCain said in 2007 that he didn’t see the crisis coming.

Freddie, Fannie and Barack – Corrected

Turns out, our initial post “Freddie, Fannie and Barack” was erroneous. We’ve struck out the incorrect sections from our earlier post.
We said originally that Obama was the fourth largest recipient of donations from troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That’s wrong. Our post was drawn from data from the Center for Responsive Politics’ Web site, OpenSecrets.org. But the data we used were incomplete.
We talked to a spokesperson from the Center for Responsive Politics who told us that looking at all election cycles since 1989 (the first year for which CRP has data),

McCain and the 1967 Forrestal Fire

There is a nasty claim making the rounds in virulently anti-McCain circles, accusing him of responsibility for the terrible 1967 disaster aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal. That claim is bunk, and we said so in our Sept. 5 Ask FactCheck item, “Did McCain crash five planes?” Now we are saying so again – even more emphatically – based on additional research.
Among the new details: We question McCain’s widely accepted story that it was his own A-4 Skyhawk that was first hit by the errant missile that touched off the disaster.

Biden Refusing to Pay Campaign Debt?

Q: Is Joe Biden refusing to pay a $150,000 campaign debt?
A: Contrary to a claim in a chain e-mail, public records show Biden paid his debt to an air charter company in full, well before Obama tapped him for vice president. The accountant who wrote the e-mail now says it's "no longer true."

Stretching with Biden

Summary

Biden proved once again that it doesn’t take outright falsehoods to create a skewed impression of one’s opponent. We found in a Sept. 15 speech that:

Biden used partial quotes to support his charge that McCain wouldn’t help "small borrowers" suffering in the mortgage crisis but would "fight for those that lost their … real estate investments." In fact, McCain’s full quote said he would also fight for those who "lost their jobs" and "savings,"