A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Making Ends Meet

Sen. Barack Obama has said several times that he has proposed cuts that pay for “every dime” of his spending proposals, a claim we’ve called “misleading.” The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center’s analysis, for one, found that “without substantial cuts in government spending” Obama’s plan – and McCain’s, too – “would substantially increase the national debt over the next ten years.”
Obama repeated his claim in his half-hour commercial that aired Wednesday night on major networks and cable television,

The Whoppers of 2008 – The Sequel

We’ve chronicled a lot of misleading, exaggerated and flat-out false claims during this campaign — too many to count. But some rise above the others in their sheer mendaciousness. In our latest article on FactCheck.org, we present a look at the biggest bogus bits of the final five weeks of campaign 2008:
The Whoppers of 2008 — The Sequel October 31, 2008
For part one of this saga, see our September story that detailed the whoppers from earlier in the election.

Obama Soft on Crime?

With a handful of days to go before Election Day, the Republican Federal Committee of Pennsylvania is going after Sen. Barack Obama with a mailer that claims the presidential nominee has “a record of being soft on crime.” Luckily, our fellow fact-checkers at PolitiFact.com are all over this one. According to PolitiFact, the mailer (also being distributed in Florida) “cherry-picks a few choice examples and conveniently ignores evidence that contradicts its conclusions.”
For example, the mailer says that Obama is “against tougher penalties for street gangs,”

Reckless Driving

The Obama-Biden campaign has released an ad as part of its “closing argument” to the American people. But we have a few factual objections to raise.

The ad is called “Rearview Mirror” and says that if you “wonder where John McCain would take the economy” just “look behind you,” alluding to the Bush administration. The ad even pictures President Bush’s face in the rearview mirror of a car.
But it touts some misleading claims Obama has dropped along the long campaign trail.

The Whoppers of 2008 — The Sequel

Summary
The last five weeks have brought so many ads we feel like we’re drinking from a fire hose – and we’ll bet you’re pretty saturated, too.
Since our first “Whoppers of 2008” piece, we’ve seen some of the same themes repeated. McCain’s campaign doesn’t tire of distorting Obama’s tax plan, it seems, and in the process has whipped up at least 15 minutes of fame for sudden star Joe the Plumber. Obama continues trying to pull seniors into his camp by making deceptive claims about what McCain would do to Social Security,

Campaign Buttons in the Voting Booth

Q: Can I wear my campaign button to the voting booth?
A: It depends on which state you live in, but the expert advice is to leave the campaign paraphernalia at home.

Same Old Claims in Another Language

Summary
The presidential campaigns and third-party groups have been bilingual throughout the election, targeting Spanish-speaking voters with some misleading and false ads. Among the recent TV spots:

A McCain-Palin ad tries to paint Obama as a "riesgo" (risk), falsely claiming that his health care plan would require small businesses to cover their employees. But Obama’s plan explicitly exempts small businesses from this requirement, and an adviser has said the threshold "would almost certainly be higher than ten"

More Social Security Bunk

Summary
Democrats celebrated Halloween early this year, trying to spook voters with the political boogeyman of risking Social Security in the stock market. Since October 1, we have found 58 ads from Democrats and their allies attacking their Republican House and Senate opponents on the issue. They mislead in several ways:

They say benefits would have been "risked in the stock market." While that’s true for younger workers, current beneficiaries wouldn’t have been eligible for private accounts under the plan President Bush supported.

Social Security and Spanish Ads

We posted two new pieces on the main site today. The first looks at a common theme among Democratic congressional ads: the accusation that Republicans want to gamble away Social Security in risky private investments. We count 58 ads with such charges that have aired since Oct. 1. Read all about how they’re trying to mislead voters in our full story:
More Social Security Bunk

Our second article examines four Spanish-language ads from the presidential campaigns,

Sleaze Sells

When we ran an article yesterday calling the first TV spot from The National Republican Trust PAC one of the sleaziest false ads we’ve seen, the group had reported spending just under $1 million. But it seems that the attack, which featured Mohammed Atta, may have helped the upstart group strike gold: In an Oct. 29 fundraising e-mail NRT PAC claims to have raised more than $3 million.
The ad flashes an image of the 9/11 terrorist’s Florida driver’s license while falsely charging that Obama has a “plan”