A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Obama’s ‘Welfare’

Summary
The McCain campaign has taken to denigrating some of Obama’s tax proposals as "welfare" rather than tax cuts. And it continues to mislead about who would see a tax increase.

A new McCain-Palin Web ad characterizes Obama’s proposed refundable tax credits as "welfare." But McCain himself proposes refundable tax credits, too, as part of his health care plan, and calls them "reform."
The ad also says "hard-working families" and "seniors" would pay higher taxes.

Unions Mislead on Health Care

Summary
Two labor unions are running ads falsely characterizing McCain’s health care plan.

A United Auto Workers spot features a woman who claims she’d pay up to $2,800 more in taxes. That’s a bogus figure, based on a false assumption about what McCain is actually proposing. She and families like hers would actually come out money ahead.
A Service Employees International Union ad claims McCain’s plan would "deny coverage for preexisting conditions like cancer."

Full FactCheck.org Report on Last Debate Up

We stayed up all night, and into the morning, but we do have a full analysis of last night’s debate to show for our efforts. Feel free to check it out here and see all the items we found during our live coverage of the debate right here on The Wire.

Judge’s Attack Ad Draws Complaint

Last spring’s Supreme Court race in Wisconsin featured some ugly ads, so ugly that we wrote about the false or misleading claims in them several times. Now, one of the worst of those spots (in our humble opinion) is the subject of a complaint by the Wisconsin Judicial Commission. The proceedings could alter the tenor of ads used in Wisconsin court races.
The ad was sponsored by the campaign of a lower court judge, Mike Gableman,

FactChecking Debate No. 3

Summary
Spin and hype were apparent, once again, at the third and final debate between McCain and Obama:

McCain claimed the liberal group ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history … maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” In fact, a Republican prosecutor said of the biggest ACORN fraud case to date: “[T]his scheme was not intended to permit illegal voting.” He said $8-an-hour workers turned in made-up voter registration forms rather than doing what ACORN paid them to do.

Obama on Taxes

Obama said that “I want to provide a tax cut for 95 percent of working Americans.” He also said the cut would go to “95 percent of families.” The latter is correct. The Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center analyzed the two candidates’ tax plans and found Obama’s would cut taxes for 95.5 percent of households with children. Overall, the TPC found that Obama’s plan would produce a tax cut for 81.3 percent of all households.
Obama was also off the mark when he said “if you make less than a quarter million dollars,”

$42,000 a year

McCain has claimed yet again that Sen. Obama “voted twice for a budget resolution to increase taxes on individuals making $42,000 a year.” As we’ve reported, a single taxpayer making more than $41,500 would have seen a tax increase, but a couple filing jointly would have seen no increase unless they made at least $83,000, and for a couple with two children the cut-off would have been $90,000. Regardless, the increase that Obama once supported as part of a Democratic budget bill is not part of his current tax plan.

Joe the Plumber

He certainly got plenty of airtime.
For those of you who don’t know what that exchange was all about, McCain and Obama were referring to an impromptu encounter between Obama and Toledo, Ohio, plumber Joe Wurzelbacher. Jake Tapper, at ABC News, has the full video.
The short version: Wurzelbacher is a plumber looking to buy a company. He’s concerned that Obama’s tax plan will raise his taxes. That may well be true. As we’ve written before,

John Lewis and the News

McCain was a bit off the mark when he said Obama did not repudiate the remarks of Democratic Rep. John Lewis. Obama did release a statement that said he “did not believe” McCain “or his policy criticism is in any way comparable to George Wallace or his segregationist policies.” But he did agree with other parts of Lewis’ statement. Here’s the story:
On Oct. 11, Lewis, an activist during the Civil Rights movement, published a statement on the Politico Web site that said in part:

“Sen.

Plumber Joe and His Health Care

Fines for small businesses? Higher income taxes? The government choosing your health care plans? Gold-plated Cadillacs? It all sounds bad (or at least confusing) for Joe, and everyone else … but luckily we’ve broken it all down for you. For the full scoop on both Obama’s and McCain’s health care plans, see our recent article Health Care Spin.