A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Constitutional Queries about the VP Debate

Hundreds of readers have written us asking why we didn’t point out Joe Biden’s confusion of Articles I and II of the Constitution during his debate with Gov. Sarah Palin on Oct. 2. We should have. While his rambling response was generally correct in describing the constitutional role of the vice president, he did make a small error. And in the interest of clearing up previous debate matters before tonight’s final face-off between John McCain and Barack Obama,

Obama’s ‘Projector’ Earmark

Q: Did Obama request a $3 million ‘overhead projector,’ as McCain claimed?
A: Obama did seek a $3 million earmark, but it was not for the sort of ‘overhead projector’ commonly found in classrooms or offices. It would have replaced the Adler Planetarium’s projector, last upgraded in 1969.

Health Care Spin

An Obama-Biden TV ad says Sen. John McCain’s health care plan would be the “largest middle-class tax increase in history.” A McCain-Palin/RNC radio ad says Obama’s plan “will rob 50 million employees of their health coverage.” Both are false.
We lay out the details of each candidate’s health care plans and the misleading claims being made about them in a new article on our main site:
Health Care Spin October 14, 2008

Health Care Spin

Summary
McCain and Obama have sharply different health care plans, and each has made sharply worded attacks that are either false or misleading. McCain proposes a market-based system that relies on tax incentives, which one Obama ad falsely characterizes as the "largest middle-class tax increase in history." Obama proposes new subsidies to expand private insurance coverage and some expansion of government insurance, which McCain falsely claims "will rob 50 million employees of their health coverage."

‘Lying’ About Being Liberal?

Summary
A McCain-Palin ad claims Obama was rated the "most liberal" U.S. senator, which was true only for 2007 but not for his entire Senate career. He was rated 10th and 16th in his two previous years.
The ad also misquotes Obama. It says he defended himself against the "most liberal" rating by saying "they’re not telling the truth" and "folks are lying." Actually, Obama said McCain and Palin weren’t truthful about the "Bridge to Nowhere,"

The $79 Billion Iraqi Surplus, Reconsidered

We’ve criticized both Barack Obama and Joe Biden several times now for claiming that the U.S. is spending $10 billion a month to Iraq while that nation is sitting on a $79 billion surplus. We wrote that the $79 billion figure was out of date because Iraq had since passed a $22.3 billion supplemental spending bill. Our criticism was based on a report from the Government Accountability Office. But we misread the report. The figure that Obama and Biden use is probably still too high,

McCain found at fault in 1960 Navy plane crash

We have updated our Ask FactCheck item on John McCain’s flying career to note new information uncovered by the Los Angeles Times. The newspaper found records of a Navy investigation into the crash of John McCain’s aircraft while he was in flight training in 1960. McCain and others have written that the plane went down in Corpus Christi Bay when the engine quit, but Navy investigators concluded that the engine was still running when the plane hit the water,

‘He Lied’ About Bill Ayers?

Summary
In a TV ad, McCain says Obama "lied" about his association with William Ayers, a former bomb-setting, anti-war radical from the 1960s and ’70s. We find McCain’s claim to be groundless. New details have recently come to light, but nothing Obama said previously has been shown to be false.
In a Web ad and in repeated attacks from the stump, McCain describes the two as associates, and Palin claims they "pal around" together.

World’s Nicest Nightmare

On MSNBC Wednesday morning, senior McCain advisor Nicolle Wallace said that John McCain won’t cut taxes for corporations, and that in fact he is “their worst nightmare.”

The quote is at about 5:10 in the above video, but if you rewind a bit, you’ll see host Joe Scarborough grilling Obama strategist Robert Gibbs on why Obama’s not proposing corporate tax cuts. Scarborough points out that other countries are reducing taxes on corporations and says that equivalent tax cuts are necessary to keep the U.S.

McCain, Palin and Rape Kits

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the pervasive rumor that Sarah Palin, when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, made women pay for their own forensic testing when reporting a rape. The verdict: This policy was enforced for at least some reported rapes in Wasilla, and in 2000, complaints about rape kit charges in Wasilla and other rural areas drove then-Gov. Tony Knowles to pass legislation requiring police departments to pay for the testing. The Wasilla police chief opposed the new state law and defended the practice,