A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

The Momentary “No”

The third-party group Committee for Truth in Politics has released an ad accusing Sen. Barack Obama of favoring early release for sexual offenders. We like the group’s name — hey, that’s what we’re all about! But we find it pretty misleading in the case of this ad, which includes a gross oversight on a 1999 vote. The end result is absurdly wrong.
Here’s the script of the ad (we couldn’t find a version of the video that would run properly on our site,

Obama’s ‘Economic Advisers’

Q: Are three former Fannie Mae executives "economic advisers" to Obama?
A: No, claims made in a chain e-mail are false. Jim Johnson advised on non-economic matters but quit after a week. Franklin Raines says he took a "couple of calls" but was never an adviser. We find no evidence Tim Howard ever had a connection to the Obama campaign.

FactChecking Debate No. 2

Summary

McCain and Obama debated for the second time, in Nashville. We noted some misleading statements and mangled facts:

McCain proposed to write down the amount owed by over-mortgaged homeowners and claimed the idea as his own: “It’s my proposal, it’s not Sen. Obama’s proposal, it’s not President Bush’s proposal.” But the idea isn’t new. Obama had endorsed something similar two weeks earlier, and authority for the treasury secretary to grant such relief was included in the recently passed $700 billion financial rescue package.

FactChecking Debate No. 2

We published several tidbits here on The Wire during last night’s presidential debate. Our full article contains a few more misleading statements and falsehoods that we needed a little more time to research. Check it out on our main site:
FactChecking Debate No. 2
October 8, 2008 
Nonsense in Nashville

Sadly, Mostly True

Summary
On the eve of their second presidential debate, McCain and Obama released TV ads accusing one another of untruthful attacks. Both are essentially accurate, though each tells only half the story.
McCain’s ad cites Obama spots that have falsely accused him of supporting a 50 percent cut in Social Security benefits, that twisted his words about deregulating health insurance markets and that falsely accused him of opposing stem-cell research.
Obama’s ad says McCain is resorting to "smears that have been proven false."

Oversimplifying the Fiscal Crisis

It’s finger-pointing time again, with each candidates blaming the other for the financial crisis. McCain called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the “catalyst” for the crisis and blamed Obama for failing to sign on to a bill to rein in the FMs. Obama countered that it’s a culture of deregulation and lack of oversight that caused the problem.
We’ve been here before. Both candidates have a point: Democrats really have fought regulation of the FMs and McCain has in fact been in favor of deregulation.

Big Spender?

McCain once again attacked Obama for proposing new spending, putting the figure at more than $860 billion. But at the same time, McCain himself began the debate by proposing a new spending program, to buy up troubled mortgages directly from homeowners and replace them with 30-year loans guaranteed by the government. McCain’s campaign e-mailed reporters with the following cost estimate:

McCain press release: The direct cost of this plan would be roughly $300 billion because the purchase of mortgages would relieve homeowners of “negative equity”

More on that $860 billion

McCain said that Obama has proposed $860 billion in new spending. That’s based on a McCain campaign estimate of how much Obama’s new proposals will cost, without figuring in any savings or reductions in spending. Any increase in funding and any created program counts as “new spending” in this estimate, whether or not it is offset by decreases in spending elsewhere. A more traditional, and arguably more useful, measure of spending is how much a given candidate’s proposals will increase the federal deficit.

Health Care Fines for Small Businesses?

McCain said that Obama’s health care plan would mandate that “small businesses” provide coverage for their employees and would fine them if they failed to do so. Actually, Obama’s health care plan, posted on his Web site, says: “Small businesses will be exempt from this requirement.” McCain previously used this charge in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

Obama 68 Million Acre Boast

Obama was off the mark when he said that oil companies have “68 million acres that they’re not using.”
As we’ve pointed out previously, those 68 million acres of land are not producing oil, but they are not necessarily untouched. In fact, in 2006, the last year for which figures are available, there were a total of more than 15,000 holes that were being proposed, started or finished. These acres of land that these holes sit on are not counted as being “producing,”