A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Dubious Health Savings Claim

Obama said that his health care plan would cut costs, saving $2,500 a year per family. When we asked health care experts about this claim earlier this year, they were quite skeptical. M.I.T.’s Jonathan Gruber told us, “I know zero credible evidence to support that conclusion.” Obama has also said on the campaign trail that more than half of the savings would come from the use of electronic health records, a major part of his plan to cut health costs.

Counting Errors

McCain said that Obama had voted 94 times for higher taxes or against tax cuts. He’s getting warmer — the first time we dinged him for this one, he said Obama voted 94 times to increase taxes, which is way off. This is still misleading, though. The real breakdown includes: 23 votes against tax cuts (which would have produced no increase in taxes); seven votes that would have lowered taxes for most people, but increased taxes on a few;

McCain’s $6.8 Billion Boast

McCain repeated a questionable boast when he said, “I saved the taxpayers $6.8 billion” by reining in a defense contract.
As we mentioned in our analysis of the first debate, there is more to the story. McCain certainly did lead a fight to kill the contract, and the effort ended in prison sentences for defense contractors. The contract is still up in the air, however, and questions have been raised about the role McCain played in helping a Boeing rival secure the new contract.

Earmark Numbers

Obama’s right about earmark amounts. According to the budget watchdog group, Taxpayers for Common Sense, earmarks totaled just $18.3 billion in 2008. Citizens Against Government Waste came in with a slightly smaller number of $17.2 billion, and the Office of Management and Budget smaller still at $16.9 billion.

The Return of the Oil Slick

McCain accused Obama of voting for a “Bush and Cheney” energy bill that gave away billions to oil companies. McCain is referring to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which Obama did in fact vote for. Sen. Clinton raised this same charge against Obama during the Democratic primaries. It was misleading then and it’s equally misleading now.
In fact, according to a Congressional Research Service report, more tax breaks were taken away from oil companies than were given. 

Obama Still Wrong about $79 Billion Figure

Again tonight Obama said that the U.S. was paying too much for the war in Iraq, while the Iraqis have a “$79 billion surplus.”
As we’ve pointed out when Obama said it on the campaign trail, when he repeated it at the last debate, and even when Biden mentioned the figure in the vice presidential debate, that number is wrong. The Iraqis actually “have” $29.4 billion in the bank. The Government Accountability Office projected in August that Iraq’s 2008 budget surplus could range anywhere from $38.2 billion to $50.3 billion,

Pakistan Attack

McCain charged that Obama has said he would “attack Pakistan.” What he really said, on Aug. 1, 2007, was: “It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”
As we noted in February, when Sen. Hillary Clinton criticized Obama for his remarks, that’s pretty much what the U.S.

‘Dishonorable’

Summary
A McCain-Palin ad calls Obama "dishonorable," while distorting his words and votes on troop funding.

It accuses him of saying "our troops in Afghanistan" are just bombing villages and killing civilians. What Obama said, in context, was a criticism of U.S. military strategy, and not of American troops.
It accuses Obama and "Congressional liberals" of voting repeatedly to cut off funding for troops, "increasing the risk on their lives." In fact, the votes were for bringing the troops home,

Obama’s Brother in Kenya

Q: Is Obama’s brother really dirt poor in Kenya and living on a dollar a day?
A: CNN tracked down George Obama, and he said that he was "brought up well" and "live[s] well now."

Vets for Freedom Exercise Freedom to Mislead

The right-leaning Vets for Freedom, in an effort to drum up support for a resolution heralding “the strategic success of the troop surge in Iraq,” released this ad Oct. 1 in California. The ad, which criticizes Sen. Barack Obama, represents a $2.2 million buy – the largest statewide airtime purchase by the organization to date:

But the ad is off on claims we’ve already addressed, and it’s misleading on a few new ones.
It claims that Obama “skipped 45 percent of Senate votes.”