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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

You Ask, We Answer

That’s the idea behind our Ask FactCheck feature on themain site.

This week, we looked into a suspicious quote allegedly from President-elect Barack Obama, speaking about urgent gun policy changes. The reader who sent it to us wasn’t convinced it was legitimate, and our reporting showed it was almost certainly a fabrication. The quote claims Obama told a "VPC Fund Raiser" in 2007 that "[i]n the first year, I intend to work with Congress on a national no carry law, 1 gun a month purchase limits, and bans on all semi-automatic guns," among other pronouncements. We contacted two organizations that could be the "VPC" in question, and they told us Obama didn’t speak to them at all. We even checked the prepared remarks and news reports on a talk Obama gave at a Vernon Park Church of God in Chicago, but we still came up empty.

As for Obama’s actual positions on gun control policies, you can read all about them on his Web site. He has said clearly that he backs reinstating the "assault weapons ban," which expired in 2004, but we found no instance of him advocating for a ban on all semi-automatic weapons as a presidential candidate. He made a point of telling gun owners several times on the campaign trail, "I am not going to take your guns away."

See our full Ask FactCheck for more on this likely bogus quote and Obama’s real remarks on guns.

Separately, we offered a tip for readers looking to bookmark reliable sites that show the U.S. government’s revenue and expenditures, deficit and debt. Check out the Congressional Budget Office for a wealth of information on the budget, including deficit forecasts for several years down the road. The Bureau of the Public Debt — part of the Treasury Dept. — is the best place to check the total outstanding debt, on a daily, and depressing, basis. If you’re into that sort of thing.