A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

He Said, She Said in the NY-20

The latest dust-up in the special election campaign for New York’s 20th district House seat, which we’ve written about here and here, involves the National Republican Trust PAC. It’s a twisted tale.
We’ll start on March 13, when Politico.com’s Ben Smith reported that the National Republican Trust PAC was spending $190,000 to run an ad in the district attacking Democratic candidate Scott Murphy.

But on March 16, the Albany Times-Union reported that the ad had been pulled after running just twice.

Will Work for Small(ish) Businesses

In his remarks to small-business owners March 16 at the White House, President Obama repeated a statistic we’ve heard from both Democrats and Republicans. (Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin
used it this month
on "Fox News Sunday.")
Obama said small businesses are responsible for creating "roughly 70 percent of all new jobs in the past decade."
That stat is one put forth by the Small Business Administration. The SBA says that small businesses "have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade."

‘Blame Dodd’ Attacks Ignore Facts

Some Republicans have been quick to blame Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut for allowing big bonus payments to AIG executives. They get the facts backward. The public record shows Dodd authored an amendment that would have prevented “any bonus” being paid to top executives of firms getting bailout money …

AIG Campaign Donations

Q: Did AIG give $100,000 to Obama?
A: AIG employees gave $104,332 to Obama during the 2008 campaign, the most to any candidate. They also gave heavily to McCain, who was third on their list.

Education Spin

Last year, the president touted U.S. gains in education, saying that our “fourth- and eighth-graders achieved the highest math scores on record.” He bragged that “African-American and Hispanic students posted all-time highs.” Last week, the president said those eighth-graders weren’t so great at math after all …

Hold the Context

The latest ad from New York State Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco, a Republican, says that the Albany Times-Union and FactCheck.org have called Democratic challenger Scott Murphy’s advertising "unfair" and "false," respectively. The two men are vying for an open House seat representing New York’s 20th congressional district. The ad doesn’t specify which "attack" the Times-Union was calling "unfair," or which claim from Murphy’s advertising we called "false." Here are the details:
It’s true that we and the Times-Union called out the Murphy campaign for claiming that Tedisco wouldn’t say whether he supports caps on salaries for executives of companies receiving bailout money (he has said he supports the idea).

Obama’s Misleading Education Stat

We’ve noticed that in talking about education, politicians like to use statistics that show the U.S. is way behind other countries. That certainly makes it easier to tout whatever education policies the pols are pushing. But sometimes kids in the U.S. perform better than politicians make it sound.
Our colleagues at PolitiFact.com caught President Obama misleadingly claiming last week that “In eighth grade math, we’ve fallen to ninth place.” U.S. eighth graders are in ninth place,

First Salvo of 2012?

On Friday, the Democratic National Committee released an ad attacking Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina for not accepting $700 million in stimulus funds. Sanford is considered a potential Republican candidate for president in 2012.

The ad is correct to say that Sanford is "turning down millions in recovery act funds." Sanford has said that he would rather use the money available at his discretion through ARRA to pay down the state’s debt, and he requested a special waiver from the White House to do so.

U.S. Oil Reserves

Q: Are anti-drilling forces blocking access to the world’s largest oil reserve in the western U.S.?
A: The Bakken Formation touted in a chain e-mail isn’t the world’s largest oil reserve. The amount of oil it contains, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, is less than one one-hundredth of the estimate cited in the e-mail.

Picking a Big Game Fight

Back in September, we analyzed an ad from the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife that attacked Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin for "aerial hunting" of wolves. Though its facts were essentially correct, we pointed out that the Alaskan government called the hunting "predator control" and said its purpose was to keep the populations of moose and caribou high enough to sustain subsistence hunting.  A few weeks ago, we noted that the Defenders had brought back a similar ad.