A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

What’s in a Number?

On April 20, President Barack Obama caused a bit of a splash when he gathered members of his Cabinet and directed them to cut (collectively) $100 million in expenses within the next 90 days. Now that sounds like a lot of money. And we’re not ones to complain about cutting costs when the Congressional Budget Office estimated the deficit to be $1.2 trillion in 2009 alone — and that was before accounting for the cost of the stimulus bill.

May 7, 2009

Mexico was the United States’ third-leading trading partner in 2008, with $367.5 billion worth of goods traded between the two countries.
Source: Census Bureau

May 6, 2009

In 2007, 29.2 million U.S. residents were of Mexican origin. That’s 10 percent of the total U.S. population and 64 percent of the Hispanic population.
Source: Census Bureau

May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican army’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Source: Census Bureau

Did Obama Misquote Churchill?

In the New York Times‘ "Caucus" blog today, Kate Phillips offers a well-documented and thorough analysis of a lingering controversy: Did Winston Churchill really say about torture what President Obama says he did?
There has been considerable back-and-forth elsewhere regarding this passage in the president’s "100 days" news conference:

Obama, April 29: I was struck by an article that I was reading the other day, talking about the fact that the British during World War II,

H.R. 1388 Passed ‘Behind Our Backs?’

Q: Was H.R. 1388 passed “behind our backs”?
A: This latest e-rumor is a double-header. It recycles one false claim and alludes to another. We’ve debunked both before.

May 4, 2009

Half of single-race Asians 25 and older in the U.S. had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2007, compared with 28 percent for all Americans in that age group.
Source: Census Bureau

May 3, 2009

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, containing about 650 miles of bookshelves.
Source: Library of Congress

May 2, 2009

The Asian population in the U.S. grew by 2.9 percent between 2006 and 2007, when it totaled 15.2 million residents.
Source: Census Bureau

Fantasy Jobs?

At President Obama’s April 29 news conference, he claimed that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has "already saved or created over 150,000 jobs." Wait a minute. Isn’t the number of jobs actually plummeting?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy lost more than 1.3 million jobs in the two months after he took office, and it has probably lost at least another half-million in April. The day after Obama spoke, the Department of Labor announced that another 631,000 workers (seasonally adjusted) had filed new claims for unemployment insurance the previous week.