A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of June 29 – July 6

This week, readers sent us kudos for what we do, questions about sorting out conflicting health care claims, complaints about our coverage of President Obama’s citizenship, and inquiries about political fundraising.

July 7, 2009

President Gerald Ford was born Leslie Lynch King Jr. in 1913. His name wasn’t legally changed to Gerald R. Ford until 1935.
Source: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum

Same Inaccurate Claim on Oil Imports

In a July 6 interview with Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, President Obama repeated his false claim that the U.S. “import[s] more oil today than ever before.” When Obama first said this in February during an address to a joint-session of Congress, we wrote that the president had gotten his facts wrong. We said then that oil imports peaked in 2005 and have “substantially” declined since.

That’s still the case. This chart from the U.S. Energy Information Administration,

July 6, 2009

In July 1776, an estimated 2.5 million people lived in the United States.

Source: Census Bureau

July 5, 2009

At 26, Edward Rutledge of South Carolina was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, age 70, was the oldest signer.
Source: Independence Hall Association

ACLU and Cemetery Crosses

Q: Is the ACLU suing to have cross-shaped headstones removed from military cemeteries?
A: The ACLU has filed no such suit, and it hasn’t sued to "end prayer from the military" either.

July 4, 2009

In 2007, $4.7 million worth of American flags were imported by the United States, the vast majority of that amount ($4.3 million) from China. The U.S. exported $2.4 million in U.S. flags that year, with half going to Mexico.
Source: Census Bureau

July 3, 2009

There is a greater than 1 in 4 chance that hot dogs and pork sausages served at picnics this weekend in the U.S. originated in Iowa.
Source: Census Bureau

What’s in a Number?

The National Republican Congressional Committee has released a new ad attacking Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello of Virginia for voting with "(Barack) Obama and Nancy Pelosi" for the Waxman-Markey energy bill. It’s part of a broader effort to target several Democratic members.

The ad says the bill will result in lost jobs and cost "middle class families" $1,870 a year. That sounds pretty dire, until you consider that this week we posted an item about the Office of the Republican Whip Eric Cantor’s claim that the same bill would "impose a national energy tax of up to $3,100."

July 2, 2009

As of opening day this year, 25 percent of players in Major League Baseball were from Latin American countries.
Source: National Baseball Hall of Fame