A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Bogus Brazilian Oil Claims

Q: Did Obama loan $2 billion to Brazil’s oil company to benefit China and George Soros?
A: The president had nothing to do with the loan, which the Export-Import Bank approved for Brazil to buy U.S.-made equipment and services.

September 18, 2009

The president can pardon any person who has committed a federal crime, except in cases of impeachment, as outlined in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution.
Source: Annenberg Classroom

September 17, 2009

The 27th Amendment, preventing members of Congress from granting themselves pay raises during the current session, was introduced in 1789 by James Madison, but not ratified until 1992.

Source: Annenberg Classroom

Thirty Million Uninsured

One of the items we noted in our Sept. 10 wrap-up of President Barack Obama’s televised prime-time address to Congress was his carefully worded estimate of the number of uninsured citizens.

Obama, Sept. 9: There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage.

We said that Obama appeared to be underestimating the number of uninsured, even if we subtract the estimated 10 million uninsured who are not U.S. citizens. With the Census Bureau now reporting 46.3 million people without insurance,

How Many Protesters?

We’ve often observed an odd quirk in the behavior of political partisans; they tend to exaggerate even when they could make their point without doing so.
The most recent example is the weekend protest in Washington, D.C., at which a very large number of people turned out to criticize the Obama administration. Fox News reported that "tens of thousands" turned out, as did all major news outlets. The Washington, D.C., Fire Department put the number between 60,000 and 70,000,

Retraction: Health Insurance Market Concentration

Note: We are retracting one of our Sept. 10 criticisms of President Obama’s speech on health care. We said that he "overstated the degree of concentration in the insurance industry." We have continued to research the subject, and the following information turned up by our reporter D’Angelo Gore has led us to change our judgment. While the president may have overstated the findings of one study, we have now found others that show market concentration at least as severe as he described.

Chinese Flag

Q: Will the White House be flying the Chinese flag on Sept. 20 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China?

A: No. The flag will fly at the Ellipse, across the street from the White House. The Chinese flag has flown on White House grounds before, though only during "official" or "state" visits from Chinese leaders.

September 16, 2009

Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution allows Congress to determine when and how frequently it will meet. With the passage of the 20th Amendment, new sessions of Congress are required to begin at noon January 3 of each year.
Source: Annenberg Classroom

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Sept. 9 – Sept. 14

This week, readers sent us comments on illegal immigrants and health insurance, medical bankruptcies, and terminology in the abortion debate.
In the FactCheck Mailbag we feature some of the e-mail we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.

September 15, 2009

Vermont ratified the Constitution on Jan. 10, 1791, even though it had not yet become a state.
Source: Annenberg Classroom