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Extras: Palin, Rubio, Apps and Chain E-mails

From time to time we come across bits of political malarkey or other items that don’t quite rate a full article. Starting today, we’ll collect these tidbits in a new, occasional feature we call "Extras."

Palin: "Who makes a decision like that?"

In a Nov. 6 appearance at a no-cameras-allowed fundraiser, Sarah Palin criticized moving the words "In God We Trust" onto the edges of some new $1 coins: "Who calls a shot like that? Who makes a decision like that ….?" she asked.

Answer: The changes were part of the Presidential $1 Coin Act approved by unanimous consent in the Senate and an overwhelming majority in the House, and signed into law by President Bush.

Audio of Palin’s remarks at a Wisconsin Right to Life fundraiser has been posted on YouTube by the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now. For more on the dollar coin, see our May 27 Ask FactCheck item, "Godless Dollars."

Rubio: What’s "not that big a deal"?

Former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio released a Web ad showing a series of gloomy statistics accompanied by dramatic music — "Florida’s unemployment: 10.7% … Almost 1 million Floridians are out of work … Record foreclosure rates … First population decline since World War II." The ad then cuts to Gov. Charlie Crist, Rubio’s opponent in the race for the state’s GOP nomination for a U.S. Senate seat. Crist says: "Well, it’s not that big a deal, to be honest with you."

In truth, however, the governor was responding to a specific question about the state’s population decrease, and not unemployment or foreclosure rates, as Rubio’s ad falsely implies.

Footnote: Rubio’s ad is a remake of one that then-candidate Barack Obama ran against GOP opponent John McCain last year. Independent blogger John Carmon found the similarities "shocking" and headlined his post, "Rubio Campaign Plagiarizes from Obama Campaign." For the record, we found that a similar Obama ad distorted McCain’s remarks just as Rubio distorted Crist’s.

An app for that

The National Republican Congressional Committee released a parody of the iconic iPhone commercials that mocks the size of the Democrats’ health care bills. The Web ad’s narrator says that "what’s great about the Democrat’s health care plan, is if you need to read it on your phone, there’s an app for that." But the iPhone just displays "loading," while the narrator says, "Seriously, just one moment. You’ll get all one thousand, nine hundred and ninety pages." Then, after a pause: "Well, this is embarrassing." The 30-second ad concludes without any document showing up.

This one is accurate. It did take us two or three minutes to download the full text of the House-passed bill on our own smartphone. But honestly, the bill is easier to read on a desktop computer.


Some bogus e-rumors never seem to die, despite our best efforts debunking chain e-mails and our "Hot Topics" section. Lately, readers are asking about:

  • A claim that members of Congress don’t pay into Social Security. That one is 25 years out of date. As we explained in 2007, House and Senate members have paid Social Security taxes since 1984.
  • Claims that the Obama administration is pushing federal legislation to force handgun owners to register their weapons, and to put a $50 tax on all firearms. But as we explained months ago, H.R. 45 has only one sponsor and is going nowhere, and Senate bill 2099 died more than eight years ago. Neither are endorsed by the White House.
  • An image of the Obamas dressed up in garish outfits, which we hadn’t addressed before. It is of course an obvious fake, and originated as an entry in a Web-based Photoshop contest last May. It’s similar to a gag image of a gun-toting Sarah Palin in an American flag bikini, a photo we tracked back to its source last year.