A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Aug. 24-Aug. 30

This week, readers sent us comments about Social Security, health insurance premiums, deportation and party pedestals.
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.

Sunday Replay

On this week’s Sunday talk shows, we caught the education secretary making a greatly inflated claim about high-school dropouts. Plus, Florida lawmakers made exaggerated statements on tax cuts and support of environmental bills.
Too Cool for School
On ABC’s "This Week," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan greatly exaggerated the number of students leaving school every year:

Duncan: In this country, we have a 25 percent dropout rate. That’s 1.2 million students leaving our schools for the streets every single year.

Misdirection from Crossroads GPS

A group with ties to Karl Rove sends viewers astray in a $2 million ad campaign attacking Democratic Senate candidates in Pennsylvania, California and Kentucky. The ads make badly misleading claims about the health care legislation …

Reid, Angle Trade Familiar Charges

In Nevada’s Senate race, Republican Sharron Angle and Democrat Harry Reid began airing new commercials Aug. 26. Angle’s attack ad pictures Reid in a "love triangle" with President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and repeats some familiar but misleading claims.
Like Angle’s, Reid’s ad covers familiar ground. All of its claims are rooted in true statements or proposals. But Reid goes too far in one case. Angle did not say that "Medicare and Social Security violate the Ten Commandments."

Mosque Controversy, Stimulus Spin and Blagojevich

In episode 26, we answer readers’ questions on claims about the planned Islamic cultural center and mosque near ground zero. Plus, we document spin from both the vice president and the House GOP leader on stimulus spending, and we fact-check former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s appearance on Fox News.
 
For more on the stories discussed in this episode, see:
Questions About the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’  Aug. 26
Spinning the Stimulus  Aug. 24
Sunday Replay  Aug.

Questions About the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

Q: What are the facts about the proposed cultural center and mosque near New York’s former World Trade Center?
A: We answer questions we’ve been asked most often by readers about the controversial project.

A Bitter Battle in the Bayou

The primary in Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District has turned exceptionally nasty in the final days, with the top two Republicans airing harsh attack ads against each other that contain false and misleading claims. Most notably, former state House …

AFL-CIO

Large federation of labor unions is strongly Democratic.

What’s a ‘Small Business’?

Politicians often talk about "small businesses." But how small is a small business? Fifty employees? One hundred? Two hundred?
Actually, it’s often much more than that. The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy defines a small business as one with fewer than 500 employees. And that’s the standard politicians often use.
For example, President Barack Obama repeated a familiar claim on Aug. 19: that "small businesses … create two out of every three new jobs in this country."

Spinning the Stimulus

Vice President Joseph Biden and House Republican Leader John Boehner both put their partisan spin on the effects of the administration’s economic stimulus spending. But Biden exaggerated, and Boehner got it wrong, according to a report issued later in the day by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Upbeat Biden; Downbeat Boehner
Biden gave a relentlessly upbeat speech in Washington, D.C., declaring that the administration’s "investment" was planting "seeds" of future economic prosperity;