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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Oct. 19-Oct. 25

This week, readers sent us comments about Harry Reid’s record, the FairTax, vote caging and robocalls.

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.

We Wish You’d Write the Ads

After reading your analysis "Tall Tax Tales" [Oct. 22] I am wondering if Mr. Reid’s voting record would be all that politically palatable even if the ad were re-worded to address your concerns. For example, you could legitimately say the following:

1. Senator Reid voted for legislation that would raise taxes 51 times.

2. Senator Reid voted against tax cuts for the American people 86 times.

3. Senator Reid expressed his views on taxation by voting 153 times in favor of non-binding resolutions supporting raising taxes.

Even if we toss out the dupes, is this really better? My thought is that sometimes political ads exaggerate when the truth would serve them better.

Mark Bourn
Burnsville, Minn.


FairTax Accusations

In your check into the 23% sales tax supported by several Republicans ["Sales Tax Spin," Oct. 20], you dismiss their support as not being genuine, and thus contend it isn’t a legitimate target for Democrats. However, I would argue that if the Republican candidates are "suggesting" support for the fair tax, or flat tax or any alternative to our progressive income tax and thus winning support from some conservative and libertarian voters, they also should be willing to lose the support of those against such a change to a regressive tax system. Condemning the Democrats as being disingeuous is a long shot here. The public is knowledgable enough on this issue to realize that the fair tax is a version of a sales tax, regardless of the subsidy and they need to know if their candidates support or even like it or not. Democrats are being straight up on this issue and letting people know they are against it while some Republicans are supporting this tax system which will hit the middle and low income earners the hardest. Your article clouds that basic point.

Roger Becker
Edgartown, Mass.

You criticize Democrats and their supporters over ads against Republican support for a national sales tax. Your analysis is lacking. Even with cash rebates, this proposal would result in a humongous tax break for the wealthiest in our society and a tax increase for the poorest working Americans. I think the Democrats do themselves a disservice by failing to mention this, but their failure does not really mislead as much as you suggest. Can I suggest you add a little depth to your analysis?

Jim Brentar
Cleveland, Ohio

FactCheck.org responds: You may be interested in our 2007 article "Unspinning the FairTax."


Too Cagey on Vote Caging

In your analysis of the race between Elliott and Griffin ["Who’s Bearing ‘False Witness’ in Arkansas?," Oct. 20], you say Griffin did participate in vote caging, but there is no evidence it was illegal. All you have to do is check the areas targeted. If they are predominently minority, it’s illegal. So demand Griffin and the RNC release their caging lists and see where they targeted. If they won’t, then Elliott is justified in the accusation.

In any event, legal or not, Griffin was guilty of a shameful act in removing deployed military personel from voter rolls.

Your statement that no charges were filed was disingenuous. George W. Bush was president. What in the world leads you to think he would push charges against those supporting him for election? Consider the attorney general scandal you reference. The entire voter fraud campaign was fraudulent, and was shown to be so long ago. You are obligated to confirm your claims as much as the candidates are.

Where you claim Elliott’s points are arguable, it is legitimate to say what you believe to be true. Especially when there is evidence, though not enough to convict, to support it.

Bob Klahn
Sylvania, Ohio


Last Word on Foreign Money

I have no problem with what you reported regarding foreign money ["Foreign Money? Really?," Oct. 11]. At the same time it is money that eventually ends up in one big pot and while it may not go directly to U.S. politics, it does allow the organization to spend money on U.S. politics that it would not have spent without the ability to utilize foreign money for other expenses.

Tom Becker
Leawood, Kan.


Resist the Robocall Invasion

I got a robocall from Sharron Angle (Tea Party, Nevada) and hung up. Then I called her campaign offices and informed them that ANY politician who calls me that way, loses my vote! If we all did this, every time, maybe they’d stop? (I also hang up on any other form of robocall. And advise them I won’t tolerate them. Being on the "Do Not Call" List has not been any help at all!)

As for Ms. Angle, she wasn’t going to get my vote anyhow. She’s crazy as an outhouse rat! I’ve been waiting only forever for a competent, valid female candidate for Senator or President. Haven’t seen one yet.

Nikoli A."Penny" McCracken
Fallon, Nev.

FactCheck.org responds: According to the Federal Trade Commission, the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most telemarketing calls, but not those on behalf of political organizations, charities, polls and surveys. They are exempt from the legislation.