A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of March 15-21

This week, readers sent us comments about U.S. oil imports and the Wisconsin budget battle.
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.

Congressional Reform Act

Q: What about the "Congressional Reform Act of 2011"?
A: A viral e-mail calls for fixing some abuses and excesses that don’t exist, repeating misinformed claims that we’ve addressed before.

This Could Be You

Our “Spotlight” feature is designed to give credit to those who help us hold politicians accountable. So, watch this spot.
If you send us campaign materials that contain false or misleading information and we write about them, then we may write about you – with your permission, of course.
Click here for more information on how to be a Spin Detector. Thanks. And good luck!

Barbour Inflates Obama’s Job Losses

Haley Barbour grossly exaggerated the nation’s job losses under President Barack Obama in a March 14 speech in Chicago.
Speaking to the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Republican governor of Mississippi urged his audience to look at the Obama administration’s record "in the last two years" on spending and job creation.

Barbour, March 14: Well, let’s look at their record: in the last two years the federal government spent $7 trillion and our economy lost 7 million jobs.

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of March 8-14

This week, readers praised our article on Social Security and also sent comments about Rep. Ron Paul, unions, budget cuts and other readers’ comments.
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.

Obama, McConnell Take Oil Import Data for Spin

President Barack Obama and Sen. Mitch McConnell used the same data to score apparently conflicting points about U.S. dependency on foreign oil. Obama said oil imports account for less than half of consumption, while McConnell said 60 percent of our oil comes from abroad.
Both can claim to be correct, depending on how you interpret the data. But Obama was using the figure preferred by energy experts.
With gas prices rising, the United States’ dependence on imported oil is once again in the spotlight and has been the source of debate between the two parties in Washington.

Funding Mosques Overseas

Q: Is President Obama using tax dollars to rebuild mosques around the world?
A: Yes — and to rebuild historic churches and temples as well. The State Department’s program to preserve overseas cultural landmarks started funding projects under President Bush in 2001.

Reid’s Cowboy Poetry Puffery

Sen. Harry Reid vastly overstated annual attendance figures for the federally subsidized National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Nevada.
The Senate majority leader claimed that "tens of thousands of people" visited the annual event in Elko, Nev., "every year." He was speaking on the Senate floor March 8, defending federal funding for such events. But his claim was far from true.

The fact is that the event attracts between 6,000 and 8,000 people each year, according to Charlie Seemann,