A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Lazy Rhetoric

Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney both claim President Barack Obama said that “Americans are lazy.” He didn’t. To the contrary, Obama has consistently and repeatedly praised American workers as the “most productive in the world,” a bit of boosterism he has repeated dozens of times. His recent words — “we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades” — actually referred to collective efforts to promote foreign investment in the U.S.,

Pat Boone Misleads Seniors

The same old claims about the federal health care law turn up once again in an ad featuring pop and gospel singer Pat Boone, the national spokesman for the conservative 60 Plus Association.
The group says it’s spending $750,000 to air the minute-long ad in Ohio, and the spot had already aired 459 times as of Nov. 14, according to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. It attacks Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, with Boone telling viewers to call Brown and “urge him to support real Medicare reform and protect our seniors.”

Wasserman Schultz Manufactures Jobs Figure

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz wrongly claimed that the U.S. has begun to add “millions of jobs in manufacturing.” About 800,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost during President Obama’s time in office, reaching a low of about 11.5 million in December 2009. Since then, about 303,000 manufacturing jobs have been created — not “millions.” At the current pace, the country will not return to the pre-Obama manufacturing job level until August 2016.
Wasserman Schultz, the head of the Democratic National Committee,

The Fall TV Season’s Senate Air Wars

The November elections are still nearly a year away, but the TV air wars over Senate seats have officially begun in earnest. The balance of power is up for grabs, and outside groups are pouring millions into ads attacking candidates in key Senate races. The biggest plays have come from Crossroads GPS …

Super PAC Polishes Huntsman’s Resume

A super PAC backing Jon Huntsman for president makes three misleading or false claims in a TV ad now running in New Hampshire:

The group, which calls itself Our Destiny, suggests President Obama is to blame for a volatile stock market — saying “the stock market is a wreck,” even though the Dow Jones is up more than 50 percent since Obama took office in January 2009.
The ad boasts that Huntsman is “consistently conservative,” citing an op-ed in the Boston Globe.

South Carolina Debate

We found several exaggerations and misstatements in the latest Republican presidential candidates’ debate.

Romney issued a hollow threat to take China’s currency manipulation to a world body that doesn’t actually deal with overvalued money, and he claimed federal spending consumes more of the nation’s economic output than it really does.
Gingrich overstated U.S. aid to Egypt by a factor of two, and he claimed Obama repudiated former president Mubarak “overnight,” when in fact the president took seven days before he publicly urged Mubarak to begin an “orderly transition”

We Repeat, Still a Christmas Tree

Q: Will the Obamas do away with the White House Christmas tree?
A: No. This zombie rumor first appeared in 2009 and was proved false. It is still false today.

CNBC Debate: Slim Pickings for FactCheckers

The latest debate among Republican candidates for president was a tame affair that produced few factual claims needing correction. Candidates stuck mostly to promises and expressions of their conservative faith in free markets, and their disdain for government.
The debate was held Nov. 9 at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., and included eight candidates: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov.

Boehner’s Big Stretch on Small Business

House Speaker John Boehner claimed that “small-business people” make up more than half of those who would be hit by a tax increase on “millionaires.” Not really. Only 13 percent of those making over $1 million get even as much as one-fourth of that income from small business, according to government tax experts.
Old Exaggerations
Republicans have for years greatly exaggerated the extent to which higher taxes on upper-income individuals would fall on owners of small businesses.