A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Romney vs. Santorum: A Misleading Contrast

Pro-Romney forces are looking beyond Michigan, hammering Rick Santorum in four other states with a new TV ad making some misleading claims.

The ad claims Mitt Romney turned around Massachusetts’ finances without raising taxes, when in fact he raised hundreds of millions in new government “fees” when he was governor.
It also rehashes a boast that Romney issued 800 vetoes, but fails to mention that more than 700 were overridden.
It attacks former Sen. Santorum for “voting for billions in waste,”

Gunning Down the Truth in Michigan

With Rick Santorum polling well in Mitt Romney’s birth state, a high-stakes TV shootout has broken out in Michigan. But some shots are off the mark. An amusing Santorum ad features a Romney look-alike machine-gunning mud at a cardboard cutout of Santorum. But …

Obama’s Trillion-Dollar Exaggeration

President Obama has repeatedly and falsely claimed that “right now, we’re scheduled to spend nearly $1 trillion more” in tax cuts for the “wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.” That’s simply not true. The Bush tax cuts — which Obama and Congress extended for two years — expire at the end of this year, so any plans to “spend” beyond Dec. 31, 2012, would require Congress to act again.
The White House told us that the president is referring to the $968 billion that “we save”

Another Bogus ‘New Taxes’ Claim

It didn’t take long after President Obama released his latest budget for the oil lobby to pick up the misleading cry that it’s being targeted for “new taxes.” That’s mostly not true. Energy Tomorrow, a project of the American Petroleum Institute, ran a print ad in Washington, D.C.’s Politico Feb. 14 asking, “Guess who’ll pay for new energy taxes?”
The problem with that rhetorical question is that most of the “new taxes” are actually a proposed end to some old tax breaks —

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Feb. 7-13

This week, readers sent us compliments about our fact-checking and some criticism for using “loaded” words.
In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the email we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.

Hoekstra’s Baseless Jobs Claim

Pete Hoekstra, a former Michigan congressman running for Senate, falsely claims in a TV ad that President Obama’s stimulus “lost 2.6 million more jobs.” Since the stimulus became law on Feb. 17, 2009, the U.S. has lost about 428,000 jobs, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says job losses would have been more severe during the recession without the stimulus.
Hoekstra left Congress in 2011 after running unsuccessfully for governor of Michigan in 2010. Now, he hopes to capture the Republican nomination for Senate and run against Democratic Sen.

What’s the ‘Real’ Jobless Rate?

As the Obama administration basked in the news that the unemployment rate in January dipped to a three-year low of 8.3 percent, Republicans Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich threw a wet blanket on the announcement. Romney said the “real unemployment rate” was actually 15 percent, and Gingrich said that when you include people who have simply given up on trying to find a job, the rate “jumps up to about 12 percent.”
Is the unemployment rate not the real unemployment rate?

Chamber Misuses Report, Misleads Voters

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims in a TV ad that the Congressional Budget Office says unemployment “could top 9 percent in 2013.” Maybe so, if Congress doesn’t change current law — specifically if it fails to extend tax cuts, fails to patch the Alternative Minimum Tax that threatens to raise taxes on more than 31 million Americans, and also allows big spending cuts to take effect. But CBO also said that wasn’t a prediction of the future.

Wind Spin

The wind-power lobby is spinning the facts in a $1.4-million TV ad campaign aimed at extending a lucrative tax break worth billions to the industry. Its ads claim that Congress is “threatening new taxes” targeting wind power, which isn’t true. No “new taxes” are envisioned. Instead, Congress is …