A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Spotlight On: Hugh Haines


Hugh “Spike” Haines said his math background can explain why he gets so angry during the political debates and television ads.

“Things don’t add up,” the 74-year-old said. “I was a math major. And the thing that disturbs me is the lack of facts.”

Haines, who said he’s a registered Republican, recently cast his mathematical gaze on statements made by Republican Congressman Dan Lungren of California, whose congressional district is just outside Haines’ hometown of Sacramento.

Haines said he’s suspicious of Republicans who take on social issues like abortion instead of job creation. So, he sent Lungren’s comments on the birth control mandate to Spin Detectors.

We looked at Lungren’s claim that the contraception mandate will cause health insurance premiums to rise. And that led us to President Barack Obama’s statement that contraception coverage is “cost neutral” for insurance companies. We found plenty of evidence, but it’s often conflicting — and ultimately inconclusive.

Haines said he’d rather see the politicians focusing on what he believes to be more pressing issues.

“To focus on things like birth control and that kind of stuff just really strikes me as dumb,” he said.

Haines said he worked in the aerospace industry before being in charge of information systems for California’s prison system. He retired in 1997. Besides bass fishing and playing pool, Haines likes to pass along political chain emails to FactCheck.org.

“One of the big things I’d like to see is some bipartisanship, the realization that [the economy] is affecting everybody,” Haines said. “I’d like to see them sit down and work something out. But all you see is stonewalling.”

–by Ben Finley

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