A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Gillespie Twists the Facts on Bain Capital

A letter Bain Capital sent to its investors is now becoming a talking point for Mitt Romney surrogates. But once again the company letter, which boasts of Bain’s success, is being misrepresented — this time by Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign.

Gillespie claimed that “less than 5 percent” of Bain’s investments “ended up in bankruptcy.” But that’s what Bain claims occurred over its entire 28-year history. The Wall Street Journal reported that 22 percent of companies “Bain invested in while Mr.

Mandel’s Deceptive Defense Against Sen. Brown

The campaign of Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel of Ohio is fighting back against “negative ads” from Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown with one of its very own. But it’s one that makes several inaccurate claims:

The ad claims that Brown “gave huge bonuses to executives.” That’s not true. Brown actually voted to ban bonuses to top executives at companies that received bank bailout funds, but that prohibition was removed in House-Senate negotiations before the final stimulus bill became law.

Sununu Misfires on Bain ‘Jobs’ Claim

John H. Sununu, a top surrogate for Mitt Romney, wrongly claimed Bain Capital was “able to save jobs … about 80 percent of the time” at companies in which it had invested. Sununu was misreading or misrepresenting a Bain statement on revenues, not jobs.
Sununu, a former governor of New Hampshire and an early supporter of Romney, spoke to reporters May 22 on a conference call. When addressing Bain Capital, the private-equity investment firm founded by Romney,

Lemon-Picking Bain Capital, Obama-style

President Obama and a super PAC that supports him are stealing a page from Newt Gingrich and Ted Kennedy in running TV ads and web videos that slam Mitt Romney for his years at Bain Capital. And, like Gingrich and Kennedy before him, Obama is lemon-picking — that is, highlighting the venture capital firm’s failed businesses and ignoring its successful ones.
Both Obama and the super PAC Priorities USA Action spotlight two businesses — Ampad and GS Industries —

Soft Glove, Same GPS Fist

A new TV ad from Crossroads GPS features an actress playing a downcast mother of two jobless adult children. She says “things changed for the worse” after she supported Barack Obama for president. Her voice is soft, and so is the background music — but her situation is unlikely; her opinions are harsh; and her facts are one-sided and not always accurate.
This 60-second ad is the second in an announced $25 million campaign to soften up the president in key battleground states.

Spotlight On: John Heath

John Heath said he’s skeptical of claims that portray the government as incompetent.
So, he was suspicious of a recent Web video produced by Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin. The video depicts a program that subsidizes phone service for very low-income persons as a government giveaway that is costing taxpayers billions.
Heath, 28, uploaded the video to Spin Detectors. We found the video goes too far in its portrayal of the program, calling it “taxpayer funded” when it’s not,

Congressman’s Slippery Cell Phone Claim

A congressman’s Web video goes too far when it portrays a program that subsidizes cell phone service for very low-income persons as a government giveaway that is costing taxpayers billions.
The video also misleadingly claims Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin is “reforming” the program. His proposed legislation — the “Stop Taxpayer-Funded Cell Phones Act of 2011” — actually would eliminate the cell phone subsidy.
Griffin’s video focuses on Lifeline, a federally mandated program that reimburses phone companies with a monthly subsidy of $9.25 for each low-income customer who uses a landline or a cell phone.

Spinning Gov. Chris Christie’s Greatest Hits

A TV ad in support of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie supplies some misleading information about the governor’s record. The ad praises Christie and unnamed “reformers from both sides” for:

“Creating jobs.” But the state has added only 37,100 jobs since he took office in January 2010. New Jersey and national unemployment rates were identical (9.7 percent) when Christie became governor. The state’s unemployment rate is now 9.1 percent — a full percentage point higher than the national average and fifth highest among all states.