A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

At It Again

The conservative 60 Plus Association is attacking Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio by dredging up old exaggerations we’ve seen plenty of times before. The claims about the health care law are starting to sound like a broken record: The group claims it’s a “health care takeover” (false) and that it “cuts $500 billion from Medicare” (misleading). This also isn’t the first time the group has gone after Brown with misleading material.

Why the Truth Still Matters

Editor’s note: A version of this opinion piece by our director, Brooks Jackson, first appeared on the website of the United Kingdom’s Guardian newspaper under the headline “Fact-checking the truthiness of the 2012 campaign” and is re-posted here with permission.
Let’s face it, voters love to hear falsehoods.
Mitt Romney proclaims that President Obama’s health care law is a “federal takeover of the U.S. health care system,” and his supporters approve. Obama’s people nodded in agreement when the president said “if you like your health care plan,

The Obamas’ Law Licenses

Q: Did Barack and Michelle Obama “surrender” their law licenses to avoid ethics charges?
A: No. A court official confirms that no public disciplinary proceeding has ever been brought against either of them, contrary to a false Internet rumor. By voluntarily inactivating their licenses, they avoid a requirement to take continuing education classes and pay hundreds of dollars in annual fees. Both could practice law again if they chose to do so.

Dueling Distortions in North Carolina

It didn’t take long for the governor’s race in North Carolina to turn ugly. Although it’s only June, Republican Pat McCrory and Democrat Walter Dalton both find themselves under attack from outside groups spending heavily on misleading TV ads:

A Democratic group claims McCrory, a former mayor of Charlotte, “used his position as mayor to lobby state government for millions in tax breaks” for a company that paid him “over $140,000 to sit on its board.”

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of June 5-11

This week, readers sent us letters about President Obama’s role in federal government spending in 2009, and Mitt Romney’s performance as governor of Massachusetts.
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.

Spinning Romney’s Debt

An ad from the Obama campaign claims Massachusetts ranked No. 1 in state debt per person when Mitt Romney was governor. It’s true, but there’s less there than meets the eye. Massachusetts has historically been a high-debt state. Massachusetts has ranked either first or second in debt per capita in each of the past 11 years. It was second when Romney took office, not a far leap to first place. One could even argue that Romney slowed the growth rate of long-term debt compared with the four years before he took office.

Premium Hype

Both Republicans and the Obama administration have pushed misleading claims on what impact the federal health care law has on insurance premiums.
For more on this issue, see “Misleading on Premiums” from March 26.

Romney’s Jobs Record Is Best (or Worst)

A campaign ad that praises Mitt Romney’s performance as governor of Massachusetts presents a slanted view of his record on jobs, unemployment and taxes. To every claim, there is a “yes, but” qualifier.

The Romney ad claims that as governor, “Romney had the best jobs record in a decade.” Yes — Massachusetts added more net jobs during Romney’s four years in office than during the four-year period of either his predecessor or successor. But — that ignores the national recessions before and after Romney’s time in office.

Is GM Becoming ‘China Motors’?

Q: Is General Motors becoming ‘China Motors’ using taxpayer dollars?
A: No. The restructured GM is still based in Detroit and is still one-third owned by the U.S. government. But it sells nearly as many cars in China as in the U.S. and has continued expanding operations there.