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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of June 26-July 2

This week, readers sent us letters about claims that Mitt Romney outsourced jobs at Bain Capital, the pay gap between men and women, and whether Americans will be able to keep their current health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

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.


Opinions on Outsourcing Article

Isn’t this a bit of hair-splitting on your part [“FactCheck to Obama Camp: Your Complaint is All Wet,” July 2]? If Romney was still the owner of Bain [Capital], he has to take responsibility for what the company did during his leave of absence. Anyway, do you really think the company would have taken actions that they believed their owner would have disapproved? He set the tone. Maybe he’s not wearing a black hat, but it isn’t white either.

Dave Miller
Issaquah, Wash.

I remain puzzled. I suggest that a man who owns a company, but relinquishes control over it in favor of running the Olympics, is someone I would regard with skepticism. I work for about 15 hours a day as an attorney and my work is never circumscribed. Romney’s contention of not focusing on Bain is as silly as me telling a client “that he will have my undivided attentions” when the office burns down the next day.

It may be all true. He may have put Bain on the back burner. But I cannot imagine owning a business and letting others run it, while I went off into a “sports jag” no matter how admirable.

Did he lie? I do not know. No one does. Do people lie? Yes. Was Bain actually more important to him than the Olympics? I do not know.

Love the story, but was he really so busy that he could not have a vacation, celebrate his anniversary, or enjoin his wife’s unsteady heath, or run a business he owned — all in favor of the Olympics that he was busy reading up on? I do not know the truth, but “priorities” are invaluable for an Executive. So, if all is taken as true, should he be our Chief Executive — President of the United States? This job is too big for someone who is so simply distracted by sports.

Anderson Jonas
San Francisco, Calif.


Sorry, FactCheck’s arguments appear even weaker than you claim the Obama camp’s are. “Romney said… ,” historically has never been much proof of a truth-making reference. Your interpretations are very literal and from a one-sided point of view. Just because the Obama camp chose to interpret them differently does not make FactCheck right and the Obama camp wrong. Or lying. Or wet. Two Cadillacs could be driven through some of the holes in your arguments, e.g., “leaving the day-to-day management” to someone else does not say to me that Romney was out of the business at Bain.

Richard Rowlands
Saco, Maine


This should prove once and for all that FactCheck is not biased or slanted in any way toward political sides. FactCheck is indeed just reporting the TRUTH. It’s more and more important that we hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire. Lying in politics is no longer an option. It’s un-American to “say anything” to get elected.

Vicki Bauer
Athens, Ga.


Playing Down the Pay Gap?

I take issue with Brooks Jackson’s article [“Obama’s 77-cent Exaggeration,” June 22]. FactCheck.org is right to point out that there are problems with this figure and how it is presented, but Mr. Jackson chooses to minimize the pay gap issue and focus instead on his perception that the ad “implies that discrimination by employers is responsible for the difference.” Notably, the Obama campaign ad mentioned neither discrimination nor the role of employers, choosing instead to adopt the neutral terms of “fairness” and “unfairness.” The problem with the figure is, as Mr. Jackson states, that it is based on the median income of women as a group, “not for women ‘doing the same work,’ or even necessarily working the same number of hours.” However, it is not fair of Mr. Jackson to state that “the fact that women’s annual earnings are 77 percent of men’s isn’t all or even mostly due to discrimination.” Perhaps not overt employer discrimination, but subtle, societally-based discrimination is discrimination all the same.

Madeleine Stevens
Philadelphia, Pa.


Keeping Your Current Health Insurance

I have received your newsletters for years and very much value the work that you do. But I think you may be misleading people with one part of your look at Romney and Obama responses to the [Supreme Court’s] Affordable Care Act decision [“Romney, Obama Uphold Health Care Falsehoods,” June 28].

You quote Obama saying: “If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance. This law will only make it more secure and more affordable.” And then you clarify: “The CBO has estimated that at least a few million Americans with employer-based insurance will in fact not be able to keep their current plans, and there’s nothing in the law that would prohibit employers from switching health care plans, just as they could before the law was passed.”  Exactly: “… just as they could before.”

The first two years I was in my present job, my employer switched plans every six months, trying to find a better deal. Employers have always had that option — and the option to drop health insurance coverage for employees altogether. The ACA requires more employers over a certain size to offer health coverage, penalizes those that don’t and guarantees that those with pre-existing conditions will be able to continue some form of coverage even if they, or their employers, decide to switch plans. What Obama was talking about were changes in the relationship between the individual and the insurance company, not between the employer and the insurance company, or between the employer and the employee. No, the ACA does not guarantee that everyone will keep the SAME insurance they have now, but it reduces the risk that individuals will lose insurance coverage altogether. In that sense, Obama is correct. It’s a meaningful distinction.

Jim Emerson
Seattle, Wash.