A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Whoppers of 2012, Final Edition

With only days to go until Election Day 2012, we look here at the most egregiously false and misleading claims from the entire presidential campaign. Some examples …

Spotlight On: Allen Stenger

Allen Stenger’s rule of thumb is that “statements by politicians about numbers are always wrong.”
That’s not always the case, of course, but he gave us a good example: A recent mailer from New Mexico’s Republican Party claimed that “New Mexico workers have a jobs problem.” But the flier refers to the national unemployment rate, which has been worse than New Mexico’s.
“I’m active in the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce, so I knew that a mailer claiming New Mexico workers have a job problem because the unemployment rate was above 8% had to be wrong,”

Republican Mailers Mislead in New Mexico

New Mexico’s Republican Party misleads in two mailers attacking the state’s Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, two-term Rep. Martin Heinrich.

One mailer states that “New Mexico workers have a jobs problem.” But the state’s unemployment rate is 6.4 percent, well below the national rate, or the 8 percent figure the flier displays.
Another flier claims that Heinrich voted for the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for “everyone.” Heinrich actually supported a bill that preserved the tax cuts for everyone except high-income taxpayers.

New Obama Ad Repeats Old Distortions

A new Obama campaign ad repeats old distortions in a homestretch appeal to voters.

The ad claims Romney would make “catastrophic cuts to education,” but the ad cites an editorial that says Romney has promised to cut discretionary spending — not necessarily education.
The ad repeats the claim that Romney’s tax plan includes a massive tax cut for millionaires “while middle class families pay more.” Romney insists he won’t do that. The ad cites an analysis by the Tax Policy Center,

Romney Distorts Facts on Jeep, Auto Bailout

Mitt Romney falsely claimed in a recent speech that “Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China.” Chrysler says it is considering adding Jeep production sites in China to address rising demand in that market. But the company says it is “a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats” to suggest that it would close U.S. facilities and move all operations to China.
Despite Chrysler’s admonition,

DCCC’s Troop Pay Deception

Republican Rep. Jeff Denham of California is suing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee over an ad accusing him of turning his back on pay for troops while voting to guarantee his own pay. We find the ad’s claims to be distorted and misleading.

The ad says Denham “voted against a measure to guarantee our troops would still receive their pay” had the government shut down in 2011 during the debt-ceiling showdown. Actually, Denham voted in favor of a Republican troop-funding bill,

Benghazi Timeline

The question won’t go away: Did President Obama and administration officials mislead the public when they initially claimed that the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi began “spontaneously” in response to …

State Amendment Scare Tactics

In a TV ad to Michigan voters, a group goes too far when it claims a proposed state constitutional amendment to protect union rights “would eliminate safety rules for school bus drivers.”
The ad also fails to tell the whole story when it claims the amendment “could prohibit schools from removing employees with criminal records.”
The 3-page ballot measure contains a provision stating that no existing or future state law “shall abridge, impair or limit” a public employee union’s rights to negotiate wages,

Romney All Wet on Ships

The Romney campaign is moving full steam ahead with a new radio ad that repeats a misleading debate claim by Romney that the size of the Navy’s fleet is the smallest it has been since 1917. The number of ships is actually up a bit since 2007 under President George W. Bush.
Moreover, Navy officials say it’s silly to compare the size of the fleet in 1917 with that of today, because the mission and capabilities of today’s nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines are vastly different than that of the gunboats and coal-powered dreadnaughts of 1917,