A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactChecking the GOP Response

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul made misleading or exaggerated claims in their responses to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Rubio claimed that the federal health care law was causing people to lose “the health insurance they were happy with,” but that glosses over the fact that 27 million uninsured Americans are expected to gain coverage. Paul claimed the federal government borrows “$50,000 every second,” but the true figure is about $30,000.

FactChecking Obama’s SOTU

President Obama put a rosy spin on several accomplishments of his administration in his 2013 State of the Union address. The president claimed that “both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion.” But that’s only an estimate of deficit reduction through fiscal year 2022, and it would be lower …

Rand Paul’s Bin Laden Claim Is ‘Urban Myth’

In two recent statements, Sen. Rand Paul made the unsubstantiated claim that the U.S. government once “armed” and “funded” Osama bin Laden. The CIA and several of its top officials deny that the U.S. ever recruited, trained, armed or funded bin Laden during the Afghan war over Soviet occupation in the 1980s. Bin Laden himself has denied it. …

Cherry-Picking Assault Weapons Ban Studies

On Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Managing Editor Lori Robertson talks about how both sides of the gun-control debate are selectively quoting from studies on the effectiveness of the 1994 assault weapons ban. The head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, claimed the studies found the ban “had no impact on lowering crime,” while Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said the ban did reduce crime. Both are wrong. The studies could not conclude that the ban was responsible for a national drop in gun violence,

Reid Twice Wrong on $2.6 Trillion ‘Cuts’

Sen. Harry Reid was doubly wrong when he claimed that Congress already has cut $2.6 trillion from projected future deficits by reducing “non-defense programs” alone.
In fact, legislation he refers to applied to both security and non-security spending. Furthermore, a good chunk of the deficit reduction came from tax increases, not spending cuts.
Reid made the claim — twice — on ABC’s “This Week” on Feb. 3, in support of his argument that further deficit reduction should include more tax increases and cuts in military spending.

Did Obama Flip-Flop on Gun Control?

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association, incorrectly claimed Obama pulled a bait-and-switch, promising during the campaign not to take away anyone’s guns, but now supporting an assault weapons ban. Obama is not now seeking to take away anyone’s existing guns, and he has for years consistently supported a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban.
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday” on Feb. 3, LaPierre was asked by host Chris Wallace what he made of the White House releasing a photo of President Obama skeet shooting at Camp David.

Proposed Weapons Ban Exempts Government Officials?

TheTeaParty.net falsely claims in an email that Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed assault weapons ban would exempt “all government officials” from the ban. While the bill would exempt military and law enforcement officials, it would not exempt legislators or administrative staff.
The email further misrepresents the proposed bill, claiming that “she [Feinstein] wants to take your handguns, rifles and other weapons away from you.” In fact, the proposal would grandfather in all of the existing weapons owned by Americans,

Did the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban Work?

Both sides in the gun debate are misusing academic reports on the impact of the 1994 assault weapons ban, cherry-picking portions out of context to suit their arguments.

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association, told a Senate committee that the “ban had no impact on lowering crime.” But the studies cited by LaPierre concluded that effects of the ban were “still unfolding” when it expired in 2004 and that it was “premature to make definitive assessments of the ban’s impact on gun violence.”