A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Closing Arguments: Obama

The Obama-Biden campaign’s closing arguments have included some oft-repeated but still unlikely promises. Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, meanwhile, served up some new misleading claims in the waning days of the campaign. We examine their final pitch to voters in another article, “Closing Arguments: McCain.” Here we take one last look at Sen. Barack Obama’s claims.

Closing Arguments: McCain

With just hours remaining before Election Day, both the Obama-Biden and McCain-Palin campaigns are making their final pitch for your votes. Sen. Barack Obama hopes to hold off a late-inning McCain rally by repeating several unlikely promises, which we examine in another article, “Closing Arguments: Obama.” Meanwhile, hoping to prove the pollsters wrong, John McCain and Sarah Palin flog some new attempts to cast doubt on Obama’s character; one concerns a seven-year-old interview and another, a five-year-old video.

The Whoppers of 2008 — The Sequel

Summary
The last five weeks have brought so many ads we feel like we’re drinking from a fire hose – and we’ll bet you’re pretty saturated, too.
Since our first “Whoppers of 2008” piece, we’ve seen some of the same themes repeated. McCain’s campaign doesn’t tire of distorting Obama’s tax plan, it seems, and in the process has whipped up at least 15 minutes of fame for sudden star Joe the Plumber. Obama continues trying to pull seniors into his camp by making deceptive claims about what McCain would do to Social Security,

Same Old Claims in Another Language

Summary
The presidential campaigns and third-party groups have been bilingual throughout the election, targeting Spanish-speaking voters with some misleading and false ads. Among the recent TV spots:

A McCain-Palin ad tries to paint Obama as a "riesgo" (risk), falsely claiming that his health care plan would require small businesses to cover their employees. But Obama’s plan explicitly exempts small businesses from this requirement, and an adviser has said the threshold "would almost certainly be higher than ten"

More Social Security Bunk

Summary
Democrats celebrated Halloween early this year, trying to spook voters with the political boogeyman of risking Social Security in the stock market. Since October 1, we have found 58 ads from Democrats and their allies attacking their Republican House and Senate opponents on the issue. They mislead in several ways:

They say benefits would have been "risked in the stock market." While that’s true for younger workers, current beneficiaries wouldn’t have been eligible for private accounts under the plan President Bush supported.

A License to Kill

Summary
An upstart group calling itself the "National Republican Trust PAC" mixes a pile of false claims and the image of 9/11 mastermind Mohammed Atta to create one of the sleaziest false TV ads of the campaign.

The spot falsely claims Obama has a "plan" to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. In fact, Obama has said quite specifically, "I am not proposing that that’s what we do."
The ad implies such licenses would enable terrorist attacks.

‘Unethical?’

Summary
An ad released jointly by the McCain-Palin campaign and the RNC claims Obama "rewards his friends with your tax dollars" and calls his actions "unethical." Some of what the ad says is false or misleading. Here are the facts:

The ad claims that Obama supporter and Chicago real estate developer Allison Davis received $20 million in taxpayer money. That’s false. Davis didn’t get this money. Instead, the federal grant went to the Chicago Housing Authority,

Spread the Tax Hooey!

Summary

Republicans are misrepresenting Obama's tax proposals right down to the bitter end. New radio ads from the McCain campaign and a TV spot from the pro-Republican group Let Freedom Ring are targeting voters nationwide with some of the same tax deceptions we've been hearing all fall, rolled in a bundle and flung through the airwaves. One of the radio ads features Hank Williams Jr., the other Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. But new packaging doesn't make the charges any less false. 

Right Change Is Wrong

Summary

A conservative group called RightChange.com has spent $3 million running ads that largely criticize Obama and his tax plans. They’re false: 

Two ads say Obama would tax "small businesses" at a rate of "62 percent." He wouldn’t. That number is an inflated estimate of the very top tax rate, and it doesn’t represent what Obama has proposed.
That false figure includes an increased Social Security tax rate that Obama doesn’t support, plus the state income tax rate paid by people making more than a million dollars a year in California.

Body Armor Claim: Still False and Nasty

Summary
The liberal group VoteVets.org is running an ad claiming that Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole "voted against giving our troops" life-saving body armor.
It’s a slightly revised version of an ad the same group ran against four GOP senators in the 2006 election. The claim was false and nasty then, and it’s false and nasty now.
The truth is that there was never a vote to deny body armor to troops, period. Neither of the two funding measures Vote Vets now cites in support of its claim mention body armor specifically,