A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

The Rifle Association’s ‘True Story’

Summary
The National Rifle Association’s misleading attacks on Obama continue. A new ad shows a terrified woman grabbing a gun after an intruder smashes his way into her home. It accuses Obama of voting repeatedly for a measure that would "make you the criminal" in such cases, and voting to "deny citizens the right of self-protection."
The NRA says the incident depicted is "a true story." Not quite.

The actual 2003 burglary didn’t involve a woman,

Court Fight in the Heart of Dixie

Summary
Alabama holds the distinction of having had the nation’s most expensive Supreme Court races, with $54 million spent from 1993 through 2006. This year’s battle for an open seat on the bench seems likely to sustain the pattern, with heaps of cash being thrown down for ads and a tone that has turned ugly.
The attacks in the Alabama campaign have been a departure from what we’ve seen in high court races in most states this year,

$700 Billion Blame Game

Summary
We find House and Senate campaigns are taking liberties with the facts as they seek to assign blame for the nation’s financial mess.

A Democratic ad in Kentucky accuses Republican Senate Leader McConnell of conduct bordering on the criminal, but falsely accuses him of taking $4.4 million from "big banks."
A Republican ad in Pennsylvania claims Democratic House member Kanjorski sponsored a bill to "slash oversight" and "banks made millions." In fact, the bill never made it out of committee.

Obama’s False Medicare Claim

Summary
In a TV ad and in speeches, Obama is making bogus claims that McCain plans to cut $880 billion from Medicare spending and to reduce benefits.

A TV spot says McCain’s plan requires "cuts in benefits, eligibility or both."
Obama said in a speech that McCain plans "cuts" that would force seniors to "pay more for your drugs, receive fewer services, and get lower quality care."
Update, Oct. 21: A second Obama ad claims that McCain’s plan would bring about a 22 percent cut in benefits,

ACORN Accusations

Summary
The McCain-Palin campaign accuses ACORN, a community activist group that operates nationwide, of perpetrating "massive voter fraud." It says Obama has “long and deep” ties to the group. We find both claims to be exaggerated. But we also find Obama has understated the extent of his work with the group.

Neither ACORN nor its employees have been found guilty of, or even charged with, casting fraudulent votes. What a McCain-Palin Web ad calls "voter fraud"

Obama’s ‘Welfare’

Summary
The McCain campaign has taken to denigrating some of Obama’s tax proposals as "welfare" rather than tax cuts. And it continues to mislead about who would see a tax increase.

A new McCain-Palin Web ad characterizes Obama’s proposed refundable tax credits as "welfare." But McCain himself proposes refundable tax credits, too, as part of his health care plan, and calls them "reform."
The ad also says "hard-working families" and "seniors" would pay higher taxes.

Unions Mislead on Health Care

Summary
Two labor unions are running ads falsely characterizing McCain’s health care plan.

A United Auto Workers spot features a woman who claims she’d pay up to $2,800 more in taxes. That’s a bogus figure, based on a false assumption about what McCain is actually proposing. She and families like hers would actually come out money ahead.
A Service Employees International Union ad claims McCain’s plan would "deny coverage for preexisting conditions like cancer."

FactChecking Debate No. 3

Summary
Spin and hype were apparent, once again, at the third and final debate between McCain and Obama:

McCain claimed the liberal group ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history … maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” In fact, a Republican prosecutor said of the biggest ACORN fraud case to date: “[T]his scheme was not intended to permit illegal voting.” He said $8-an-hour workers turned in made-up voter registration forms rather than doing what ACORN paid them to do.

Health Care Spin

Summary
McCain and Obama have sharply different health care plans, and each has made sharply worded attacks that are either false or misleading. McCain proposes a market-based system that relies on tax incentives, which one Obama ad falsely characterizes as the "largest middle-class tax increase in history." Obama proposes new subsidies to expand private insurance coverage and some expansion of government insurance, which McCain falsely claims "will rob 50 million employees of their health coverage."

‘Lying’ About Being Liberal?

Summary
A McCain-Palin ad claims Obama was rated the "most liberal" U.S. senator, which was true only for 2007 but not for his entire Senate career. He was rated 10th and 16th in his two previous years.
The ad also misquotes Obama. It says he defended himself against the "most liberal" rating by saying "they’re not telling the truth" and "folks are lying." Actually, Obama said McCain and Palin weren’t truthful about the "Bridge to Nowhere,"