A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Distorting McCain’s Remarks

Summary
Obama’s campaign is running a TV ad in Indiana that asks the question: "How can John McCain fix the economy, when he doesn’t think it’s broken?" But the ad uses quotes from McCain that are old and taken out of context:

The ad shows McCain saying, "I don’t believe we’re headed into a recession." But McCain said that in January, and he also acknowledged at the time that the American economy was in "a rough patch."

Saddleback Bloopers

 
Summary
At a nationally televised forum at a mega-church in Southern California, we found these misrepresentations:

Obama claimed that "I worked with John McCain" on ethics legislation. In fact, the two worked together for barely a week, after which McCain accused Obama of "partisan posturing" and added, "I won’t make the same mistake again." McCain later voted against the ethics bill that Obama supported, stating that it was written by Democrats with "no input"

Distorting the DHL Deal

Summary

Ads from the AFL-CIO and the Obama campaign claim that McCain is partly to blame for the loss of more than 8,000 jobs in Ohio. They paint a false picture.
There's at least some truth in both ads: German-based DHL announced a deal that could result in 8,200 lost jobs in Wilmington, Ohio. And McCain did in fact oppose an amendment that would have kept DHL from buying Wilmington-based Airborne Express. McCain's campaign manager,

The Truth About Tire Pressure

 
Summary
We are issuing a split decision in the Obama vs. McCain dispute over whether proper tire inflation could save as much oil as expanded offshore drilling is likely to produce.
We find that proper tire inflation could save more than a billion gallons of fuel per year and do it several years sooner than expanded drilling could produce a single drop. McCain has exaggerated by representing Obama’s suggestion as a silly notion or implying that it constitutes his entire energy policy.

Waste Worries

Summary
An Obama ad running in Nevada accuses McCain of favoring storage of waste from nuclear power plants at Yucca Mountain, which is the government plan, while not wanting the waste shipped through his home state of Arizona. The ad uses a clip of a 2007 interview of McCain, in which he responds, "No, I would not," when asked whether he’d be comfortable with having the waste travel through Phoenix on its way to Nevada.

Not Pictured Here

 
Summary
An Obama ad features video of McCain walking toward the camera with a group of people in power suits, as the narrator says, "the lobbyists, running his low road campaign." None of the people pictured are lobbyists, however.
The ad also repeats a misleading claim that McCain favors "billions in tax breaks for big oil and drug companies." But McCain’s tax policy doesn’t target those industries. He calls for lowering the corporate tax rate for all companies.

More Tax Deceptions

Summary
McCain released three new ads with multiple false and misleading claims about Obama's tax proposals.

A TV spot claims Obama once voted for a tax increase "on people making just $42,000 a year." That's true for a single taxpayer, who would have seen a tax increase of $15 for the year – if the measure had been enacted. But the ad shows a woman with two children, and as a single mother, she would not have been affected unless she made more than $62,150.

Wind Power Puffery

Summary
A McCain ad shows pictures of wind-driven turbines while the narrator says: "Renewable energy to transform our economy, create jobs and energy independence, that's John McCain." But, in fact, his energy plan doesn't specify any new federal spending for renewable energy and says only that he'd "rationalize" existing tax credits to provide incentives. In the past, however, he's opposed extending such tax credits when paid for by tax increases elsewhere.
The ad also insinuates that Obama would bring "higher taxes"

Obama’s Overstatement

Summary

Obama released a TV spot saying McCain’s campaign got $2 million from "Big Oil" while McCain proposed "another $4 billion in tax breaks" for the industry.
The truth is that McCain’s campaign has received $1.33 million from individuals employed in the oil and gas industry, not $2 million. Obama himself has received nearly $400,000, according to the most authoritative figures available. We find the $2 million figure is based on a mistaken calculation.

Bluegrass Gasoline Blues

Summary
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is running an ad blaming his opponent for contributing to high gasoline prices in the state. We find that’s a big exaggeration. At most, prices are 12.1 cents per gallon higher as a result of the 1980 tax change that was favored by Democratic candidate Bruce Lunsford. That’s less than 3 percent of gas prices today, and actually less than the rise in general inflation since 1980.