A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

More Tax Deceptions

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

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


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

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.

Idealistic on Energy

Obama’s ad responding to McCain’s latest attacks on him includes the claim that his energy plan will "break the grip of foreign oil." We’re not sure what "break the grip" translates into in terms of cuts in U.S. oil imports, but we’re sure that Obama’s proposals don’t guarantee it.
The Democrats’ presumed nominee Barack Obama is fighting back against the latest negative ad from rival John McCain with an ad that attacks McCain for,

Obama’s Celebrity Cred


McCain's new ad claims that Obama "says he'll raise taxes on electricity." That's false. Obama says no such thing.
McCain relies on a single quote from Obama who once – and only once so far as we can find – suggested taxing "dirty energy," including coal and natural gas. That was in response to a reporter's suggestion that a tax on wind power could fund education. Obama isn't proposing any new tax on electricity or "dirty energy"

McCain Links Castro With Obama

The McCain campaign has been running an under-the-radar Web ad that shows photos of Fidel Castro and Barack Obama, and says, "Fidel Castro thinks he is ‘the most advanced candidate.’ "
In fact, the quote comes from an article by Castro that was largely critical of Obama. Castro also complained that Obama views the Cuban revolution as "anti-democratic" and that Obama makes the "exact same" arguments used by U.S. administrations "to justify their crimes against our country."

Snubbing Wounded Troops?

A new McCain ad says Obama "made time to go to the gym, but canceled a visit with wounded troops. Seems the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras."
McCain's facts are literally true, but his insinuation – that the visit was canceled because of the press ban or the desire for gym time – is false. In fact, Obama visited wounded troops earlier – without cameras or press – both in the U.S.

McCain’s Viagra Moment

Planned Parenthood is running a TV ad showing John McCain painfully groping for an answer to a reporter’s question: "It’s unfair that health insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control. Do you have an opinion on that?"
McCain had good reason to be flustered. The premise of the reporter’s question is a myth. We couldn’t find any data that show a disparity between health insurance companies that cover Viagra and those that cover birth control.

The Truth on Troop Support?

The McCain campaign is running a TV ad attacking Obama with statements that are literally true but paint an incomplete picture.
It says he "voted against funding our troops." He did – exactly once. Obama cast at least 10 votes for war-funding bills before voting against one last year, after Bush vetoed a version that contained a date for withdrawal from Iraq.
It says he "hasn’t been to Iraq for years." He was headed there at the time the ad was released,