A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Idealistic on Energy

Summary
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.
Analysis
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

Summary

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

Summary
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?

Summary
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

Summary
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?

Summary
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,

A Full Tank of Nonsense

Summary
McCain’s new ad accuses Obama of keeping gas prices high, all by himself. That’s absurd, and McCain knows it – he has said repeatedly that our current problems were "30 years in the making."
The ad also tells us that gas prices are high because "some in Washington are still saying no to drilling in America." Not true. The federal government’s estimate is that if the moratorium on offshore drilling were lifted today, it would be 2030 before we’d see a noticeable effect on supply and prices.

Questionable Quotes

Summary
Vets for Freedom, a group made up of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, launched a new ad this week that falsely attributes a quote to the Washington Post. The ad gives the impression that the Post was a critic of the surge in Iraq and is now admitting it was wrong. But the words the group uses are the views of the head of the CIA,

Straining a Point

Summary
Obama released a national ad saying he would "fast-track alternatives" to imported oil. On closer examination, his proposal is to spend $150 billion over the coming decade on energy research. Ten years doesn't sound all that "fast" to us, and there's no guarantee that the research will result in less oil being imported.
Analysis
Sen. Barack Obama's campaign released the ad and said it would run on national cable TV networks starting July 17.

AFL-CIO Falsely Attacks McCain

Summary

The AFL-CIO is attacking McCain with a TV spot saying he voted "against increasing health care benefits for veterans." Actually, he voted for increases in those benefits.
The labor federation points to McCain’s votes against Democratic proposals to increase funding. Those were defeated along party lines and were accompanied by alternative measures to increase benefits by smaller amounts, all of which passed unanimously or with near-unanimous majorities. McCain supported all of them.
The AFL-CIO also points to a McCain vote against a war spending supplemental appropriations measure from 2007 that included additional funding for veterans’