A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

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’

McCain’s Small-Business Bunk

Summary
McCain has repeatedly claimed that Obama would raise tax rates for 23 million small-business owners. It’s a false and preposterously inflated figure.
We find that the overwhelming majority of those small-business owners would see no increase, because they earn too little to be affected. Obama’s tax proposal would raise rates only on couples making more than $250,000 or singles earning more than $200,000.
McCain argues that Obama’s proposed increase is a job-killer. He has a point.

A False Accusation About Energy

Summary
A new ad from the Republican National Committee claims Barack Obama proposes "no new solutions" for the energy and climate crises. In fact, the Illinois senator has proposed $150 billion in spending over 10 years for biofuels, plug-in hybrids, low-emission coal plants and the rapid commercialization of other new, clean energy technologies. The ad also recycles the misleading claim that Obama has said "no" to nuclear. Obama said he is open to nuclear if it is clean and safe.

Errors en Espanol

Summary
McCain’s new radio ad, in Spanish, aims to show Florida would benefit from the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which he supports. But every number in the ad is wrong, except one, a prediction of job gains taken from a group favoring the trade deal. And even that number is rounded upward so generously as to flunk third-grade arithmetic.
Analysis
Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, is a longtime advocate of free trade.

The $32,000 Question

Summary

The McCain campaign claims that Obama voted to raise income taxes on individuals who earn as little as $32,000 per year. That’s wrong.

The resolution Obama voted for would not have increased taxes on any single taxpayer making less than $41,500 per year in total income, or any couple making less than $83,000. The $32,000 figure is approximately the taxable income of a single person making $41,500 per year, after all deductions and exclusions.

Tax Tally Trickery

Summary
The McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee both claim that Obama has voted 94 times “for higher taxes.” We find that their count is padded. After looking at every one of the 94 votes that the RNC includes in its tally, we find:

Twenty-three were for measures that would have produced no tax increase at all; they were against proposed tax cuts.
Seven of the votes were in favor of measures that would have lowered taxes for many,

Obama’s Work Claim

Summary
Obama’s latest ad repeats an often-stated claim, saying he "worked his way through college and Harvard Law.” We know Obama took out loans to get himself through school. But the campaign at first provided information on just two jobs Obama had in those years, and they were both in the summer.
The ad also says he "passed a law to move people from welfare to work, slashed the rolls by 80 percent." Actually,

Distorting Obama

Summary

McCain released a Web ad that distorts Obama’s positions on clean-energy innovation and nuclear power.

The ad portrays Obama as saying "no" to energy "innovation" and to "the electric car." In fact, Obama proposed a $150 billion program of research into a wide variety of clean-energy technologies last year, long before McCain proposed to award a $300 million prize for developing a commercially viable battery package capable of powering automobiles.
The ad also has Obama saying "no"

Obama Polishes His Resume

Summary
Obama has released his first post-primary ad, a 60-second spot that’s airing in 18 battleground states. In effect, "Country I Love" is Obama’s first ad of the general election campaign, and as such it invites scrutiny. (FactCheck will address McCain’s first general election ads in a separate article.) We don’t find this ad egregiously misleading, but it paints a picture of Obama’s accomplishments that could leave viewers with a misimpression or two.