A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

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.
 

McCain’s Power Outage

Summary

McCain has spent the week focusing on energy policy, making some surprising, and inaccurate, statements.
Among them:

He said that ending a moratorium on offshore oil drilling "would be very helpful in the short term in resolving our energy crisis." But according to a government report, offshore oil wouldn’t have much of an impact on supply or prices until 2030. Update, June 24: At a town hall event on June 23, McCain didn’t claim that offshore drilling would lower prices in the short term,

Obama’s Lame Claim About McCain’s Money

Summary

Obama announced he would become the first presidential candidate since 1972 to rely totally on private donations for his general election campaign, opting out of the system of public financing and spending limits that was put in place after the Watergate scandal.
One reason, he said, is that "John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs."
We find that to be a large exaggeration and a lame excuse.

Obama’s Inflated Health ‘Savings’

Summary

Obama says his health care plan will garner large savings – $120 billion a year, or $2,500 per family – with more than half coming from the use of electronic health records. And he says he’ll make that happen in his first term. We find his statements to be overly optimistic, misleading and, to some extent, contradicted by one of his own advisers. And it masks the true cost of his plan to cover millions of Americans who now have no health insurance.