A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

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.

Soft on Iran

Summary

John McCain is attacking Barack Obama’s opposition to the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which (among other things) called for labeling Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. McCain claims that Obama’s opposition means that he also opposed calling the IRGC terrorists. We find otherwise. 

Obama cosponsored an earlier bill that also called for designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization.
The Kyl-Lieberman amendment did more than just label the IRGC terrorists. Obama stated at the time that he opposed the bill on the grounds that it constituted "saber-rattling."

Katrina Kerfuffle

Summary
McCain was asked by a New Orleans reporter why he voted twice against an independent commission to investigate the government’s failings before and after Hurricane Katrina, and he incorrectly stated that he had "voted for every investigation."
 
McCain actually voted twice, in 2005 and 2006, to defeat a Democratic amendment that would have set up an independent commission along the lines of the 9/11 Commission. At the time of the second vote,

Clinton Spins Her Donors

The debt-strapped Clinton campaign is appealing for money with an e-mail telling potential donors that polls “consistently” show she would beat McCain in November, and that she’s leading Obama in the popular vote. We find both claims are misleading. A number of recent polls actually show Clinton tied with McCain, or even trailing. For most of 2008, polls have shown McCain ahead.

Nonsense in New Mexico

Rep. Steve Pearce’s campaign and an independent anti-abortion group both have attacked Rep. Heather Wilson in the hotly contested race to be the Republican nominee for an open New Mexico Senate seat. But Pearce and the group run afoul of the facts. A mailer from Pearce claims that Wilson “voted for cloning that would create human embryos specifically to be destroyed for scientific research.” Actually, she voted to make it illegal to clone humans for reproductive purposes; the bill did not address embryos to be used for research, as anti-abortion groups wanted. It’s simply false to say she voted for som

Garden State Growth

Summary
The presidential candidates aren't the only ones with election woes. New Jersey's Democratic Senate primary is slated for June 3, and both incumbent Sen. Frank Lautenberg and his challenger, U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, are letting loose:

An Andrews ad claims an editorial described Lautenberg as "doing nothing" in the midst of rising oil and food prices. The editorial actually hauls the entire New Jersey congressional delegation– including Andrews – on the carpet for not bringing enough of New Jersey residents'

The Budget According to McCain: Part II

In our last installment we looked at McCain’s pronouncements on spending cuts to help balance the budget. In Part II, we examine what he’s said on a subject that might be more pleasing to many Americans: lowering taxes. We found exaggerations and distortions here, as well.

The Budget According to McCain: Part I

McCain’s big promise is that he can balance the budget while extending Bush’s tax cuts and adding a few of his own. He likes to leave the impression that this can be done painlessly, for example, by eliminating “wasteful” spending in the form of “earmarks” that lawmakers like to tuck into spending bills to finance home-state projects. We found that not only is this theory full of holes, it’s not even McCain’s actual plan. In this story we examine the spending-cut side of McCain’s budget program. In Part II, we’ll look at what McCain has said about taxes.

Mudslinging in Mississippi

Accuracy apparently hasn’t been the top priority of the groups flinging ads onto the airwaves in Mississippi’s 1st congressional district, where voters will pick a new House member in a special election on Tuesday. Here’s what we found in this preview of the tone and types of tactics we might expect to see in other races later this year