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FactCheck Wins Three Webby Awards

FactCheck.org sweeps both the Webby Award and People’s Voice Webby Award in the politics category. FactCheckED.org wins the People’s Voice Webby Award in the education category.

Gunning for Obama

A mailer sent from Clinton’s campaign to the homes of selected Indiana voters just before the Democratic primary goes after Obama for allegedly shifting his position on guns to suit his audience. The mailer’s not outright wrong in any of its statements. But the facts muddy the picture.

Running on Fumes

Summary
Late-inning ads by both Clinton and Obama in the run-up to the Democratic primaries in Indiana and North Carolina focus on Clinton’s gas tax holiday proposal. But the ads are also misleading.

Clinton’s ad claims motorists would save $8 billion during her summer "holiday," not mentioning that no economists agree with her. She herself didn’t name one when asked in a weekend tv interview.

Obama’s ad accuses Clinton of "pandering" to voters, then ticks through the elements of his plan —

Gas Price Fixes That Won’t

Hillary Clinton and John McCain are offering overburdened motorists a federal “gasoline tax holiday.” But economists say that the proposal is unlikely to actually lower the price of gasoline. McCain’s plan would essentially give federal funds to oil refineries, while the net effect of Clinton’s plan probably wouldn’t be much at all, although it would create a lot of new administrative work.

McCain’s $5,000 Promise

McCain says in a new TV ad: “Let’s give every American family a $5,000 refundable tax credit” to buy health insurance. Sounds good. But McCain failed to mention how existing employer-sponsored health benefits would be affected.

DNC vs. McCain

Summary

The Democratic National Committee has produced two TV ads against McCain, hoping to soften him up while the party figures out who its own presidential nominee will be.

One ad shows selected portions of McCain’s comments that a 100-year U.S. presence in Iraq would be "fine with me." The ad uses dramatic images of war and violence, and omits any mention that McCain was speaking of a peaceful presence like that in Japan or Korea.

“Reprehensible Misrepresentation”

Summary
Conservative activist Floyd G. Brown, who had a hand in the 1988 "Willie Horton" attack ad, is seeking funds to show a new spot accusing Obama of being "weak" on Chicago gang killers in 2001 and suggesting he’d be weak on terrorism, too.  Brown bases the claim on Obama’s vote against a bill to make gang killers automatically eligible for the death penalty.
 
We find that the ad misses the mark. The anti-gang activist who sponsored the death-penalty bill tells FactCheck.org that she doesn’t consider Obama weak on crime despite his opposition to her proposal.

PAC-ing Heat

Summary

In their most recent TV ads Clinton and Obama attempt to convince Pennsylvania voters that the other is financed by lobbyists and special interests. Both ads miss the mark.

Clinton’s ad accuses Obama of insincerely promising to accept no money from PACs and current lobbyists for his presidential campaign. But she cites money he took years ago as a candidate for the Illinois state Senate and U.S. Senate, before he swore off such funds.

Misleading Pennsylvania Voters

Summary

Clinton and Obama twisted facts unmercifully as they strained to make Pennsylvania voters believe the other is offering a flawed health care plan.

An anti-Obama ad by a pro-Clinton group says her plan would "help every American" and implies his would not. In fact, Obama proposes to offer subsidized coverage, just as Clinton does.
An Obama TV ad claimed his plan would save families more money than Clinton’s, but one independent expert sees "zero credible evidence"

Giving Till They’re Blue?

Summary

It’s not uncommon for GOP candidates to accuse each other of not being Republican enough. But the fight is ordinarily over issues, such as tax cuts. In Pennsylvania, two House candidates are instead attacking each other for sending money behind enemy lines. The ads they’ve launched provide a good lesson in how politicians can mislead voters even with accurate numbers.

Chris Hackett accuses his opponent of having "a long history of supporting liberal Democrats."