A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactChecking McCain

Summary
We checked the accuracy of McCain’s speech accepting the Republican nomination and noted the following:

McCain claimed that Obama’s health care plan would "force small businesses to cut jobs" and would put "a bureaucrat … between you and your doctor." In fact, the plan exempts small businesses, and those who have insurance now could keep the coverage they have.
McCain attacked Obama for voting for "corporate welfare" for oil companies. In fact, the bill Obama voted for raised taxes on oil companies by $300 million over 11 years while providing $5.8 billion in subsidies for renewable energy,

McCain’s Plane Crashes

Q: Did McCain crash five planes? Did he cause the 1967 Forrestal fire?
A: No. Chain e-mails and Internet postings that make that claim are mistaken. One crash was found to be his fault, but the Navy commended his piloting skills.

FactChecking Obama

Summary
We checked the accuracy of Obama’s speech accepting the Democratic nomination, and noted the following:

Obama said he could “pay for every dime” of his spending and tax cut proposals “by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens.” That’s wrong – his proposed tax increases on upper-income individuals are key components of paying for his program, as well. And his plan, like McCain’s, would leave the U.S. facing big budget deficits, according to independent experts.

Obama and the “Christian Nation” Quote

Q: Did Obama say we "are no longer a Christian nation"?
A: He said we are no longer "just" a Christian nation, but a nation of many other faiths as well. A chain e-mail drops that key word and thus changes the meaning.

Pelosi and T. Boone Pickens

Q: Is Nancy Pelosi heavily invested in T. Boone Pickens' alternative energy company?
A: No, but her husband bought stock in Clean Energy Fuels Corp. last year. It amounted to a tiny fraction of the couple's assets.

Saddleback Bloopers

 
Summary
At a nationally televised forum at a mega-church in Southern California, we found these misrepresentations:

Obama claimed that "I worked with John McCain" on ethics legislation. In fact, the two worked together for barely a week, after which McCain accused Obama of "partisan posturing" and added, "I won’t make the same mistake again." McCain later voted against the ethics bill that Obama supported, stating that it was written by Democrats with "no input"

The Truth About Tire Pressure

 
Summary
We are issuing a split decision in the Obama vs. McCain dispute over whether proper tire inflation could save as much oil as expanded offshore drilling is likely to produce.
We find that proper tire inflation could save more than a billion gallons of fuel per year and do it several years sooner than expanded drilling could produce a single drop. McCain has exaggerated by representing Obama’s suggestion as a silly notion or implying that it constitutes his entire energy policy.

More Tax Deceptions

Summary
McCain released three new ads with multiple false and misleading claims about Obama's tax proposals.

A TV spot claims Obama once voted for a tax increase "on people making just $42,000 a year." That's true for a single taxpayer, who would have seen a tax increase of $15 for the year – if the measure had been enacted. But the ad shows a woman with two children, and as a single mother, she would not have been affected unless she made more than $62,150.

Obama Quote Rumors

Q: Did Obama urge supporters to help him change "the greatest nation in the history of the world"?
A: No. Obama never said what’s being attributed to him in a number of chain e-mail messages. The line was meant as a joke about John McCain, Hillary Clinton and politicians in general.

Obama’s Overstatement

Summary

Obama released a TV spot saying McCain’s campaign got $2 million from "Big Oil" while McCain proposed "another $4 billion in tax breaks" for the industry.
The truth is that McCain’s campaign has received $1.33 million from individuals employed in the oil and gas industry, not $2 million. Obama himself has received nearly $400,000, according to the most authoritative figures available. We find the $2 million figure is based on a mistaken calculation.