A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

The ‘Class Act’ E-mail

Q: Was Bush’s exit from office a “Class Act” compared with Clinton’s?
A: A widely forwarded e-mail contains some false and exaggerated claims, along with some truths. It also contains made-up headlines about Obama.

AIG Bailout

Q: Did Congress bail out AIG because it insures members’ pensions?
A: This widely e-mailed claim is a hoax. It actually was the Federal Reserve that bailed out AIG, not Congress. And federal pensions aren’t insured by AIG or any other company.

Mining the Minnesota Recount

Republican incumbent Norm Coleman headed into the Minnesota U.S. Senate recount leading Democratic challenger Al Franken by more than 200 votes. But on Jan. 5, the state Canvassing Board certified recount results showing Franken received 225 more votes than Coleman in the general election, out of nearly 2.9 million votes …

Unreported Stats

Q: What’s the deal with Prof. Joseph Olson’s “unreported stats” from the 2008 election?
A: This chain e-mail is a hoax. The “statistics” are grossly incorrect, and Prof. Olson says he didn’t write it.

Obama’s Gun Ban?

Q: Did Obama promise last year to ban all semi-automatic guns during his first year as president?
A: A widely circulated e-mail quoting Obama is baseless and almost certainly fabricated. He does support reinstatement of the expired "assault weapons ban" but isn’t calling for a wider ban on all semi-automatic weapons. He said repeatedly during the campaign, "I am not going to take your guns away."

Virginia’s Military Absentee Ballots

Q: Was the deadline for absentee ballots from military members extended in Virginia?
A: A hearing is scheduled Dec. 8 to decide whether Virginia election officials should count absentee ballots that arrived late. In response to a lawsuit filed before Election Day by John McCain’s campaign, a judge had ordered officials to keep such ballots until the matter was resolved.

Obama Soft on Crime?

With a handful of days to go before Election Day, the Republican Federal Committee of Pennsylvania is going after Sen. Barack Obama with a mailer that claims the presidential nominee has “a record of being soft on crime.” Luckily, our fellow fact-checkers at PolitiFact.com are all over this one. According to PolitiFact, the mailer (also being distributed in Florida) “cherry-picks a few choice examples and conveniently ignores evidence that contradicts its conclusions.”
For example, the mailer says that Obama is “against tougher penalties for street gangs,”

‘Lying’ About Being Liberal?

Summary
A McCain-Palin ad claims Obama was rated the "most liberal" U.S. senator, which was true only for 2007 but not for his entire Senate career. He was rated 10th and 16th in his two previous years.
The ad also misquotes Obama. It says he defended himself against the "most liberal" rating by saying "they’re not telling the truth" and "folks are lying." Actually, Obama said McCain and Palin weren’t truthful about the "Bridge to Nowhere,"

Obama’s ‘Economic Advisers’

Q: Are three former Fannie Mae executives "economic advisers" to Obama?
A: No, claims made in a chain e-mail are false. Jim Johnson advised on non-economic matters but quit after a week. Franklin Raines says he took a "couple of calls" but was never an adviser. We find no evidence Tim Howard ever had a connection to the Obama campaign.

Obama’s Connection to Raines

Before the McCain-Palin campaign tried to link Sen. Barack Obama with political heavyweights in Chicago, the campaign claimed that Obama was being advised on the economy by Franklin Raines, former Fannie Mae CEO.
In an ad titled “Advice,” the McCain campaign makes the claim that “Obama has no background in economics.” Then it asks the question, “Who advises him?” The answer, according to the ad: “The Post says it’s Franklin Raines, for ‘advice on mortgage and housing policy.’