A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Scott’s Prisoner Release Plan?

The Florida Police Benevolent Association takes a half-baked proposal to an illogical conclusion in a new TV ad that invites Floridians to think that Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott wants to shutter state prisons and free hardened criminals.
The ad — “Rick Scott is Florida’s Worst Nightmare” — was released Sept. 27. It is based on Scott’s proposal to cut costs at Florida’s state prisons. On his campaign website, Scott says he can cut $1 billion from the prison budget by reducing labor,

Rep. Grayson Lowers the Bar

We thought Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida reached a low point when he falsely accused his opponent of being a draft dodger during the Vietnam War, and of not loving his country. But now Grayson has lowered the bar . . .

Sunday Replay

On this week’s Sunday talk shows, we found false claims on the debt, discretionary spending, foreign-funded attack ads and polling data.
Wrong on Debt
On ABC’s "This Week," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made a false claim about the federal debt — a claim that we debunked in January, when Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, made a similar statement. The debt situation has worsened since then, but not enough to make this GOP talking point true.

Social Security: (Mostly) in Their Own Words

Call it senior scare. In race after race, Democrats running for Congress are using their opponents’ criticisms of Social Security against them — sometimes accurately, and sometimes not: Rep. Steve Kagen’s ad accurately quotes Reid Ribble …

Who Killed Food Town?

In Ohio’s 9th Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur misrepresents the facts when she accuses her Republican rival, Rich Iott, of running Food Town supermarkets "straight into the ground" after taking over as CEO of the company from his father. Her ad attacks Iott for "closing neighborhood stores and costing 5,000 people their jobs." But Food Town thrived with Rich Iott as CEO, and the job losses occurred three years after the company was sold to a larger chain and Iott was no longer in charge.

NRCC’s Dim Ad on Bobby Bright

In a strained attempt to portray Democratic Rep. Bobby Bright of Alabama as a puppet of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the National Republican Congressional Committee makes an interesting claim: "Bobby Bright voted with Nancy Pelosi over 70 percent of the time." That’s entirely true, but context is everything: Bright’s low score ranks him next to last in party loyalty.

The ad, which first aired Sept. 12, is one of several released by the NRCC this week that use Pelosi as a foil.

Bush Years Revisited in Ohio Senate Race

In the Ohio Senate race, Democrat Lee Fisher’s first TV ad of the fall campaign misrepresents Republican Rob Portman’s years in the Bush administration:

The ad is wrong when it says Portman, as President George W. Bush’s "trade czar," was responsible for "sending 100,000 Ohio jobs overseas." The 100,000 lost jobs occurred over six years, from 2001 to 2007, but Portman was U.S. trade representative for only one year, from May 2005 to May 2006.
The ad also blames Portman,

AFSCME’s Big, Brazen Attack

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees is spending more than $1.5 million on ads that attack Republican congressional candidates in Michigan and Nevada. The big ad buy from the labor union also comes with some grandiose …

A Bitter Battle in the Bayou

The primary in Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District has turned exceptionally nasty in the final days, with the top two Republicans airing harsh attack ads against each other that contain false and misleading claims. Most notably, former state House …

Sunday Replay

This week’s look at the Sunday talk shows features former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich — who was found guilty Aug. 17 of making false statements to the FBI. He appeared on "Fox News Sunday" to discuss his trial. Did Blagojevich make any false statements to Fox host Chris Wallace? In our judgment, yes, more than one.

He claimed a key witness was given immunity, but he’s contradicted by multiple news accounts of that witness swearing under oath that he got no immunity.