A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

World’s Nicest Nightmare

On MSNBC Wednesday morning, senior McCain advisor Nicolle Wallace said that John McCain won’t cut taxes for corporations, and that in fact he is “their worst nightmare.”

The quote is at about 5:10 in the above video, but if you rewind a bit, you’ll see host Joe Scarborough grilling Obama strategist Robert Gibbs on why Obama’s not proposing corporate tax cuts. Scarborough points out that other countries are reducing taxes on corporations and says that equivalent tax cuts are necessary to keep the U.S.

McCain, Palin and Rape Kits

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the pervasive rumor that Sarah Palin, when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, made women pay for their own forensic testing when reporting a rape. The verdict: This policy was enforced for at least some reported rapes in Wasilla, and in 2000, complaints about rape kit charges in Wasilla and other rural areas drove then-Gov. Tony Knowles to pass legislation requiring police departments to pay for the testing. The Wasilla police chief opposed the new state law and defended the practice,

The Momentary “No”

The third-party group Committee for Truth in Politics has released an ad accusing Sen. Barack Obama of favoring early release for sexual offenders. We like the group’s name — hey, that’s what we’re all about! But we find it pretty misleading in the case of this ad, which includes a gross oversight on a 1999 vote. The end result is absurdly wrong.
Here’s the script of the ad (we couldn’t find a version of the video that would run properly on our site,

More on that $860 billion

McCain said that Obama has proposed $860 billion in new spending. That’s based on a McCain campaign estimate of how much Obama’s new proposals will cost, without figuring in any savings or reductions in spending. Any increase in funding and any created program counts as “new spending” in this estimate, whether or not it is offset by decreases in spending elsewhere. A more traditional, and arguably more useful, measure of spending is how much a given candidate’s proposals will increase the federal deficit.

Counting Errors

McCain said that Obama had voted 94 times for higher taxes or against tax cuts. He’s getting warmer — the first time we dinged him for this one, he said Obama voted 94 times to increase taxes, which is way off. This is still misleading, though. The real breakdown includes: 23 votes against tax cuts (which would have produced no increase in taxes); seven votes that would have lowered taxes for most people, but increased taxes on a few;

McCain in the vanguard of mortgage reform?

Sarah Palin says that McCain sounded the alarm on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago. Our colleagues at PolitiFact questioned that claim, calling it “barely true.” Palin’s referring to a bill that would have increased oversight on Fannie and Freddie. McCain signed onto that bill as a cosponsor, but PolitiFact says it wouldn’t have lessened the current economic crisis. And in our recent article about assigning blame for the economic crisis, we add that by the time McCain added his name to the bill,

Socialized Medicine?

Palin said that Obama’s plan would be “government run” and would mandate health care. The first claim is false, as we’ve said before. Obama’s plan would increase the offerings of publicly funded health care, but would not replace or remove private insurance, or require people to enroll in a public plan.
The second claim leaves out important information. Obama’s plan would mandate health coverage for children, but not for adults.

The Iraqi Surplus

Biden said that Iraq had an “$80 billion surplus.” Obama said the same — $79 billion — in the last debate, and we called him on it then. Seventy-nine billion is an out-of-date projection. The Iraqis currently have $29 billion in the bank, and could have $47 billion to $59 billion by the end of the year.
Update, Oct. 13: According to GAO, Iraq was unable to spend its entire budget in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Killing Afghan Civilians?

Obama did say that troops in Afghanistan were killing civilians, a claim that Palin calls “untrue.” Here’s the whole quote, from a campaign stop in New Hampshire:

Obama, August 2007: We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there.

The Associated Press fact-checked this one, and found that in fact U.S troops were killing more civilians at the time than insurgents: “As of Aug.

Why We’re Not Called FutureCheck

We’ve received countless e-mails about a rumor that Joe Biden is planning to step down from the Democratic race, to be replaced by Hillary Clinton. Here’s the chain e-mail in question:

Anonymous chain e-mail: Let me share some info with you that I have gotten from excellent sources within the DNC:

On or about October 5th, Biden will excuse himself from the ticket, citing health problems, and he will be replaced by Hillary. This is timed to occur after the VP debate on 10/2.