A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

McCain: $3 million to study the DNA of bears?

We’ve heard that one before.
McCain’s been playing it for laughs since 2003. The study in question was done by the U.S. Geological Survey, and it relied in part on federal appropriations. Readers (and politicians) may disagree on whether a noninvasive study of grizzly bear population and habitat is a waste of money. McCain clearly thinks it is — but on the other hand, he never moved to get rid of the earmark. In fact, he voted for the bill that made appropriations for the study.

Credit Where it Isn’t Due

The McCain-Palin campaign is running a series of upbeat ads designed to appeal to workers in three states (Michigan, Ohio, and New Mexico – for some reason the New Mexico ad isn’t on McCain’s YouTube channel, but it sounds pretty much like the Ohio one). Sometimes even upbeat ads need a little tweaking.

Here’s the Michigan ad. In this one, McCain says that “John McCain and his congressional allies” have a plan for Michigan, including “loans to upgrade assembly lines.”

‘Born Alive’ Baloney

Summary
A anti-abortion group is running an ad featuring a woman who says she survived a failed abortion and that "if Barack Obama had his way, I wouldn't be here." She's wrong. If she'd been born in Illinois, Illinois law would have protected her with or without the "born alive" legislation that Obama opposed and that this group supports.
 
The Obama campaign countered with its own false ad. It accused McCain of wanting to ban abortions even in cases of rape or incest,

Palin Charging Victims for Rape Kits?

Q: Did Sarah Palin make rape victims pay for their own rape kits?
A: Palin's police chief in Wasilla did that. Whether Palin supported this is not certain.

Bridge to Nowhere

Q: What's the full story on the Bridge to Nowhere?
A: Palin supported it even after McCain denounced it, then blamed "inaccurate portrayals" when she canceled it for lack of money. Obama and Biden voted for the big transportation bill that contained it. McCain's vote was one of four against. Our time line gives full details.

Sparring in Spanish

Summary
An Obama TV ad tells Spanish-speaking viewers that McCain is "friends" with Rush Limbaugh, and quotes the radio host as calling Mexicans "stupid and unqualified" and telling them to "shut up or get out." The ad is doubly misleading. Limbaugh has until recently disparaged McCain repeatedly to his audience. And Limbaugh says his words are ripped out of context and twisted in the ad. In any case they don't represent McCain's position.
 

McCain’s cloudy crystal ball

Confused about whether John McCain really predicted the fall of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? We don’t blame you. The McCain-Palin campaign says he did, and as proof, they point to a 2006 speech in which McCain exhorts his colleagues to vote for legislation he cosponsored, legislation that would have regulated the misbehaving mortgage giants. The Obama campaign says he did not and point out that McCain said in 2007 that he didn’t see the crisis coming.

Muting the Mommy Melodrama

The Internet is abuzz with the rumor that Palin’s youngest child, Trig, is not actually her son but her grandson, born to her teenage daughter Bristol and adopted by Palin to cover up the scandal. Aside from a DNA test, it’s unlikely we’ll convince the hard-core conspiracy theorists and skeptics that this rumor is totally false (it could be argued that not even a DNA test would suffice for some). But this photo, which has been making its way around the Web,

More on the Phantom 62 Percent

In our recent article “Sliming Palin,” we addressed the pervasive rumor that Gov. Palin slashed funding for special needs education. She didn’t. Instead, she increased funding. Here’s more detail on how an increase got mistaken for a 62 percent decrease.
The evidence that’s been cited to support the false decrease claim:

The special schools component of the education budget for fiscal year 2007, before Palin was governor, was $8.3 million.
The special schools budget for 2008 was $3.2 million.

One Bridge, Two Bridge

Once upon a time, there were two Bridges to Nowhere. There was the Bridge to Nowhere, and the Bridge to Nowhere’s brother, the Bridge to Nowhere. Or, if you prefer, there was the Gravina Access Project, which would connect the town of Ketchikan to the island of Gravina for purposes of development and airport access, and the Knik Arm bridge, which would improve access between Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The bridge would connect the port in Anchorage to Port MacKenzie in Mat-Su.