A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Tax Distortions

Palin repeated several false claims about Obama’s tax policies.
Obama did not in fact vote to increase taxes on “families” making as little as $42,000 per year. What Obama actually voted for was a budget resolution that called for returning the 25 percent tax bracket to its pre-Bush tax cut level of 28 percent. That could have affected an individual with no children making as little as $42,000. But a couple would have had to earn $83,000 to be affected and a family of four at least $90,000.

Obama Voted Against Troop Funding?

Palin repeated the claim that Obama “voted against funding our troops.” The claim refers to a single 2007 vote against a war funding bill. Obama voted for a version of the bill that included language calling for withdrawing troops from Iraq. President Bush vetoed it. (McCain supported that veto, but didn’t call it “vetoing support for our troops.”) What Obama voted against was the same bill without withdrawal language. And he had voted yes on at least 10 other war funding bills prior to that single 2007 no vote.

Who Caused the Economic Crisis?

Summary
A MoveOn.org Political Action ad plays the partisan blame game with the economic crisis, charging that John McCain’s friend and former economic adviser Phil Gramm “stripped safeguards that would have protected us.” The claim is bogus. Gramm’s legislation had broad bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Clinton. Moreover, the bill had nothing to do with causing the crisis, and economists – not to mention President Clinton – praise it for having softened the crisis.

About that live debate coverage…

You might have noticed that there wasn’t so much of it. Technical problems kept us offline for most of the night. We apologize for that.
The good news? You can read our full debate wrap-up over at our main site.

The Whoppers of 2008

Summary
Normally we post a “Whoppers” compilation the week before Election Day. This time we’ve already seen such a large number of twisted facts, misleading claims and outright falsehoods that we are doing that now.
It’s not just Sarah Palin’s claim about killing the bridge project that she had supported until it became a national laughingstock and Congress turned against it. That’s just the whopper that got the attention of many news organizations earlier this month.

Biden’s “Patriotic Act”

 A recent McCain-Palin ad titled “Patriotic Act” puts a new twist on some old false claims, then adds a misleading implication, just for good measure. Here’s the ad:

We can start with a list of what the ad does get right:

Joe Biden did indeed say that paying taxes is patriotic.

Actually, that’s pretty much the whole list. The rest of the ad is mostly malarkey, starting with the implication that Biden called it patriotic for most Americans to pay taxes.

Happy Fall!

 It’s officially here today. Or it was as of 15:43 GMT (that’s 11:43 a.m., if you’re on the East Coast). While you were (we hope) enjoying the last weekend of summer, we here at FactCheck.org were still on the case. On Friday over at our main site, we wrote all about Barack Obama and John McCain’s dueling Spanish ads. Turns out they can mislead in two different languages.
And if you were working late on Friday,

Just the Facts, Home(page) Makeover

We’ve given our Just the Facts! page a bit of a face lift. Be sure to check it out. And don’t forget to tune in every Friday for Emi Kolawole’s weekly vidcast. This week Emi covers school funding, energy policy, Jerome Corsi and war wounds. There’s even some time left over to talk about Sarah Palin and respect.

And while you’re at it, check out our new Hot Topics page. There you’ll find answers to the questions we’re being asked most frequently.

Freddie, Fannie and Barack – Corrected

Turns out, our initial post “Freddie, Fannie and Barack” was erroneous. We’ve struck out the incorrect sections from our earlier post.
We said originally that Obama was the fourth largest recipient of donations from troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That’s wrong. Our post was drawn from data from the Center for Responsive Politics’ Web site, OpenSecrets.org. But the data we used were incomplete.
We talked to a spokesperson from the Center for Responsive Politics who told us that looking at all election cycles since 1989 (the first year for which CRP has data),

There He Goes Again

Summary
The McCain-Palin campaign has released a new ad that once again distorts Obama’s tax plans.

The ad claims Obama will raise taxes on electricity. He hasn’t proposed any such tax. Obama does support a cap-and-trade policy that would raise the costs of electricity, but so does McCain.

It falsely claims he would tax home heating oil. Actually, Obama proposed a rebate of up to $1,000 per family to defray increased heating oil costs,