A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

The $32,000 Question

Summary

The McCain campaign claims that Obama voted to raise income taxes on individuals who earn as little as $32,000 per year. That’s wrong.

The resolution Obama voted for would not have increased taxes on any single taxpayer making less than $41,500 per year in total income, or any couple making less than $83,000. The $32,000 figure is approximately the taxable income of a single person making $41,500 per year, after all deductions and exclusions.

Soft on Iran

Summary

John McCain is attacking Barack Obama’s opposition to the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which (among other things) called for labeling Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. McCain claims that Obama’s opposition means that he also opposed calling the IRGC terrorists. We find otherwise. 

Obama cosponsored an earlier bill that also called for designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization.
The Kyl-Lieberman amendment did more than just label the IRGC terrorists. Obama stated at the time that he opposed the bill on the grounds that it constituted "saber-rattling."

George W. Bush’s Presidential Vetoes

Q: Has President George W. Bush used his veto power more than most presidents?
A: No. Only 14 presidents have used their veto power fewer times than Bush, and only one president since the start of the 20th century has issued fewer vetoes.

The Budget According to McCain: Part I

McCain’s big promise is that he can balance the budget while extending Bush’s tax cuts and adding a few of his own. He likes to leave the impression that this can be done painlessly, for example, by eliminating “wasteful” spending in the form of “earmarks” that lawmakers like to tuck into spending bills to finance home-state projects. We found that not only is this theory full of holes, it’s not even McCain’s actual plan. In this story we examine the spending-cut side of McCain’s budget program. In Part II, we’ll look at what McCain has said about taxes.

The Democratic Congress Did All That?

Q: Did electing a Democratic Congress in 2006 really lead to increased unemployment, higher gas prices and more home foreclosures?
A: No, and most of the figures in a widely-circulated e-mail are made up. In fact, the entire premise of the e-mail is a logical fallacy.

Running on Fumes

Summary
Late-inning ads by both Clinton and Obama in the run-up to the Democratic primaries in Indiana and North Carolina focus on Clinton’s gas tax holiday proposal. But the ads are also misleading.

Clinton’s ad claims motorists would save $8 billion during her summer "holiday," not mentioning that no economists agree with her. She herself didn’t name one when asked in a weekend tv interview.

Obama’s ad accuses Clinton of "pandering" to voters, then ticks through the elements of his plan —

Not Enough Delegates?

Q: What happens if neither Clinton nor Obama wins enough delegates to secure the nomination?
A: A brokered convention would result in the very unlikely event that neither sews up the nomination beforehand. We have no idea what would happen then.

PAC-ing Heat

Summary

In their most recent TV ads Clinton and Obama attempt to convince Pennsylvania voters that the other is financed by lobbyists and special interests. Both ads miss the mark.

Clinton’s ad accuses Obama of insincerely promising to accept no money from PACs and current lobbyists for his presidential campaign. But she cites money he took years ago as a candidate for the Illinois state Senate and U.S. Senate, before he swore off such funds.

Obama a Constitutional Law Professor?

Q: Was Barack Obama really a constitutional law professor?
A: His formal title was "senior lecturer," but the University of Chicago Law School says he "served as a professor" and was "regarded as" a professor.

Hillary’s Adventures Abroad

Summary
On March 6 Hillary Clinton claimed that, unlike Barack Obama, she and likely Republican nominee John McCain have "cross[ed] the commander-in-chief threshold." In a CNN interview the day before, Clinton had listed five foreign policy accomplishments. We can’t determine how much behind-the-scenes work Clinton did while first lady, and she certainly took an active interest in foreign policy when her husband was president. Moreover, her time as first lady plus her longer Senate career do give Clinton more foreign policy experience than Obama.