A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

What’s in a Number?

The National Republican Congressional Committee has released a new ad attacking Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello of Virginia for voting with "(Barack) Obama and Nancy Pelosi" for the Waxman-Markey energy bill. It’s part of a broader effort to target several Democratic members.

The ad says the bill will result in lost jobs and cost "middle class families" $1,870 a year. That sounds pretty dire, until you consider that this week we posted an item about the Office of the Republican Whip Eric Cantor’s claim that the same bill would "impose a national energy tax of up to $3,100."

Reviewing Polls

Earlier this week we wrote about a television ad from Americans United for Change and found it to be misleading. The ad claimed that "a new poll shows that 62 percent of Americans support" President Obama’s "plan to reform health care." Americans United for Change disagreed with our analysis and Deputy Communications Director Lauren Weiner sent us an e-mail to say:
Weiner: Our "62%" ad is based on the Diageo/Hotline poll which asked voters if they supported Congress and the President enacting major overhaul of health care.

Liberal Ad Misleads with Poll Numbers

The liberal advocacy group Americans United for Change has released a new ad backing President Obama’s "plan to reform health care." According to the ad, "a new poll shows that 62 percent of Americans support" the plan.

But that’s misleading. The poll in question, conducted for Diageo/Hotline, didn’t ask respondents about a specific plan. Rather, it asked whether they supported or opposed a "major overhaul" of the health care system, without any specifics.
Diageo/Hotline Question: Do you support or oppose Congress and the President enacting a major overhaul of the U.S.

Obama and Islamic History

President Obama ticked off some accomplishments of the Islamic world during his speech in Cairo on June 4. Namely, he said:
Obama: It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed.
Was he right? Well, he was more careful in his language than when he claimed this winter that the U.S.

Tax Cut Ads Clip Some Details

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced on June 1 a radio ad and robo-call campaign against several congressional Republicans for voting against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (a.k.a. the stimulus bill). However, the attacks don’t tell the whole story.
For instance, the ad aimed at Republican Rep. Peter King claim that he "opposed an $800 tax cut and opposed creating or saving 215,000 New York jobs." But King, like many Republicans, never said that. Rather,

Linking Dems to Pelosi

On May 28, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced a new ad campaign attacking Democratic House members by attempting to tie them to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s winding story of what the CIA did or did not tell her about U.S. interrogation techniques. The NRCC says it plans to target 20 Democrats with mailers, robocalls, TV and radio ads; it announced that robocalls and radio spots will run in 17 districts. So far we have seen one television ad,

Selective Edits on Interrogation?

On May 21, President Barack Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney both gave speeches on national security, specifically focusing on Guantanamo Bay, detainees and interrogation techniques. We combed through the transcripts of both and found a few items worth mentioning from Cheney’s speech.
In defending so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, Cheney quoted Obama’s director of national intelligence, Adm. Dennis C. Blair, as saying that "high value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qaeda organization that was attacking this country."

Would Obama Have Soldiers Pay for Own War Injuries?

Q: Did Obama accuse veterans of "selfishness" and whining? Would he have forced them to "pay for their war injuries"?

A: This chain e-mail contains fabricated quotes and misrepresents a budget idea that the White House scrapped. The quotes were intended as satire.

Specter’s Statistic on the Switch

Sen. Arlen Specter’s remarks about changing political parties contained one statement that tripped our fact-checking radar: "Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats."
Two hundred thousand people in one state changing their political colors from red to blue? Could it be true? Unfortunately, there’s no way to be certain. That’s because, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State, "Pennsylvania’s voter registration form does not require the registrant to specify from which party they are changing."

Hot Air on “This Week”

House Republican Minority Leader John Boehner was a guest on ABC’s "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday, and he made a remark that could use some clarification and correction.
A conversation about climate change included the following exchange:
Stephanopoulos: What is the Republican plan to deal with carbon emissions, which every major scientific organization has said is contributing to climate change?
Boehner: George, the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical.