A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Wrong Numbers on a Tin Roof

During his last press conference with White House reporters yesterday, President Bush defended his administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina, saying, “don’t tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed.” He even repeated the statistic three times.
The performance of the Coast Guard in response to the natural disaster has been commended by many, but that statistic is a bit inflated, according to the Guard’s own records.

Reckless Driving

The Obama-Biden campaign has released an ad as part of its “closing argument” to the American people. But we have a few factual objections to raise.

The ad is called “Rearview Mirror” and says that if you “wonder where John McCain would take the economy” just “look behind you,” alluding to the Bush administration. The ad even pictures President Bush’s face in the rearview mirror of a car.
But it touts some misleading claims Obama has dropped along the long campaign trail.

More Social Security Bunk

Summary
Democrats celebrated Halloween early this year, trying to spook voters with the political boogeyman of risking Social Security in the stock market. Since October 1, we have found 58 ads from Democrats and their allies attacking their Republican House and Senate opponents on the issue. They mislead in several ways:

They say benefits would have been "risked in the stock market." While that’s true for younger workers, current beneficiaries wouldn’t have been eligible for private accounts under the plan President Bush supported.

A Little Ditty ‘Bout Taxes and Trade

The Obama-Biden campaign has released a radio ad in Indiana featuring favorite native son John Mellencamp. In the ad, Mellencamp says, “John McCain will keep giving tax breaks to companies shipping American jobs overseas.”
Mellencamp is referring to an aspect of the tax code that allows companies to skirt paying U.S. corporate taxes on profits they make overseas and leave overseas. But economists have consistently said this tax provision isn’t a major reason jobs are being sent abroad.

Erratic Quotes

The Obama-Biden campaign has a new, unannounced ad that says McCain has been “erratic” in his response to the financial crisis:

The ad includes various critical quotes from editorials in the Washington Post, USA Today and Politico. We looked up the original articles, and all the quotes are in context.
But the ad also cites the August 15 Tax Policy Center report, with text on screen saying “nothing for the middle class.” Within the ad, the words do not appear in quotes,

$700 Billion Blame Game

Summary
We find House and Senate campaigns are taking liberties with the facts as they seek to assign blame for the nation’s financial mess.

A Democratic ad in Kentucky accuses Republican Senate Leader McConnell of conduct bordering on the criminal, but falsely accuses him of taking $4.4 million from "big banks."
A Republican ad in Pennsylvania claims Democratic House member Kanjorski sponsored a bill to "slash oversight" and "banks made millions." In fact, the bill never made it out of committee.

Full FactCheck.org Report on Last Debate Up

We stayed up all night, and into the morning, but we do have a full analysis of last night’s debate to show for our efforts. Feel free to check it out here and see all the items we found during our live coverage of the debate right here on The Wire.

John Lewis and the News

McCain was a bit off the mark when he said Obama did not repudiate the remarks of Democratic Rep. John Lewis. Obama did release a statement that said he “did not believe” McCain “or his policy criticism is in any way comparable to George Wallace or his segregationist policies.” But he did agree with other parts of Lewis’ statement. Here’s the story:
On Oct. 11, Lewis, an activist during the Civil Rights movement, published a statement on the Politico Web site that said in part:

“Sen.

Constitutional Queries about the VP Debate

Hundreds of readers have written us asking why we didn’t point out Joe Biden’s confusion of Articles I and II of the Constitution during his debate with Gov. Sarah Palin on Oct. 2. We should have. While his rambling response was generally correct in describing the constitutional role of the vice president, he did make a small error. And in the interest of clearing up previous debate matters before tonight’s final face-off between John McCain and Barack Obama,

Obama 68 Million Acre Boast

Obama was off the mark when he said that oil companies have “68 million acres that they’re not using.”
As we’ve pointed out previously, those 68 million acres of land are not producing oil, but they are not necessarily untouched. In fact, in 2006, the last year for which figures are available, there were a total of more than 15,000 holes that were being proposed, started or finished. These acres of land that these holes sit on are not counted as being “producing,”