A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Refereeing the Republican Response

We concentrated our fact-checking efforts on the main attraction last night — the president’s State of the Union address — but we also found factual fouls in the Republican response from Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Daniels took a swipe at President Obama for dictating which light bulbs Americans should use — but it was President George W. Bush who signed the legislation in question into law. And he used a misleading statistic in talking about the country’s unemployment situation.

Santorum Wrong on Marriage

Rick Santorum claimed that the Obama administration told an abstinence education group that it could “no longer promote marriage” to at-risk youth “as a way of avoiding poverty.” That’s not true, according to the group Santorum mentioned.
At the Republican presidential debate on Jan. 16, Santorum said that Best Friends — an organization that promotes “character education” for girls in schools and promotes abstinence from premarital sex, as well as drugs and alcohol — had been told by the Obama administration that the group could no longer “promote marriage”

Gingrich Makes a French Connection

Newt Gingrich attacks Mitt Romney once again, this time in a Web video that bashes Romney for raising taxes, giving money to Democrats (back in 1992) and — sacre bleu! — speaking French. But a few of the claims, besides the French one, could use some context.
The one-minute video says that Romney “donated to Democrats.” That’s true, but voters might want to know that he gave a total of $1,500 to three congressional candidates 20 years ago,

Gingrich’s ‘Baloney’-filled Attacks on Romney

Newt Gingrich is out with two new attacks on Mitt Romney: an ad airing in South Carolina that tries to brand Romney as a “pro-abortion” governor, and a nearly three-minute Web video that gauges Romney statements on a “Baloney-O-Meter.” We found a bit of baloney in both …

Romney’s Shaky Job Claims

Mitt Romney has taken to saying that he created more than 100,000 net jobs through his work in the private sector, and more jobs as governor than President Obama has created since taking office. But the first claim is unproven, and the second is misleading.
It’s true that the private equity firm Bain Capital, which Romney headed from 1984 to 1999, invested in many companies that went on to add jobs. But there’s no thorough count of the jobs gained and lost in all the companies in which Bain invested.

Neurological ‘Death Panels’?

Q: Does Obama plan to deny emergency brain surgery for patients over 70?
A: No. A man claiming on a radio talk show to be a brain surgeon lied about that, and about a meeting of two associations of neurological surgeons, those associations say.

Attacks Against Gingrich: How Accurate?

Summary
A pro-Romney group is savaging Newt Gingrich with TV ads and mailers to Iowa Republicans. Gingrich dismisses the attacks as “lies.” We find that some of the claims from Restore Our Future are indeed distorted, false or misleading. But several are also right on target.

A TV spot makes a distorted claim that Gingrich co-sponsored a bill containing money for a United Nations program “supporting China’s brutal one-child policy.” The truth is that bill specifically prohibited the use of funds for “involuntary sterilization or abortion,” or “the coercion of any person to accept family planning services.” The funding in question was a small part of a much larger bill which died before ever coming up for a vote.

Bachmann Wrong on Social Security, Jobs, Debt

Michele Bachmann argued that “my facts are accurate” at the Dec. 15 debate, but a few days later, she got several facts wrong. On “Meet the Press” the presidential candidate had a couple of exchanges with host David Gregory over the validity of her statements on Social Security and the debt. Among the inaccuracies:

Bachmann said she didn’t support the payroll tax cut because “it denied $111 billion to the Social Security trust fund”and “put senior citizens at risk.”

Debate Watch

The six Republican presidential candidates who are set to meet and debate again on Dec. 10 have all made some claims that don’t line up with the facts. Will they repeat this shopworn spin, or have they tired of these talking points? Here’s what to watch and listen for when they gather in Des Moines for the latest debate — sponsored by ABC News, Yahoo! News, the Des Moines Register, local WOI-TV and the Republican Party of Iowa:

Gingrich: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has boasted several times that he “helped balance the federal budget for four straight years.” But he was in Congress for only two of those years.

Pat Boone Misleads Seniors

The same old claims about the federal health care law turn up once again in an ad featuring pop and gospel singer Pat Boone, the national spokesman for the conservative 60 Plus Association.
The group says it’s spending $750,000 to air the minute-long ad in Ohio, and the spot had already aired 459 times as of Nov. 14, according to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. It attacks Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, with Boone telling viewers to call Brown and “urge him to support real Medicare reform and protect our seniors.”