A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

The Bailout Bill?

Does the financial regulatory bill put an end to taxpayer-funded bailouts? Or does it "institutionalize" them? Viewers of the Sunday political talk shows and recent C-SPAN clips from the Senate floor might well be wondering, as Democrats (the "end of bailouts" crowd) and some Republicans (the "institutionalize" camp) have made these contradictory claims.
No piece of legislation can guarantee that a future Congress won’t allow the federal government to prop up a failing financial institution. But claims that this bill makes taxpayer-funded bailouts a permanent fixture are misleading,

Tax Breaks and a ‘Private Army’

In episode 7 of our podcast, we look at a Democratic ad that falsely claims a Republican House candidate pledged to protect tax breaks for companies that send jobs abroad. We also tell listeners about the political involvement of Massey Energy, the company involved in the West Virginia mining disaster, and we explain the truth behind Internet rumors claiming the health care law gives the president a “private army.”
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Shady Deals in the Sunshine State?

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has launched another ad attacking GOP primary opponent Marco Rubio — and the ethics and legality of his past dealings. They’re campaigning to get the Republican nod for a Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Mel Martinez. The primary is in August.
Crist’s ad draws parallels between Rubio, a former state House speaker, and Ray Sansom, Rubio’s budget chairman when he was speaker and, until recently, a state representative. The ad claims both were known for "preposterous deal-making,"

Abortion and Jobs Numbers

In episode 6 of our podcast, we explain the controversy over abortion and federal funds in the health care law, unemployment statistics touted by the White House, and a long-running April Fools’ hoax.
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For more on the stories discussed in this episode see:
The Abortion Issue April 1
Optimistic Job Stats April 5
April Fools’ … Still April 1

Optimistic Job Stats

Christina Romer, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, talked jobs with NBC "Meet the Press" host David Gregory on Sunday. The interview came a few days after the release of encouraging numbers — employment rose by 162,000 in March, the biggest one-month increase in three years. A few of Romer’s optimistic comments, though, could use some context.
Even though the number of Americans with jobs went up, the unemployment rate — 9.7 percent —

IRS Agents, Health Care and Student Loans

In Episode 5 of our podcast, we look into Republican claims that the new health care law will require the IRS to hire 16,500 agents — and GOP Rep. Ron Paul’s assertion that they’d all be carrying guns. We also discuss health care ads from liberals and conservatives, and claims about the federal student loan program.
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The Abortion Issue

Q: What are the facts regarding the new health insurance law’s federal funding for abortion, or lack of it?
A: The law says individuals who get federal subsidy dollars must use their private money to pay for coverage of abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Claims that the new law will lead to a large increase in the number of abortions lack support.

Health Care and Census

President Obama signed the health care bill into law this week — but we’re still fact-checking claims about it. In this episode, we look at two ads from groups that were pushing for passage of the legislation. Plus, we discuss various false claims about the 2010 Census.
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For more on the stories discussed in this episode see:
"All Those in Favor …"

More Health Care Ads?

So now that President Obama is set to sign this health care bill into law, you won’t have to hear all kinds of claims about it, right? Well, not so fast. The end of the health care ad wars isn’t here yet.
Liberals are getting in the first shots — praising Democratic House members who voted their way, and attacking at least one Republican who didn’t. But we suspect there’s much more to come. Republicans are vowing to make the vote a major issue in the midterm elections in November.

A Final Weekend of Whoppers?

With the House preparing for a final vote on the Senate health care legislation, with revisions, Sunday afternoon, we thought we’d give our readers a wrap-up of the top falsehoods of late. The debate over this bill has stretched on about as long as a presidential campaign, and we suspect this weekend will be filled …