A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Scaring Seniors

Summary
A new Obama ad characterizes the "Bush-McCain privatization plan" as "cutting Social Security Benefits in half." This is a falsehood sure to frighten seniors who rely on their Social Security checks. In truth, McCain does not propose to cut those checks at all.
The ad refers to a Bush proposal from 2005 to hold down the growth of benefits for future retirees. Compared to the buying power of benefits paid to today’s retirees,

Still Off Base on Sex Ed

Several readers have written to us objecting to our story “Off Base on Sex Ed,” which said a McCain ad on sex education was “simply false.” These readers cite a story in the conservative National Review by Byron York headlined, “On Sex-Ed Ad, McCain Is Right.”
York is certainly entitled to his interpretation of the ad. We have read his article, which doesn’t mention FactCheck.org or our story, and we still find an ad that says Obama’s “one accomplishment”

Can’t be Fired

We noticed John McCain saying today that he would fire the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission if he were president. But, fortunately for the SEC chairman, the president can’t fire him.

McCain (Sept. 18, Cedar Rapids, Iowa): The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president. And in my view has betrayed the public trust. If I were president today, I would fire him.

ABC News points out that “while the president nominates and the Senate confirms the SEC chair,

That’s ‘Former Lobbyist’ to you

The Obama campaign has been pushing a connection between John McCain and lobbyists — as in saying that McCain has them working on his campaign. This ad, for instance, claims that “John McCain’s chief adviser lobbies for oil companies” and his “campaign manager lobbies for corporations outsourcing American jobs.” But neither of those campaign staffers are currently lobbyists – a McCain campaign conflict-of-interest policy doesn’t allow it.

The ad refers to campaign manager Rick Davis, who formerly lobbied for telecommunications companies and Airborne Express.

Distorting Quotes and Voting Records

We neglected to inform Wire readers yesterday that we published two new articles on FactCheck.org. (So much content to keep track of!) We looked at a new McCain-Palin ad that distorts quotes from the Obama campaign to make it sound as though Obama and Biden have made sexist remarks and belittled Palin. The actual quotes didn’t do that. Read the full article for the details.
We also published a piece on an Obama ad that makes misleading claims about John McCain’s education proposals and distorts his voting record in the Senate.

That Patriotic Bikini Shot

By now you’ve probably seen it – the purported pic of Sarah Palin wearing a red, white and blue bikini and toting a gun. At first glance, we suspected it was fake and someone’s idea of a joke. And guess what? It is.
We tracked down the guy who took the original photo, a shot of his friend holding a pellet or BB gun – not actually a real rifle – and we chatted with the woman who spent about 15 minutes in Adobe Photoshop affixing Palin’s head to this other woman’s body.

False Claims About Palin

Readers have been filling up our inbox with questions regarding claims being made about McCain’s v.p. pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. We found many charges to be false or misleading. Palin didn’t cut funding for special needs education, for instance. Nor was she ever a member of the Alaskan Independence Party. See our article, “Sliming Palin,” for all the details.

Health Care Hyperbole

Obviously, Obama and McCain don’t see eye-to-eye on health care, and their plans are markedly different. But we’ve heard Obama misrepresenting some aspects of McCain’s proposal in stump speeches. On Aug. 21 in Chester, Va., he said:

Obama, Aug. 21: John McCain doesn’t have a health care plan other than to eliminate the tax deduction for employers for paying health care premiums. And in return, giving $5,000 tax credits to each individual family. Now, that sounds pretty good,

Maverick Misleads

Summary
McCain's campaign launched a TV ad touting his running mate, Palin, and offering a comparison to Obama. Some of its claims are off the mark:

It says Obama "gave big oil billions in subsidies and giveaways," citing his votes for a 2005 energy bill. But the bill slightly raised taxes on the oil industry overall.
The ad plucked a positive blurb about Palin from an Associated Press article that, in fact,

Not Pictured Here

 
Summary
An Obama ad features video of McCain walking toward the camera with a group of people in power suits, as the narrator says, "the lobbyists, running his low road campaign." None of the people pictured are lobbyists, however.
The ad also repeats a misleading claim that McCain favors "billions in tax breaks for big oil and drug companies." But McCain’s tax policy doesn’t target those industries. He calls for lowering the corporate tax rate for all companies.