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Same Old Claims in Another Language

Summary
The presidential campaigns and third-party groups have been bilingual throughout the election, targeting Spanish-speaking voters with some misleading and false ads. Among the recent TV spots:

A McCain-Palin ad tries to paint Obama as a "riesgo" (risk), falsely claiming that his health care plan would require small businesses to cover their employees. But Obama’s plan explicitly exempts small businesses from this requirement, and an adviser has said the threshold "would almost certainly be higher than ten"

Social Security and Spanish Ads

We posted two new pieces on the main site today. The first looks at a common theme among Democratic congressional ads: the accusation that Republicans want to gamble away Social Security in risky private investments. We count 58 ads with such charges that have aired since Oct. 1. Read all about how they’re trying to mislead voters in our full story:
More Social Security Bunk

Our second article examines four Spanish-language ads from the presidential campaigns,

Right Change Is Wrong

Summary

A conservative group called RightChange.com has spent $3 million running ads that largely criticize Obama and his tax plans. They’re false: 

Two ads say Obama would tax "small businesses" at a rate of "62 percent." He wouldn’t. That number is an inflated estimate of the very top tax rate, and it doesn’t represent what Obama has proposed.
That false figure includes an increased Social Security tax rate that Obama doesn’t support, plus the state income tax rate paid by people making more than a million dollars a year in California.

Taxes, Bailouts, Court Fights and More

Looking for some weekend reading material? Well, the past week has been busy at FactCheck.org. If you haven’t checked out the main site recently, here are several new articles that we hadn’t yet told our Wire readers about:
Right Change Is Wrong
October 24, 2008
A conservative group misleads voters mightily on Obama’s tax plans for small businesses.
The Rifle Association’s ‘True Story’
October 23, 2008
A misleading NRA ad claims Obama voted “to deny citizens the right of self-protection.” 

More Health Care Exaggerations

Planned Parenthood is distributing a mailer in Ohio that criticizes Sen. John McCain’s health care plan. But it uses a bogus figure on what McCain’s plan would do to Ohioans’ taxes.
The mailer says, “I see struggling patients every day. That’s why I was so horrified when I read about John McCain’s proposed health care tax. Maybe he can afford a $2,800 tax, but his plan will really hurt a lot of people.”
Under McCain’s plan,

Scaring, and Misleading, Seniors Again

In what is becoming a bit of a pattern, a group that backs Sen. Barack Obama is trying to convince senior citizens that Sen. John McCain would be their worst nightmare. The AFL-CIO is distributing a mailer that claims McCain is “turning his back on retirees,” by “privatizing Social Security, taxing health care benefits” and “cutting $1 trillion from Medicare.”
Talking Points Memo reports that the AFL-CIO is sending this flyer to retirees in Indiana, North Carolina and more traditional swing states.

Health Care Premium Costs

In last week’s final debate, Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama cited greatly different estimates for the average cost of health insurance, and a number of readers have asked us to sort it out.

Obama: By the way, the average policy costs about $12,000. …
McCain: The average cost of a health care insurance plan in America today is $5,800.

Both candidates were talking about the relative value of the $5,000 tax credit McCain wants to give to families and couples (individuals would get up to $2,500) to purchase health care policies.

Unions Mislead on Health Care

Summary
Two labor unions are running ads falsely characterizing McCain’s health care plan.

A United Auto Workers spot features a woman who claims she’d pay up to $2,800 more in taxes. That’s a bogus figure, based on a false assumption about what McCain is actually proposing. She and families like hers would actually come out money ahead.
A Service Employees International Union ad claims McCain’s plan would "deny coverage for preexisting conditions like cancer."

Obama on Taxes

Obama said that “I want to provide a tax cut for 95 percent of working Americans.” He also said the cut would go to “95 percent of families.” The latter is correct. The Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center analyzed the two candidates’ tax plans and found Obama’s would cut taxes for 95.5 percent of households with children. Overall, the TPC found that Obama’s plan would produce a tax cut for 81.3 percent of all households.
Obama was also off the mark when he said “if you make less than a quarter million dollars,”

$42,000 a year

McCain has claimed yet again that Sen. Obama “voted twice for a budget resolution to increase taxes on individuals making $42,000 a year.” As we’ve reported, a single taxpayer making more than $41,500 would have seen a tax increase, but a couple filing jointly would have seen no increase unless they made at least $83,000, and for a couple with two children the cut-off would have been $90,000. Regardless, the increase that Obama once supported as part of a Democratic budget bill is not part of his current tax plan.