If there was ever a case where readers should apply a guilty-until-proven-innocent standard, this is it.
Q: Is it true that even though John McCain calls himself a Republican, he has sided more with the Dems than with the Repubs?
A: Not true at all. He voted in support of President Bush 95 percent of the time last year, for example.
Q: Are violent crimes more or less common in areas where handgun ownership is higher?
A: Some studies have found that murder rates (not crime rates in general) are higher where guns are more prevalent. But social scientists have not found a direct causal relationship between the two factors.
Barack Obama’s campaign is distributing a mailer in Ohio that plays upon anti-NAFTA feelings in the Buckeye State. But the flier is misleading: Obama is quoted as saying that “one million jobs have been lost because of NAFTA, including nearly 50,000 jobs here in Ohio.” But those figures are highly questionable and from an anti-NAFTA source. Other economic studies have concluded the trade deal resulted in much smaller job losses or even a small net gain.
Q: What is the difference between GDP and GNP?
A: GDP is the market value of everything produced within a country; GNP is the value of what’s produced by a country’s residents, no matter where they live.
In television ads, Clinton’s campaign says her health care plan is the only one that will provide universal coverage, while Obama says his plan will cover all Americans, too. We find: Obama is being misleading when he says his proposal would “cover everyone.” It would make coverage available to all, but experts we consulted estimate that 15 million to 26 million wouldn’t take it up unless required to do so.
On the eve of the crucial Florida GOP primary, John McCain is attacking Mitt Romney with some out-of-context or misleading statements on radio and the Internet:
A Web ad says Romney's health care program in Massachusetts is "not very good" and "is failing." But official figures indicate that roughly 200,000 previously uninsured residents have gained health coverage, and those persons might disagree.
The ad says the Romney plan is costing $400 million more than expected.
Q: Is there a standard, accepted definition of what constitutes the "middle class"?
A: No, there isn’t. "Middle class" means different things to different people – and politicians.
Q: Have tax cuts always resulted in higher tax revenues and more economic growth as many tax cut proponents claim?
A: No. In fact, economists say tax cuts do not spark enough growth to pay for themselves.
Q: What percentage of the U.S. population has at least a bachelor's degree?
A: According to the Census Bureau, the figure is 27 percent of adults.