A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Does Romney Pay a Lower Rate in Taxes Than You?

A new ad from the Obama campaign claims that Mitt Romney “paid only 14 percent in taxes—probably less than you.” That depends. Romney paid a federal income tax rate that is higher than the income tax rate paid by 97 percent of tax filers. But if you include a combination of income taxes and payroll taxes — which make up the bulk of federal taxes for most taxpayers — the ad is accurate.
The ad, called “Stretch,”

Falsifying Romney’s Abortion Stance, Again

The Obama campaign is out with another ad making the false claim that Mitt Romney “backed a bill that outlaws all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.” Romney’s consistent position through this campaign, and the last, and as far back as 2005, is that he opposes abortion except in cases when the life of the mother is in danger, and in cases of rape and incest.
This latest Obama campaign ad begins with a woman named “Jenni,”

Gunman’s Weapons Already Illegal?

Arguing against the need for new gun laws in the wake of the Aurora shootings, Mitt Romney said many of the weapons possessed by shooter James Holmes were “illegal … already.” While it’s true that the bombs found later at Holmes’ apartment were illegal, that’s not the case for the weapons he used at the movie theater on the night of the rampage. Police confirmed that all of the weapons and ammunition used by Holmes that night were legally obtained at local sporting goods stores or over the Internet.

Romney and the Tax Return Precedent

Mitt Romney says he is following the “precedent” set by John McCain in releasing just two years of tax returns. That’s accurate. But McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee, bucked the trend of other recent presidential candidates.
In more than three decades, no other nominees for either party have released fewer than five years’ worth of returns. Romney’s own father released a dozen years’ worth when he ran for the GOP nomination in 1968.
Romney has been under mounting public pressure to release tax returns —

Twisting Romney’s Abortion Stance

An Obama campaign ad twists Mitt Romney’s stance on abortion, claiming Romney “backed a law that outlaws all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.”
During a 2007 debate, Romney was asked if he would sign legislation to ban “all abortion” — assuming, hypothetically, that Roe v. Wade had been overturned. He said he’d be “delighted to sign it,” if there was a national consensus for it. But, he said, “that’s not where America is today.”

Obama’s ‘Outsourcer’ Overreach

Obama accuses Romney in a series of TV ads of being a “corporate raider” who “shipped jobs to China and Mexico,” asking if voters want to elect an “outsourcer in chief.” But some of the claims in the ads are untrue, and others are thinly supported. Bain Capital, the …

Stretching on Romney’s Fees

An ad from the Obama campaign exaggerates the truth about fees and tax hikes imposed by Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts.
It lists numerous fees hiked by Romney, but we found that a number of them are misleading — seeming to be more far-reaching and broad than they really are.
The ad also repeats a misleading claim about Romney cutting taxes “on millionaires like himself,” and botches the figure for the revenue gained by Romney imposing higher fees and closing corporate tax loopholes.

Outside Groups Twist Truth in Nevada Senate Race

Dueling attack ads from outside groups in the Nevada Senate race rely on twisted facts. An ad from the conservative American Crossroads attacks Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley for an ethics probe related to her efforts on behalf of a kidney program and kidney doctors, including her husband. And an ad from the left-leaning Patriot Majority distorts Republican Sen. Dean Heller’s record on taxes and Medicare.

The American Crossroads ad falsely claims Berkley has been “charged.” The House Committee on Ethics has not yet determined whether to launch a full investigation.

NRCC: ‘Obamacare’ Taxes Sick Puppies

A Republican claim that the federal health care law taxes “heart attacks, sick puppies and even new babies” is a dog. Turns out it’s a reference to excise taxes on certain medical devices.
The National Republican Congressional Committee crams a highlight reel of misleading claims about the health care law into a 90-second video that encourages viewers to sign an “I Want Repeal” petition. We’ve seen most of these before, but the claim about puppies and babies was new to us.

Spinning Romney’s Debt

An ad from the Obama campaign claims Massachusetts ranked No. 1 in state debt per person when Mitt Romney was governor. It’s true, but there’s less there than meets the eye. Massachusetts has historically been a high-debt state. Massachusetts has ranked either first or second in debt per capita in each of the past 11 years. It was second when Romney took office, not a far leap to first place. One could even argue that Romney slowed the growth rate of long-term debt compared with the four years before he took office.