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Fudging on the Fiscal Cliff Deal

In a Web video, President Barack Obama leaves out some key facts about the fiscal cliff deal, possibly leaving the wrong impression about its impact on taxpayers and the deficit:

Obama boasts that “middle-class families” will not have to “pay upwards of $2,000 more in taxes this year.” That’s accurate for income taxes, but Obama doesn’t mention that the deal allowed a payroll tax cut to expire. About 77 percent of taxpayers will pay more in taxes this year —

Gun Rhetoric vs. Gun Facts

The mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., has reignited a national debate on gun control. As elected leaders begin the dialogue, some facts are clear — there has been a massive increase in gun sales. Some things are not so clear — such as whether there is causation between more guns and more violent crimes. And some …

Fiscal Cliff Air Wars

The presidential election ended last month, but the partisan air wars continue with competing fiscal cliff ads from the conservative Crossroads GPS and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Most of what is in the ads falls into the realm of opinion, but we found a couple points to quibble with in each.

The DCCC ad claims “tea party House Republicans are holding the middle class hostage to get more tax cuts for millionaires,” but nearly six out of seven who would face tax increases under President Obama’s plan do not earn $1 million a year.

Facts Falling Off the Fiscal Cliff

In press conferences on the so-called fiscal cliff, House Speaker John Boehner greatly exaggerated the negative effect on the economy of raising taxes on upper-income individuals.

Boehner erred when he said that “the problem with raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans is that more than half of them are small-business owners.” That’s incorrect. Boehner’s spokesman said the speaker simply misspoke, but Boehner is a repeat offender with this bogus claim.
Boehner repeatedly cited an Ernst &

Campaign Funny Business

An ad from the Romney campaign mocks President Obama’s proposal to create a “Secretary of Business,” but misrepresents the president’s proposal.
The ad says that “his solution to everything is to add another bureaucrat.” But in fact, Obama’s plan actually seeks to consolidate more than a half dozen agencies, trim the federal workforce by as many as 1,000 to 2,000 employees and save $3 billion. In short, it specifically seeks to reduce bureaucracy.
According to the narrator in the video: “Barack Obama says he may appoint a Secretary of Business.

New Obama Ad Repeats Old Distortions

A new Obama campaign ad repeats old distortions in a homestretch appeal to voters.

The ad claims Romney would make “catastrophic cuts to education,” but the ad cites an editorial that says Romney has promised to cut discretionary spending — not necessarily education.
The ad repeats the claim that Romney’s tax plan includes a massive tax cut for millionaires “while middle class families pay more.” Romney insists he won’t do that. The ad cites an analysis by the Tax Policy Center,

Romney All Wet on Ships

The Romney campaign is moving full steam ahead with a new radio ad that repeats a misleading debate claim by Romney that the size of the Navy’s fleet is the smallest it has been since 1917. The number of ships is actually up a bit since 2007 under President George W. Bush.
Moreover, Navy officials say it’s silly to compare the size of the fleet in 1917 with that of today, because the mission and capabilities of today’s nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines are vastly different than that of the gunboats and coal-powered dreadnaughts of 1917,

Editing Romney’s ‘Apology’ Defense

A new ad from Mitt Romney’s campaign patches together pieces of Romney’s debate defense of his claim that Barack Obama began his presidency on an “apology tour” in the Middle East — leaving out parts that are demonstrably untrue. But even with the benefit of careful editing, Romney’s claim falls short of its billing.
Typically, when we fact-check quotes, it is often a matter of a candidate selectively grabbing bits and pieces of his opponent’s words,

Warren’s Role in Asbestos Case

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren are accusing each other of “not telling the truth.” Brown says Warren worked to “restrict payments” to asbestos victims, while Warren says she worked to “get more money” for them. We find Warren is correct; Brown’s ad is a distortion.
It may seem counter-intuitive that Warren’s work on behalf of an insurance company that covered an asbestos manufacturer could be work on the same side as the victims of the case.