A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Did ‘Elite Media’ Ignore ‘Infanticide’?

Newt Gingrich was wrong when he accused the “elite media” of failing to ask Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign about his votes “in favor of infanticide.” In fact, there were reams of mainstream media reports about Obama’s votes as an Illinois state senator on the “born alive” legislation to which Gingrich refers.
Gingrich made his accusation during the Feb. 22 Arizona debate, trying to turn the tables on debate moderator John King’s question about the birth-control issue.

Slaloming Through Olympic Facts

With Rick Santorum attacking Mitt Romney for “hypocrisy” regarding his requests for Olympic earmarks, competing claims about taxpayer support for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics are flying from all sides. But when it comes to presenting the facts, none of them stick the landing.

A Romney spokeswoman downplayed Romney’s efforts as “seeking money for post-9/11 security at the Olympics.” But there was a lot more to it than that. The Salt Lake City Organizing Committee under Romney requested —

Establishing Facts

New radio ads boosting Newt Gingrich urge conservatives to reject the GOP “establishment” that nominated Bob Dole and John McCain. But in 1996, Gingrich announced that he had voted for Dole over Steve Forbes and Pat Buchanan in Georgia’s Republican primary. And in 2008, he made statements supportive of McCain’s candidacy while Mike Huckabee was still vying for the Republican nomination.
The five ads from pro-Gingrich super PAC Winning Our Future (which you can listen to here) are running in three states —

Romney vs. Santorum: A Misleading Contrast

Pro-Romney forces are looking beyond Michigan, hammering Rick Santorum in four other states with a new TV ad making some misleading claims.

The ad claims Mitt Romney turned around Massachusetts’ finances without raising taxes, when in fact he raised hundreds of millions in new government “fees” when he was governor.
It also rehashes a boast that Romney issued 800 vetoes, but fails to mention that more than 700 were overridden.
It attacks former Sen. Santorum for “voting for billions in waste,”

Gunning Down the Truth in Michigan

With Rick Santorum polling well in Mitt Romney’s birth state, a high-stakes TV shootout has broken out in Michigan. But some shots are off the mark. An amusing Santorum ad features a Romney look-alike machine-gunning mud at a cardboard cutout of Santorum. But …

What’s the ‘Real’ Jobless Rate?

As the Obama administration basked in the news that the unemployment rate in January dipped to a three-year low of 8.3 percent, Republicans Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich threw a wet blanket on the announcement. Romney said the “real unemployment rate” was actually 15 percent, and Gingrich said that when you include people who have simply given up on trying to find a job, the rate “jumps up to about 12 percent.”
Is the unemployment rate not the real unemployment rate?

Is Santorum the Biggest (Senate) Loser?

Entrepreneur Donald Trump dismissed the surging candidacy of Rick Santorum by claiming that Santorum lost his Senate seat in 2006 by a wider margin than any incumbent senator in history. He’s wrong.
In fact, there have been two dozen incumbent senators who have taken worse beatings than Santorum did in 2006. Trump need only have checked back as far as the 2010 midterm elections — when Democrat Blanche Lincoln lost her Arkansas seat — to find an incumbent senator who lost by a bigger margin than Santorum did.

Disgrace, Influence Peddling and Other Debate Charges

Newt Gingrich complained that in one early burst at the first Florida debate, Mitt Romney said “at least four things that are false” about him. Now Gingrich has specified which claims he was talking about, and we’ve checked the evidence he promised he would — and did — post on his website.
We conclude that two were not false; one was (mostly); and one is a matter of interpretation. In all cases, the claims are in need of further explanation and context.

Misleading Claims in Obama’s First 2012 Spot

President Obama’s first 2012 campaign ad misleads on ethics, “clean-energy” jobs and U.S. dependence on oil imports. The spot uses outdated quotes from groups that said his record on ethics is “unprecedented” and that he “kept a promise to toughen ethics rules.” One of those same …

Gingrich’s Plan: Nearly Zero Tax for Romney

Newt Gingrich joked that he ought to rename his proposed 15 percent flat tax the “Mitt Romney Flat Tax,” so “all Americans would pay the rate Mitt Romney paid.” Actually, not all Americans. Under Gingrich’s tax plan, Romney would likely pay closer to zero percent.
Although he has not released his tax records, Romney this week revealed an approximation of his effective tax rate:
Romney, Jan. 17: What’s the effective rate I’ve been paying? It’s probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything.