A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Bay State Battle

In the Massachusetts special election campaign for the Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy, the conservative American Future Fund and Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley’s campaign are on the air with misleading attack ads. AFF’s ad uses a Coakley quote, “We need to get taxes up,” to portray her as a tax-hiker. But …

The United States of Interpol?

Q: Did Obama sign an order giving Interpol the right to police the U.S.?
A: No. The executive order Obama signed in December simply gives Interpol the same privileges that other international organizations operating in the U.S. already have.

Health Care and the Founding Fathers

Expect January to be dominated by House-Senate wrangling over the final shape of the gargantuan bill to overhaul the nation’s health insurance system.
Some opponents of the measures, though, are readying themselves for another potential fight, this one in the courts. An Arkansas group called the Conservative Action Project says it believes the overhaul is unconstitutional, and it is preparing to sue to stop it from taking effect, according to several conservative blogs (we attempted to reach someone at the organization but were unsuccessful).

International Gun Ban Treaty?

Q: Has Obama found a "legal way around the Second Amendment"?
A: The administration’s agreement to talk about writing a United Nations treaty to regulate arms exports and imports is a far cry from banning possession of firearms, which Obama says he doesn’t want to do and the Supreme Court has said can’t be done anyway.

Public Financing Comes to Wisconsin Supreme Court

Prompted by escalating campaign spending and the increasing use of attack ads, Wisconsin state legislators and Gov. Jim Doyle have enacted a bill to provide public financing for the Supreme Court’s candidates.
Would-be justices would qualify for the funds by agreeing to limit spending and by raising small sums totaling between $5,000 and $15,000 from 1,000 different contributors. They could then receive up to $100,000 for a primary race and up to $300,000 for a general election – which,

Stimulus Jobs, Re-revisited

Reports from journalists and the Government Accountability Office last month about problems with the data on Recovery.gov cast doubt on the site’s claim that more than 640,000 jobs had been created or saved by the Obama administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Meanwhile Obama upped the ante, putting the figure at more than 1 million. On Nov. 12, for example, in announcing this month’s jobs summit, he said that the stimulus had “created and saved more than a million jobs.”

A Premium Freeze? Don’t Believe It.

In defense of House members who are under attack for supporting that body’s health care bill, two liberal-leaning organizations are on the air with ads that go overboard in describing the wonders of the legislation.
Americans United for Change and a labor union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, say they’re spending $1.7 million to run the cookie-cutter spots in 13 congressional districts where lawmakers have been hit with attack ads from the U.S.

Health Care and the Economy

Would the House-passed health care bill make a tough economy worse and wipe out more jobs, as claimed in a TV ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? Or would it help small business and encourage economic growth, as claimed in an ad sponsored by a big labor union …

Boehner Misrepresents FactCheck.org’s Findings

Last week House Republican Leader John Boehner’s office issued a "Leader Alert" titled "10 Facts Every American Should Know About Speaker Pelosi’s 1,990-Page Gov’t Takeover of Health Care."
It’s a partisan document containing misleading characterizations of the bill. But the bullet point that bothers us most is #2, which reads:

MASSIVE CUTS TO MEDICARE BENEFITS FOR SENIORS. Despite grave warnings from CBO, FactCheck.org, and the independent Lewin Group that cuts to Medicare of the magnitude included in Speaker Pelosi’s bill would have a negative impact on seniors’

Court Watch: Pennsylvania Slime

In another installment of our occasional Court Watch series, we look at mudslinging in the final days of the contest to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in Pennsylvania. In one ad, the state GOP alleges that Democratic candidate Jack Panella, a Superior Court judge, “turned his back” on the wrongful imprisonment of hundreds …