A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

South Carolina Smackdown

Facts were sometimes used as blunt instruments as the four remaining GOP presidential candidates hammered away at each other in the last debate before Saturday’s South Carolina primary. Santorum and Romney tangled …

Gingrich Makes a French Connection

Newt Gingrich attacks Mitt Romney once again, this time in a Web video that bashes Romney for raising taxes, giving money to Democrats (back in 1992) and — sacre bleu! — speaking French. But a few of the claims, besides the French one, could use some context.
The one-minute video says that Romney “donated to Democrats.” That’s true, but voters might want to know that he gave a total of $1,500 to three congressional candidates 20 years ago,

Gingrich’s ‘Baloney’-filled Attacks on Romney

Newt Gingrich is out with two new attacks on Mitt Romney: an ad airing in South Carolina that tries to brand Romney as a “pro-abortion” governor, and a nearly three-minute Web video that gauges Romney statements on a “Baloney-O-Meter.” We found a bit of baloney in both …

Attacks Against Gingrich: How Accurate?

Summary
A pro-Romney group is savaging Newt Gingrich with TV ads and mailers to Iowa Republicans. Gingrich dismisses the attacks as “lies.” We find that some of the claims from Restore Our Future are indeed distorted, false or misleading. But several are also right on target.

A TV spot makes a distorted claim that Gingrich co-sponsored a bill containing money for a United Nations program “supporting China’s brutal one-child policy.” The truth is that bill specifically prohibited the use of funds for “involuntary sterilization or abortion,” or “the coercion of any person to accept family planning services.” The funding in question was a small part of a much larger bill which died before ever coming up for a vote.

Flipping Through DNC Playbook on Romney

The Democratic National Committee casts Mitt Romney as an untrustworthy flip-flopper in a lengthy Web video, but pads a long list of examples with some falsehoods and distortions. It’s true that Romney has changed or modified his position on some major issues — including abortion, a federal assault weapons ban and Reaganomics, as the DNC says. But the video strains the truth …

Cain’s Pattern of Evasion and Misdirection

Herman Cain’s prevarications about how accusations of sexual harassment were settled are only the most recent example of the candidate’s penchant for making contradictory statements on major issues. He also has made a habit of telling untruths about his own stance on abortion and about his signature 9-9-9 …

Cain’s False Attack on Planned Parenthood

Herman Cain has offered an alternate version of history in claiming that Planned Parenthood’s founder wanted to prevent “black babies from being born.” We find no support for that old claim. Cain also states that the organization built 75 percent of its clinics in black communities, but there’s no evidence that was true then. And today, only 9 percent of U.S. abortion clinics are in neighborhoods where half or more of residents are black, according to the most recent statistics.

FactChecking Santorum

Next up in our occasional look at past misstatements by presidential candidates: Rick Santorum. The former Pennsylvania senator announced his candidacy today. We have checked just a few claims from Santorum, who served in the Senate from 1995 to 2007.

He wrongly claimed in March that "one in three pregnancies end in abortion" in the United States when saying that abortion was to blame for funding problems for Social Security and Medicare. Santorum said on a radio talk show: "The reason Social Security is in big trouble is we don’t have enough workers to support the retirees.

Planned Parenthood

Q: How much of Planned Parenthood’s services are dedicated to abortions? Does the federal government fund those procedures?
A: Abortions represent 3 percent of total services provided by Planned Parenthood, and roughly 10 percent of its clients received an abortion. The group does receive federal funding, but the money cannot be used for abortions by law.

Santorum Wrong on Abortion, Birth Facts

Rick Santorum incorrectly stated that “one in three pregnancies end in abortion” in the United States. It’s actually fewer than one in four.
Santorum appeared on a New Hampshire radio talk show, blaming abortions for “causing Social Security and Medicare to be underfunded.” But he not only misstated the abortion statistic, he also got it wrong when he said that “our birthrate is now below replacement rate for the first time in our history.” The total fertility rate,