A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Homestretch Fact-Stretchers

In the homestretch to Election Day, both sides stretch the facts in their TV spots. President Obama greatly exaggerates his differences with Mitt Romney over troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, while Romney repeats a false claim that the president plans a $4,000 tax increase on “the middle class.”
First the Obama ad, and its multiple exaggerations:
The ad says, “President Obama ended the Iraq war. Mitt Romney would have left 30,000 troops there and called bringing them home ‘tragic.’”

Cheney Ad ‘Hasty’ with Quotes

Liz Cheney's group quotes U.S. military leaders out of context to attack President Obama's Afghanistan policy.
Keep America Safe, which is headed by the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is airing a TV ad that uses brief video clips of congressional testimony given by Gen. David Petraeus and Adm. Mike Mullen to support its claim that Obama's plan to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan will put U.S. soldiers at greater risk. It's true that both military leaders recommended maintaining higher troop levels.

TSA Not to Blame for This

Q: Did TSA confiscate nail clippers from a soldier returning on a military charter from Afghanistan, but allow him to keep his military weapon?
A: This tale from an anonymous source is an impossible fabrication. TSA doesn’t list nail clippers as prohibited items, doesn’t screen military charters arriving in Indianapolis, and has no access to the terminal in question.

Obama, Ohio Jobs and Bailout Bonuses

In episode 29 of our podcast, we debunk a claim made by President Obama about Afghanistan, dueling ads about jobs in the Ohio Senate race, and an Arizona ad that makes an overblown assertion about executive bonuses and the stimulus.

For more on the stories discussed in this episode, see:
'Second Poorest' Nation?  Sept. 13
Bush Years Revisited in Ohio Senate Race  Sept. 10
A Record Jobs Loss?  Sept. 16
Bailout Bonuses Are Back  Sept. 16

‘Second Poorest’ Nation?

In a September 10 press conference, President Barack Obama characterized Afghanistan as "the second poorest country in the world." It’s an impoverished country indeed, but second poorest? The CIA World Factbook doesn’t think so.
It lists Afghanistan as number 210 of 227, with a per capita gross domestic product of $1,000 in 2009. That’s orders of magnitude lower than the richest country, Liechtenstein, with a GDP of $122,100 per person — but it’s much higher than the per capita GDP of the actual second poorest country,

Jerry Brown, Abortion Providers and Afghanistan Withdrawal

In Episode 19 of FactCheck Radio, we look at a false ad from California GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman about her Democratic opponent Jerry Brown’s supposed "legacy of failure." We also examine whether Bill McCollum has really supported abortion providers, as his opponent charges in the Republican primary for the Florida governor’s contest. And we go back to what Obama really did say about the plans for U.S. troops in Afghanistan in July 2011.

For more on the stories discussed in this episode,

Sunday Replay

Politicians didn’t take a holiday from false and misleading statements on July 4. We found misstatements on the Sunday talk shows that touched on Afghanistan, Michael Steele and immigration.
A Firm Date for … What Exactly?
On ABC’s "This Week," Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona made it sound as though President Obama would pull all troops out of Afghanistan in July 2011, regardless of what happens in the country. But the president never promised that all troops,

Kagan, Afghanistan and NH Senate Race

In episode 18 of FactCheck Radio, we look at claims from the Sunday political talk shows about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, health care, Afghanistan and kidnappings in Phoenix. Plus, we talk about a false ad from Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes, targeting Republican Kelly Ayotte in the New Hampshire Senate race.

For more on the stories discussed in this episode, see:
Sunday Replay June 28
Hodes Deletes Truth in NH Senate Race June 30

Sunday Replay

On the Sunday before confirmation hearings kicked off for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, we heard several misleading comments having to do with her or nominations of earlier years. We also found no evidence to back up Sen. John Cornyn’s claim that the new health care law was negatively impacting seniors’ access to health care. And Sen. Lindsey Graham’s assertion that Rahm Emanuel said it’s administration "policy" to pull troops out of Afghanistan "in large numbers"

A Short Piece on Obama’s Peace Speech

Yesterday President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, and made some remarks that could use a bit of context and explanation.
Obama said that "billions have been lifted from poverty." Though he didn’t provide a time frame, he was discussing the effects of the United Nations and the Marshall Plan, both of which began in the late 1940s. We haven’t been able to find any reliable statistics that go back that far,