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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Sunday Replay

We found a few claims worthy of comment on the Sunday political talk shows.
On NBC’s "Meet the Press," Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama said that President Obama was being "misleading" when he boasted about General Motors and Chrysler repaying the government:

"Meet the Press" host David Gregory: The president was boasting yesterday that GM and Chrysler have paid off their debts, not completely, but, but, but way ahead of schedule. TARP is now $186 billion back.

Drop in the Bucket? See for Yourself.

In our "What’s in a Number" post on May 7, we noted a clever video by Salt Lake City software developer Matt Shapiro, showing how little $100 million in savings would amount to when compared with the $3.6 trillion in federal spending being proposed by President Obama (about one-quarter of a penny on the scale of the budget being equal to $100.)
Now Matt has come up with a second video to help us wrap our brains around the latest figures.

What’s in a Number?

On April 20, President Barack Obama caused a bit of a splash when he gathered members of his Cabinet and directed them to cut (collectively) $100 million in expenses within the next 90 days. Now that sounds like a lot of money. And we’re not ones to complain about cutting costs when the Congressional Budget Office estimated the deficit to be $1.2 trillion in 2009 alone — and that was before accounting for the cost of the stimulus bill.

100 Days of Spin

After 100 days in office, we find President Obama is sticking to the facts – mostly. Nevertheless, we find that the president has occasionally made claims that put him and his policies in a better light than the facts warrant. He has claimed that private economists agreed with the forecast in …

Obama’s Prime Time Pitch

President Obama sometimes strayed from the facts or made dubious claims during his hour-long evening news conference March 24. He said his budget projections are based on economic assumptions that “are perfectly consistent with what Blue Chip forecasters out there are saying.” Not true. The average projection by leading …

Obama and the Deficit

During a speech on Tuesday, President Obama promised to reduce the budget deficit:
Obama: Now, this budget does not attempt to solve every problem or address every issue because of the massive deficit we inherited and the enormous costs of this financial crisis. We have made some tough choices that will cut our deficit in half by the end of my first term and reduce it by $2 trillion over the next decade.
To start, we want to clarify that Obama is talking about the budget deficit (the amount of money the government spends in a given year minus what it takes in),

Debtor Nation

On "FOX News Sunday" on March 1, Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona castigated Obama’s budget for expanding the country’s public debt. Obama’s budget certainly projects rapid growth in red ink. But Kyl’s attacks could use some context and correction.
 
Kyl: This budget adds more debt to our country’s future than all of the debt from 1789 when George Washington was president right up through Franklin Roosevelt and – and Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush.

You Ask, We Answer

That’s the idea behind our Ask FactCheck feature on themain site.
This week, we looked into a suspicious quote allegedly from President-elect Barack Obama, speaking about urgent gun policy changes. The reader who sent it to us wasn’t convinced it was legitimate, and our reporting showed it was almost certainly a fabrication. The quote claims Obama told a "VPC Fund Raiser" in 2007 that "[i]n the first year, I intend to work with Congress on a national no carry law,

$42,000 a year

McCain has claimed yet again that Sen. Obama “voted twice for a budget resolution to increase taxes on individuals making $42,000 a year.” As we’ve reported, a single taxpayer making more than $41,500 would have seen a tax increase, but a couple filing jointly would have seen no increase unless they made at least $83,000, and for a couple with two children the cut-off would have been $90,000. Regardless, the increase that Obama once supported as part of a Democratic budget bill is not part of his current tax plan.

The Whoppers of 2008

Summary
Normally we post a “Whoppers” compilation the week before Election Day. This time we’ve already seen such a large number of twisted facts, misleading claims and outright falsehoods that we are doing that now.
It’s not just Sarah Palin’s claim about killing the bridge project that she had supported until it became a national laughingstock and Congress turned against it. That’s just the whopper that got the attention of many news organizations earlier this month.