A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Twisting Cochran’s Record

A TV ad from a tea party group plays word games in an attempt to align Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran with President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on health care, immigration and the federal debt.

Defining Default

President Obama says failing to raise the debt limit will “force the United States to default on its obligations.” Sen. Rand Paul contends “there’s no reason for us to default.” Who’s right?

CNN/Tea Party Debate

The GOP presidential candidates debated for the second time in six days — tossing out a variety of false and misleading claims on everything from Social Security to vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases. …

Debt Limit Debate Round-Up

The last few weeks have been filled with debate, accusations, stalemate and false claims about the debt ceiling and how — and whether — it should be raised. As the Aug. 2 default deadline looms, here’s a look at the less-than-factual talking points …

Default ‘Danger’ Revisited

President Obama's communications director said we’ve "never" been in danger of defaulting before. That's not true. Congress has come close to failing to raise the debt ceiling before defaulting more than once in recent years, under both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer appeared on CNN's "John King USA" on July 26, and he told guest-host Jessica Yellin that "in the 200-plus years of our country, we've never been in a situation where we have been in danger of defaulting on our obligations."

McConnell’s Debt Claim ‘Rejected’

Sen. Mitch McConnell wrongly claimed President Obama "rejected the only plan the Democrats have proposed" to raise the debt ceiling. That's not true. The White House has explicitly supported the proposal.
The Senate minority leader made the false statement in a July 26 speech on the Senate floor.

McConnell, July 26: Last night the president rejected not just the only proposal that has passed either house of Congress, he rejected the only plan the Democrats have proposed as well —

FactChecking Dueling Debt Speeches

The president and House speaker restated familiar positions in their dueling debt ceiling speeches, but they took their points too far at times or made them without enough context. …

Ron Paul Ad Invokes Reagan, Imprecisely

Ron Paul wrongly suggests Ronald Reagan reluctantly agreed to a "debt ceiling compromise" in 1987. There was no disagreement over raising the debt ceiling. In fact, Reagan said he had "no objection whatsoever" to raising the debt ceiling. Reagan opposed the main provision of the legislation that threatened to impose deep spending cuts, including to the military, if the president and Congress did not reduce the deficit by a certain amount.
Paul, the populist Texas congressman who is running for the Republican presidential nomination,

Twists and Turns on the Debt

Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Xavier Becerra made misstatements about the debt ceiling debate and Social Security. McConnell, R-Ky., was incorrect when he claimed that "nobody is talking about not raising the debt ceiling." In fact, Rep. Michele Bachmann said she would not vote to raise the debt limit in her first presidential ad that began airing on Friday.
Becerra, D-Calif., repeated a false Democratic talking point when he claimed that "Social Security hasn't contributed 1 cent to …