A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Facing Facts on Fiscal Cliff

The U.S. faces the possibility of another recession — the third in 11 years — if President Obama and Congress cannot find a way to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. The one-two combination of massive tax increases and spending cuts …

Durbin (Again) Denies Social Security’s Red Ink

Sen. Richard Durbin says that “Social Security does not add one penny to our debt.” That’s false. It was wrong 21 months ago, when Durbin said it once before, and it’s even more off the mark now.
The federal government for the first time in its history had to borrow money in 2010 to cover Social Security benefits to retired and disabled workers — a trend that worsened in 2011 and will not change at any point in the future unless changes are made.

The ‘Facts’ According to Obama and Romney Ads

In dueling ads, the Obama and Romney campaigns claim the factual high ground on deficits and taxes while, ironically, distorting the facts.

An Obama ad uses a truncated quote that makes NBC’s Andrea Mitchell seem to contradict Romney’s statement that his tax plan doesn’t amount to a $5 trillion cut. In fact, she went on to say Romney “said again tonight that his plan would be paid for.”
A Romney ad claims Obama is “adding almost as much debt as all 43 previous presidents combined.”

Obama’s Numbers

For more than a year, we’ve been pointing out on a regular basis how President Obama, his allies and his critics all misuse or even fabricate statistics to give voters a skewed picture of reality. This time we’ll just offer the accurate numbers. Here — in a graphic …

Romney, Obama Court Moms, Distort Facts

Mitt Romney and President Obama each distort the facts in TV ads aimed at young mothers:

Romney’s ad falsely attributes the nation’s $16 trillion debt all to Obama when it says “your share of Obama’s debt is over $50,000.” The total public debt was $10.6 trillion when Obama took office, and he inherited a $1 trillion-plus deficit in his first year.
Obama’s ad claims Romney’s tax plan “could take away middle-class deductions for child care, home mortgages and college tuition,”

Spinning Romney’s Debt

An ad from the Obama campaign claims Massachusetts ranked No. 1 in state debt per person when Mitt Romney was governor. It’s true, but there’s less there than meets the eye. Massachusetts has historically been a high-debt state. Massachusetts has ranked either first or second in debt per capita in each of the past 11 years. It was second when Romney took office, not a far leap to first place. One could even argue that Romney slowed the growth rate of long-term debt compared with the four years before he took office.

Obama Twists Romney’s Economic Record

A new ad from the Obama campaign takes aim at Mitt Romney’s performance as governor of Massachusetts, claiming he had “one of the worst economic records in the country.” But the ad overreaches with several of its claims. The ad states that job creation …

Good Debt Chart, Hyped Narration

A visually striking new ad from a Republican Senate candidate provides a stark image of the U.S. debt problem — and almost gets the numbers right.
The 30-second spot hit the airwaves in Wisconsin April 7. It shows GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde climbing up the foothills of an Everest-like graph depicting the soaring federal debt.
Hovde’s scary-looking chart is accurate. But as he speaks, he exaggerates both the degree of current borrowing, and how U.S.

Santorum-boosting PAC Slams Romney, Obama

Two new TV ads from a pro-Rick Santorum super PAC attack Mitt Romney and President Obama on Republican hot button issues: debt, taxes and oil. But the ads mislead on several fronts. One ad states that Romney supported …

Tea Party’s Targets

Tea party-aligned FreedomWorks for America has launched campaigns against several Republicans whom it deems too moderate, including Senate veterans Orrin Hatch and Richard Lugar. But some of the group’s claims miss the mark. A TV ad targeting Hatch …