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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Spinning Romney’s Debt

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

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

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

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’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 …

Dueling Debt Deceptions

Q: How much has the federal debt gone up under Obama?
A: During his first three years in office, it rose $4.7 trillion, an increase of 45 percent. Partisan graphics circulating via email and Facebook are both incorrect.

Bachmann Wrong on Social Security, Jobs, Debt

Bachmann Wrong on Social Security, Jobs, Debt

Michele Bachmann argued that “my facts are accurate” at the Dec. 15 debate, but a few days later, she got several facts wrong. On “Meet the Press” the presidential candidate had a couple of exchanges with host David Gregory over the validity of her statements on Social Security and the debt. Among the inaccuracies:

Bachmann said she didn’t support the payroll tax cut because “it denied $111 billion to the Social Security trust fund”and “put senior citizens at risk.”

Biden Bungles Talking Point on Debt

Joe Biden mistakenly claimed Americans own 85 percent of U.S. Treasury securities during his visit to China. Americans own 54 percent of the U.S. public debt — that is, the amount of debt held by the public. They own 69 percent of the total debt, which includes money the U.S. government owes itself.
At several stops in China, Vice President Biden sought to reassure the Chinese that their investments in U.S. treasuries are safe.

FactChecking Iowa Debate

FactChecking Iowa Debate

Republican presidential candidates squared off in Ames, Iowa, on Aug. 11, offering claims, criticism and arguments. We found some false and misleading statements among them …

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."