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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

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 …

Education Spin

Last year, the president touted U.S. gains in education, saying that our “fourth- and eighth-graders achieved the highest math scores on record.” He bragged that “African-American and Hispanic students posted all-time highs.” Last week, the president said those eighth-graders weren’t so great at math after all …

Obama’s Misleading Education Stat

We’ve noticed that in talking about education, politicians like to use statistics that show the U.S. is way behind other countries. That certainly makes it easier to tout whatever education policies the pols are pushing. But sometimes kids in the U.S. perform better than politicians make it sound.
Our colleagues at PolitiFact.com caught President Obama misleadingly claiming last week that “In eighth grade math, we’ve fallen to ninth place.” U.S. eighth graders are in ninth place,

McCain Mentions Us

It wasn’t exactly in a favorable light, per se.
On NPR’s “Morning Edition” today, anchor Steve Inskeep asked Sen. John McCain about balancing honor and winning in a campaign that Inskeep called “brutal.” In their conversation, Inskeep asked about a particular ad that we found to be “false”:

Inskeep: Have you come back to your advisers at any point and said, “That ad,” like for example the ad that ran with your name on it saying that Barack Obama supported comprehensive sex education for primary school students,

Still Off Base on Sex Ed

Several readers have written to us objecting to our story “Off Base on Sex Ed,” which said a McCain ad on sex education was “simply false.” These readers cite a story in the conservative National Review by Byron York headlined, “On Sex-Ed Ad, McCain Is Right.”
York is certainly entitled to his interpretation of the ad. We have read his article, which doesn’t mention FactCheck.org or our story, and we still find an ad that says Obama’s “one accomplishment”

More on the Phantom 62 Percent

In our recent article “Sliming Palin,” we addressed the pervasive rumor that Gov. Palin slashed funding for special needs education. She didn’t. Instead, she increased funding. Here’s more detail on how an increase got mistaken for a 62 percent decrease.
The evidence that’s been cited to support the false decrease claim:

The special schools component of the education budget for fiscal year 2007, before Palin was governor, was $8.3 million.
The special schools budget for 2008 was $3.2 million.

School Funding Misleads

Summary
A new Obama-Biden ad includes misleading claims about McCain and education spending:

It says McCain "voted to cut education funding" and lists five votes. But one was a vote for increased education funding, although for fewer dollars than what Democrats may have wanted. And three others were votes against additional funding, not votes for funding cuts.
The ad says that "McCain’s economic plan gives $200 billion more to special interests while taking money away from public schools."

Richardson Flunks Two Subjects

Summary
Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, has claimed again and again U.S. students, from kindergarten through 12th grade, are ranked 29th in the world in math and science. He claims they used to be No. 1, too. But none of that is true.
The two leading international assessments of student achievement rank U.S. students better in all cases, and in most cases much better, than Richardson claims. Furthermore, neither of them even tries to cover all grades K through 12.

Democratic Debate Part 3

We caught a few candidates off base at the third debate among Democratic contenders for the 2008 presidential nomination.

Leaps of Logic in a Nevada Primary

Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus and Jim Gibson, mayor of Henderson, NV, are again trading barbs through television ads across the Silver State.