A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Should Murray Worry?

An attack ad from a Republican-leaning group accuses Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of abusing "families" and "children" — but provides no support for those claims. The group’s website even criticizes Murray for casting a vote in favor of expanding health insurance to millions of children — a vote also cast by the group’s own CEO, former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.

The ad by the American Action Network began airing July 13 in Washington state with an initial buy of more than $750,000.

Anti-Reid Ad Distorts Truth on Stimulus, Unemployment

American Crossroads — a political committee headed by former Republican National Committee chairman Mike Duncan — once again attacks Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada in an ad released July 15. The new ad, titled "Really? Harry Reprise," falsely claims that Nevada received less stimulus money than all but one state.
It also misrepresents the state’s first-in-the-nation unemployment rate, making it seem worse than it is.

On stimulus funding, the ad says: "Recent data show Nevada ranks 50th in the money received from Harry’s stimulus bill."

McCollum’s Misleading Accusations

There’s more misinformation in the ugly Florida governor’s race, this time from Attorney General Bill McCollum. He claims his GOP primary opponent Rick Scott "personally" got millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds.

The ad, titled “Inner Tube,” says: “Scott tried to hide the fact that he personally bagged millions from the Obama stimulus.” That refers to $63 million in stimulus funding that went to a company named XFone, to expand broadband service to rural areas.

Boyd’s Ad on Florida Jobs Stretches Truth

Democratic Rep. Allen Boyd of Florida is running a TV ad falsely accusing his primary opponent of having "killed jobs," while exaggerating his own record for creating jobs.

The ad, titled “Job Killer,” has been airing since May 20 in Boyd’s North Florida district.
Job Killer?
Rep. Boyd’s ad goes too far when it charges that his rival, state Sen. Al Lawson, “killed” transportation and hospital jobs when he voted for the fiscal year 2011 state budget.

Over the Top on TARP

It’s always fascinating to watch history being rewritten before one’s very eyes. A fresh example comes courtesy of the National Republican Congressional Committee, in a cookie-cutter press release attacking Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia and a slew of his fellow Democrats.
We were sent a version of the release headlined "New Poll: Americans at Odds with Connolly’s [or other Democrat’s] Stimulus." It cites a new Pew Research Center poll that shows most Americans don’t believe the $787 billion stimulus bill,

Mis-Tweets on Twitter

Mis-tweet
v. To use Twitter to mislead your followers.
For providing false and misleading information, a 30-second TV spot crafted by a seasoned media consultant is still king. But there’s another medium this campaign year that makes …

Stimulus Jobs: The Fine Print

The White House announced April 14 that a new report shows that the Recovery Act has been responsible for 2.2 million to 2.8 million jobs through the end of March. As always, we advise reading the fine print.
As we’ve written before, it’s not possible to know what might have happened had the $787 billion economic stimulus bill not been enacted and signed into law more than a year ago, on Feb. 17, 2009. Economists can only estimate.

Optimistic Job Stats

Christina Romer, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, talked jobs with NBC "Meet the Press" host David Gregory on Sunday. The interview came a few days after the release of encouraging numbers — employment rose by 162,000 in March, the biggest one-month increase in three years. A few of Romer’s optimistic comments, though, could use some context.
Even though the number of Americans with jobs went up, the unemployment rate — 9.7 percent —

Stimulus Saves First Lady’s Brother?

We figured that people would recognize this latest chain e-mail for the hoax that it is. It makes a ridiculously false claim about Craig Robinson, who is the head coach of Oregon State University’s men’s basketball team and First Lady Michelle Obama’s older brother. But judging from the number of times we’ve been asked about this since the beginning of March, we were wrong. The author of this bogus e-rumor must be suffering from a different kind of “March Madness”

Counting Conundrum

We’ve been questioning the Obama administration’s claim that the stimulus bill would "save or create more than 3.5 million jobs" since the president began saying it. In February, we pointed out that although several economists made such a projection, they all said there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding these estimates. Late last year, the administration’s effort to count actual stimulus-created (or saved) jobs was plagued by the reporting of jobs in nonexistent congressional districts. And now,