A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Whoppers of 2009

Although 2009 was not an election year, it kept us exceptionally busy, and led to millions of visits to our site. In this year-end summary, we offer some of the worst examples of the falsehoods we encountered during the first year of the Obama administration. The list of howlers includes the false claim that the stimulus bill would dictate …

Obama’s Economic Speech

We’re always alert for signs that the president (any president) is overselling his programs. Here’s what we heard in President Obama’s speech on Tuesday announcing new efforts to create jobs: He highlighted a Congressional Budget Office estimate that “up to” 1.6 million jobs …

Extras: Allentown, Palin, E-mails

This round-up of political tidbits includes an ad pegged to the president’s visit to Allentown, Sarah Palin on Obama’s birth certificate and more chain e-mails.
Working Where in Allentown?
When President Barack Obama traveled to Allentown, Pa., Friday morning to discuss job creation, the Republican National Committee welcomed him with a radio spot questioning the effectiveness of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Unfortunately, by Friday the ad was a day late and a few hundred thousand jobs short.

Stimulus Jobs, Re-revisited

Reports from journalists and the Government Accountability Office last month about problems with the data on Recovery.gov cast doubt on the site’s claim that more than 640,000 jobs had been created or saved by the Obama administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Meanwhile Obama upped the ante, putting the figure at more than 1 million. On Nov. 12, for example, in announcing this month’s jobs summit, he said that the stimulus had “created and saved more than a million jobs.”

Extras: Gore, Dogs, Health Insurance and Bunkmail

Our pre-Thanksgiving round-up of bits and pieces of political bunk includes Al Gore, a fancy new dog park and chain e-mails that refuse to die.

Gore’s too hot
Al Gore overstated a key fact about geothermal energy during a recent appearance on "The Tonight Show":

Gore, Nov. 13: Two kilometers or so down in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, because the interior of the earth is extremely hot — several million degrees.

Recovery Stats Get Rougher

We reported yesterday that the federal government’s Recovery.gov Web site, which purports to track jobs created or saved with stimulus money, was citing new jobs in nonexistent congressional districts. Today a new report from the Government Accountability Office brings news that phantom districts aren’t the only problem.
GAO found almost 4,000 reports that showed jobs created or saved but no money received or expended. Those reports represented more than 50,000 jobs. Recovery.gov’s total job count is 640,329.

Real Jobs, Fake Districts?

The Obama administration’s Recovery.gov Web site is supposed to compile data on actual, real-life jobs filled by companies and states that have received real money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (a.k.a. the stimulus). But the site claims that jobs exist in congressional districts that don’t.
This is a site, by the way, that says it "allows for the reporting of potential fraud, waste, and abuse."
ABC News reported the discrepancies Nov. 16, pointing out that 39 jobs were supposedly created in imaginary districts in Iowa,

Virginia Unemployment Clarification

In our article "Virginia Myths and More," we wrote that some of the federal stimulus money available to Virginia came with a requirement to change the state’s unemployment eligibility rules to give "benefits to part-time workers for the first time." However, an alert reader who works at the Virginia Employment Commission told us that the state has always extended unemployment benefits to part-time workers. We checked in with the VEC, and our article could use some clarification.

Boehner v. Ohio (Reprise)

House Minority Leader John Boehner has again attacked the way his home state is spending its stimulus funds. And again, he’s wrong.
At his weekly news conference, Boehner criticized the Ohio Department of Transportation for using millions of dollars in American Recovery and Reconstruction Act money for a project study, rather than for construction:

Boehner, July 9: As a matter of fact, [ODOT] took $20 million of stimulus funds to — to do a study of a proposed project in southwest Ohio that —

Boehner Wrong on Stimulus Spending

John Boehner, phone home. Or at least check the Ohio Department of Transportation’s highly informative Web site before talking about state road projects on TV.
Last week, Rep. Boehner, the House Republican leader who hails from the Buckeye State, released a video featuring a bloodhound purporting to sniff out jobs created by the $787 billion stimulus package that took effect in February – and finding none. Boehner followed that up with a July 5 interview on “Fox News Sunday,”