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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Dems, GOP Exaggerate Spending ‘Cuts’

Senate Democratic leaders, under pressure from Republicans to cut the budget, have been misleading the public by claiming they already have "cut" spending by $41 billion.
The fact is that the Democrats haven’t "cut" any spending. Congress hasn’t passed a budget for fiscal year 2011, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says federal spending continues to rise.
First a little background: House Republicans passed legislation in the early morning of Feb. 19 that would fund the federal government for fiscal year 2011.

Obama Bungles Budget Line

President Barack Obama messed up one of his favorite talking points about his 2012 budget proposal at a small business forum in Cleveland.
The president claimed that “I’ve designed a budget that freezes spending for five years and will help reduce the deficit by $400 billion over the next decade to the lowest level since Dwight Eisenhower was president.” That’s not even close to being true.
According to the fiscal year 2012 budget unveiled on Feb.

Rumsfeld on the World’s View of America

Donald Rumsfeld wrongly denied that the U.S. is viewed more favorably under President Barack Obama than it was under President George W. Bush. In fact, residents of several nations including Britain, Germany, France and China view the U.S. more favorably, according to a survey released last year by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project.
Rumsfeld, who served as Defense Secretary under Bush, told CNN’s Candy Crowley that he didn’t think there was any evidence to support claims that residents of other nations have a more favorable opinion of America than they used to:


Prison for Lying?

A former candidate is going to prison for lying — but not for lying to voters.
We’ve often pointed out that the First Amendment gives candidates the right to say pretty much whatever they want to voters — whether it’s true or not. That’s why we make it our mission to help voters sort out fact from fiction.
But on Feb. 14, a federal judge sentenced former House candidate Tan Nguyen to one year and one day in federal prison for lying —

Liberal Ads Oversell Health Care Law

A liberal group has launched several radio ads criticizing House Republicans who voted to repeal the health care law. But some of the claims lack needed context and may give listeners the impression that the law’s benefits are more extensive than they really are.
Americans United for Change produced the ads in conjunction with the liberal blogs the Daily Kos and Blue America, and so far, they target Reps. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Charlie Bass of New Hampshire,

Rahm’s Plan: Tax Cut or ‘Largest’ Hike in History?

Rahm Emanuel and his leading opponent are airing less-than-truthful TV ads about taxes in the closing days of Chicago's Feb. 22 mayoral election.
In dueling ads, Emanuel and fellow Democrat Gery Chico spar over sales taxes. Emanuel says his plan will "lower taxes," and leave "more money in your pocket." But it will not lower taxes. The plan will lower the sales tax rate, but broaden the tax base to include as-yet undefined "luxury services."

Obama’s Tax Tale

During a Super Bowl XLV pregame interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, President Barack Obama claimed that he "didn’t raise taxes once" during his first two years in office. Cigarette smokers and fans of indoor tanning may be among those to disagree with that statement.

O’Reilly, Feb. 6: Do you deny the assessment? Do you deny that you are a man who wants to redistribute wealth.
Obama: Absolutely.
O’Reilly: You deny that?
Obama: Absolutely. I didn’t raise taxes once,

FactChecking Dodgy British Claims

Every now and then, we like to check in on what our British cousin is up to, just to remind ourselves that Americans have no monopoly on political spin.
The FactCheck Blog is a project of a TV network, Channel 4 News, and it regularly skewers British politicians for false, misleading or exaggerated claims. It’s written by political correspondent Cathy Newman. The politicians’ names are different, but the issues and the malarkey will sound familiar.

The head of Britain’s biggest labor union claimed the United Kingdom’s budget deficit is "not high by either historical or contemporary standards.”

Schumer Exaggerates Proposed Defense Cuts

Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York exaggerated Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ plan to cut military spending during an exchange with Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation.”
Schumer criticized a group of conservative Republicans for proposing a bill to cut non-defense federal spending by $2.5 trillion through fiscal year 2021:

Schumer, Jan. 23: But for instance, they leave the military totally out. … But everyone knows there’s waste and inefficiency in the military budget. Defense Secretary Gates has proposed cutting a hundred fifty billion dollars out of it.

Job Loss, Health Care and Bankruptcy

Former Bush adviser Karen Hughes and Democratic Rep. James Clyburn both twisted facts to make partisan points on "Meet the Press."
Hughes claimed that the "vast majority" of recent job losses happened under President Obama, when in fact slightly more jobs were lost when her former boss George W. Bush was president.  And Clyburn claimed that inadequate health insurance is "the biggest cause" of personal bankruptcies, which isn’t quite true either. Health costs are a contributing factor to most bankruptcies,