On April 20, President Barack Obama caused a bit of a splash when he gathered members of his Cabinet and directed them to cut (collectively) $100 million in expenses within the next 90 days. Now that sounds like a lot of money. And we’re not ones to complain about cutting costs when the Congressional Budget Office estimated the deficit to be $1.2 trillion in 2009 alone — and that was before accounting for the cost of the stimulus bill.
In the New York Times‘ "Caucus" blog today, Kate Phillips offers a well-documented and thorough analysis of a lingering controversy: Did Winston Churchill really say about torture what President Obama says he did?
There has been considerable back-and-forth elsewhere regarding this passage in the president’s "100 days" news conference:
Obama, April 29: I was struck by an article that I was reading the other day, talking about the fact that the British during World War II,
At President Obama’s April 29 news conference, he claimed that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has "already saved or created over 150,000 jobs." Wait a minute. Isn’t the number of jobs actually plummeting?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy lost more than 1.3 million jobs in the two months after he took office, and it has probably lost at least another half-million in April. The day after Obama spoke, the Department of Labor announced that another 631,000 workers (seasonally adjusted) had filed new claims for unemployment insurance the previous week.
When we posted a FactCheck Wire item last week about a dispute between White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and longtime correspondent Helen Thomas, we were surprised that Gibbs didn’t know President Obama had taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago’s law school. That’s a fact that had come up many times during the campaign, after all, including during a kerfuffle about whether Obama had the right to call himself a "professor."
Well, sometimes you have to walk a story back so far it falls off a cliff.
Is Obama shying away from the Freedom of Choice Act?
When CNN correspondent Ed Henry asked the president about his current thinking on FOCA at last night’s White House press conference, Obama used very different language than he did during the campaign.
In 2008, as we noted in our Ask FactCheck item on FOCA, Obama told a Planned Parenthood audience: "The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. Now that’s the first thing I’d do."
You can’t spell "pandemic" without "panic," and news about swine flu has put people in a tizzy. As with any tizzy, this has resulted in some misinformation getting mixed in with the real-time updates. We present a few misconceptions about swine flu that we’ve seen or heard in the last few days.
1. You can get swine flu from eating pork.
No more than you can get avian flu from eating birds, human flu from eating humans,
Sen. Arlen Specter’s remarks about changing political parties contained one statement that tripped our fact-checking radar: "Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats."
Two hundred thousand people in one state changing their political colors from red to blue? Could it be true? Unfortunately, there’s no way to be certain. That’s because, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State, "Pennsylvania’s voter registration form does not require the registrant to specify from which party they are changing."
Blogs, news organizations and Twitter are all exploding with rumor and fact about the swine flu outbreak. But at the National Academy of Sciences today, President Obama said there was no need to panic:
Obama: We are closely monitoring the emerging cases of swine flu in the United States. And this is obviously a cause for concern and requires a heightened state of alert. But it’s not a cause for alarm.
So what’s the real terror alert level on swine flu?
Americans United For Change, a liberal labor-funded group, has released a new ad accusing congressional Republicans of opposing "progress."
The ad accuses Republicans of voting against children’s health insurance, equal pay for women, economic recovery, middle-class tax cuts and a budget that would lead to "long-term prosperity." We’ve called this group out before for unfounded claims about the Republican agenda, but this ad sticks closer to the truth. Democrats did push through bills on expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program and guaranteeing equal pay for women,
We’ve been getting lots — you might even say a vast number — of queries about a new chain e-mail making the rounds. It’s about everyone’s new favorite topic: pirates. And the e-mail simultaneously praises the Navy SEALs who dramatically rescued Capt. Richard Phillips from three Somali pirates April 12 while blaming President Obama for failing to act more quickly. You may have seen the e-mail, even if you’re not one of the 46 people (so far) who have forwarded it to us in the past five days.