A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Distortions Galore at Second Presidential Debate

Both candidates played loose with the facts at the second Presidential Debate in St. Louis Oct. 8. We offer a sampler of the dubious and sometimes false statements made by each of the candidates.

Bush Mischaracterizes Kerry’s Health Plan

A Bush ad claims Kerry’s healthcare proposals would put “big government in charge” of medical decisions. In fact, Kerry’s plan would leave 97% with the insurance they have now — while up to 27 million who aren’t insured would gain coverage.

Kerry Ad Falsely Accuses Cheney on Halliburton

A Kerry ad implies Cheney has a financial interest in Halliburton and is profiting from the company’s contracts in Iraq. The fact is, Cheney doesn’t gain a penny from Halliburton’s contracts, and almost certainly won’t lose even if Halliburton goes bankrupt.

The “Willie Horton” Ad Of 2004?

Republican group’s ad shows Osama, Kerry. It appeals to fear, and twists Kerry’s record on defense, intelligence, Iraq.

Are Bush and Cheney “Small Businesses?” Their Ad Counts Them As Such

A Bush-Cheney ’04 ad claims Kerry would raise taxes on 900,000 small businesses and “hurt jobs.” But it counts every high-salaried person who has even $1 of outside business income as a “small business owner” — a definition so broad that even Bush and Cheney have qualified while in office,

ACLU Ad On “Sneak-and-Peek” Searches: Overblown

The American Civil Liberties Union is running an ad alleging that the USA Patriot Act allows authorities to search homes “without notifying us . . . treating us all like suspects.” That’s not exactly true.