A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Bill Clinton: Give Me a Break

A new Romney ad would have viewers believe that former President Bill Clinton was commenting on President Obama’s handling of the economy when he said, “Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.” That’s false. Clinton’s 2008 comment was aimed at Obama’s portrayal of Hillary Clinton as supporting Iraq war policies.
The ad comes on the heels of Clinton’s rousing endorsement of Obama during the Democratic National Convention, a speech more people considered to be the highlight of the Democratic convention than Obama’s own speech.

Our Clinton Nightmare

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former President Bill Clinton’s stem-winding nomination speech was a fact-checker’s nightmare: lots of effort required to run down his many statistics and factual claims, producing little for us to write about.
Republicans will find plenty of Clinton’s scorching opinions objectionable. But with few exceptions, we found his stats checked out.
Overselling ‘Obamacare’
The worst we could fault him for was a suggestion that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act was responsible for bringing down the rate of increase in health care spending,

Obama Gets Caught Up in Red Tape

President Barack Obama incorrectly claimed his administration has undertaken an "unprecedented" review of burdensome regulations. In fact, every president since at least Jimmy Carter has done similar reviews, including one under Bill Clinton that resulted in the elimination of more than 16,000 pages of federal regulations.
Obama made his claim during his hour-long press conference on June 29:

Obama, June 29: But what I have done — and this is unprecedented, by the way, no administration has done this before —

Sunday Replay

The talk shows’ factual failures included misinformation from Karl Rove (about write-in ballots in Alaska), from a former president (about college graduation rates and health in the U.S.) and from a current one (of Iran, about several topics).
Rove’s Spelling Lesson
Republican strategist Karl Rove overstated a legal barrier confronting GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in her bid to win reelection as a write-in candidate. Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," he said:

Rove: [Murkowski] can’t win.

Sunday Replay

Did someone in the White House commit a federal misdemeanor by getting involved in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary? A leading Republican House member says yes, but he’s contradicted by a former U.S. attorney general from the Bush administration.
That’s our first subject in this holiday-delayed issue of "Sunday Replay," where we regularly dissect factual claims made on weekend public affairs shows. We also fact-checked a few statements about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

NAFTA/CAFTA Blame Game

A union-sponsored ad charges that Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s support of "unfair" trade deals "made it impossible for American workers to compete." But several economic studies say trade deals, like the North American Free Trade Agreement, have had a small impact, or even a positive one, on American jobs.

As we said last week, this ad starts with a true claim about union workers at a Cooper Tire plant making wage concessions to ward off a threatened closure.

The ‘Class Act’ E-mail

Q: Was Bush’s exit from office a “Class Act” compared with Clinton’s?
A: A widely forwarded e-mail contains some false and exaggerated claims, along with some truths. It also contains made-up headlines about Obama.

Oversimplifying the Fiscal Crisis

It’s finger-pointing time again, with each candidates blaming the other for the financial crisis. McCain called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the “catalyst” for the crisis and blamed Obama for failing to sign on to a bill to rein in the FMs. Obama countered that it’s a culture of deregulation and lack of oversight that caused the problem.
We’ve been here before. Both candidates have a point: Democrats really have fought regulation of the FMs and McCain has in fact been in favor of deregulation.

Vice President Bill Clinton?

Q: Could former President Bill Clinton be vice president?
A: Probably not, but it’s an untested constitutional conundrum.