Facebook Twitter Tumblr Close Skip to main content
A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Facts of the Union 2008

Summary
Bush pretty much stuck to the facts in his final State of the Union address. But he chose his facts carefully and didn't always tell the whole story.

He correctly noted that the number of jobs has grown steadily for a record 52 straight months. But the number of jobs gained is a fraction of the gains made during Bill Clinton's years, and wage gains have been eaten up by inflation.
He claimed his proposal to give tax deductions for those who buy their own health insurance will "put private coverage within reach for millions."

The Florida Recount of 2000

Q: When the votes were recounted in Florida, who won the 2000 presidential election?
A: Nobody can say for sure who might have won. A full, official recount of all votes statewide could have gone either way, but one was never conducted.

Stacking the Deck

Summary
The three leading Democratic presidential candidates debated in Las Vegas and we noted the following:

Clinton once again mischaracterized the 2005 energy bill, saying it had "enormous giveaways" to oil and gas companies. In truth, the measure raised taxes on those industries.
Obama accused the Bush administration of failing to make "any serious effort" to encourage use of alternative fuels or raise fuel efficiency of automobiles. In fact, President Bush has signed major bills that do both.

Bush: The Constitution a ‘Goddamned Piece of Paper’?

Q: Did President Bush call the Constitution a “goddamned piece of paper”?
A: Extremely unlikely. The Web site that reported those words has a history of quoting phony sources and retracting bogus stories.

Bush’s False Claims About Children’s Health Insurance

Summary
President Bush gave a false description of proposed legislation to expand the 10-year-old federal program to provide health insurance for children in low-income working families.
He said it "would result" in covering children in families with incomes up to $83,000 per year, which isn’t true. The Urban Institute estimated that 70 percent of children who would gain coverage are in families earning half that amount, and the bill contains no requirement for setting income eligibility caps any higher than what’s in the current law.

Operation Iraqi Gloss-Over

Summary
President Bush played loose with the facts in his address to the nation Thursday night as he tried to convince the American public that the surge in U.S. troops in Iraq has made the country more stable.

He said "36 nations … have troops on the ground in Iraq." In fact, his own State Department puts the number at 25.
He said “ordinary life” was returning to Baghdad. Perhaps. In fact, news reports describe the city as starkly segregated with Shiites and Sunnis living in separate neighborhoods,

Third Time ‘Round for GOP Hopefuls

Pollsters will inform us whether the third time was the charm for any of these candidates in the eyes of potential voters. All we can do is remind you not to believe everything you hear.

White House Spins Iraqi Polling

An ABC News survey of public opinion in Iraq found much pessimism as the fourth anniversary of the war approached. A British poll’s summary sounded less gloomy, but was actually similar.

Facts Of The Union

We found some puffery in President Bush’s State of the Union address.

Medicare Hot Air

Democrats oversell their Medicare prescription drug bill, falsely claiming it will bring big price cuts for medication. Republicans have been equally misleading.