A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Answering NFL National Anthem Questions

Q: Does the NFL have rules for player conduct during the national anthem? Does the Department of Defense fund patriotic ceremonies at NFL games?

A: The league doesn’t require players to stand during the anthem, and the Defense Department no longer funds various patriotic displays.

Explaining McCain’s Defense ‘Cut’

Sen. John McCain says the budget deal President Donald Trump reached with Democratic leaders “basically freezes last year’s funding in place, which is a cut of $52 billion” in defense spending. In fact, the deal doesn’t cut the defense budget at all.

John McCain Still a Republican

Q: Has Sen. John McCain “renounced any affiliation with the Republican Party”?

A: No. That claim was made in a fake news story published by a “satirical publication.”

John McCain’s Life Expectancy

Sen. John McCain’s primary opponent implied that if reelected, McCain may not live long enough to fulfill another six-year term. Actually, the odds are in his favor.

What We Were Told About Ebola

Sen. John McCain claimed on a Sunday talk show that “we were told there would never be a case of Ebola in the United States.” Not exactly.

Romney and the Tax Return Precedent

Mitt Romney says he is following the “precedent” set by John McCain in releasing just two years of tax returns. That’s accurate. But McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee, bucked the trend of other recent presidential candidates.
In more than three decades, no other nominees for either party have released fewer than five years’ worth of returns. Romney’s own father released a dozen years’ worth when he ran for the GOP nomination in 1968.
Romney has been under mounting public pressure to release tax returns —

Establishing Facts

New radio ads boosting Newt Gingrich urge conservatives to reject the GOP “establishment” that nominated Bob Dole and John McCain. But in 1996, Gingrich announced that he had voted for Dole over Steve Forbes and Pat Buchanan in Georgia’s Republican primary. And in 2008, he made statements supportive of McCain’s candidacy while Mike Huckabee was still vying for the Republican nomination.
The five ads from pro-Gingrich super PAC Winning Our Future (which you can listen to here) are running in three states —

McCain’s Erroneous Earmark Attack

Sen. John McCain incorrectly claimed that earmarks nearly doubled from $7.8 billion to $14.5 billion in Newt Gingrich’s first two years as House speaker. Actually, the increase was about half that.
Furthermore, earmarks first peaked, then declined under Gingrich. By the final year of his speakership, earmarked spending was 20 percent higher than before, not double.
McCain is a longtime opponent of earmarks, which are pet projects added to annual appropriations bills at the request of members of Congress.

Obama, Guns and ‘The Untouchables’

Q. Did President Obama once say of Republicans: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”
A: Yes. Obama made those remarks at a fundraiser in Philadelphia during the 2008 presidential campaign. He was paraphrasing a quote from the 1987 mob movie "The Untouchables."

Sunday Replay

To wrap up the Labor Day weekend, we present the Lindsey Graham edition of a holiday-delayed Sunday Replay, with cameos from a few minor characters.
Graham on Democratic Legislation
On NBC’s "Meet the Press," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham was skeptical about two Democrat-backed measures, the health care bill and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Graham, Sept. 5: [The health care bill is] going to lead to a government monopoly in health care.