A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Unions Mislead on Health Care

Summary
Two labor unions are running ads falsely characterizing McCain’s health care plan.

A United Auto Workers spot features a woman who claims she’d pay up to $2,800 more in taxes. That’s a bogus figure, based on a false assumption about what McCain is actually proposing. She and families like hers would actually come out money ahead.
A Service Employees International Union ad claims McCain’s plan would "deny coverage for preexisting conditions like cancer."

FactChecking Debate No. 3

Summary
Spin and hype were apparent, once again, at the third and final debate between McCain and Obama:

McCain claimed the liberal group ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history … maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” In fact, a Republican prosecutor said of the biggest ACORN fraud case to date: “[T]his scheme was not intended to permit illegal voting.” He said $8-an-hour workers turned in made-up voter registration forms rather than doing what ACORN paid them to do.

John Lewis and the News

McCain was a bit off the mark when he said Obama did not repudiate the remarks of Democratic Rep. John Lewis. Obama did release a statement that said he “did not believe” McCain “or his policy criticism is in any way comparable to George Wallace or his segregationist policies.” But he did agree with other parts of Lewis’ statement. Here’s the story:
On Oct. 11, Lewis, an activist during the Civil Rights movement, published a statement on the Politico Web site that said in part:

“Sen.

Plumber Joe and His Health Care

Fines for small businesses? Higher income taxes? The government choosing your health care plans? Gold-plated Cadillacs? It all sounds bad (or at least confusing) for Joe, and everyone else … but luckily we’ve broken it all down for you. For the full scoop on both Obama’s and McCain’s health care plans, see our recent article Health Care Spin.

Obama’s ‘Projector’ Earmark

Q: Did Obama request a $3 million ‘overhead projector,’ as McCain claimed?
A: Obama did seek a $3 million earmark, but it was not for the sort of ‘overhead projector’ commonly found in classrooms or offices. It would have replaced the Adler Planetarium’s projector, last upgraded in 1969.

Health Care Spin

Summary
McCain and Obama have sharply different health care plans, and each has made sharply worded attacks that are either false or misleading. McCain proposes a market-based system that relies on tax incentives, which one Obama ad falsely characterizes as the "largest middle-class tax increase in history." Obama proposes new subsidies to expand private insurance coverage and some expansion of government insurance, which McCain falsely claims "will rob 50 million employees of their health coverage."

‘Lying’ About Being Liberal?

Summary
A McCain-Palin ad claims Obama was rated the "most liberal" U.S. senator, which was true only for 2007 but not for his entire Senate career. He was rated 10th and 16th in his two previous years.
The ad also misquotes Obama. It says he defended himself against the "most liberal" rating by saying "they’re not telling the truth" and "folks are lying." Actually, Obama said McCain and Palin weren’t truthful about the "Bridge to Nowhere,"

McCain found at fault in 1960 Navy plane crash

We have updated our Ask FactCheck item on John McCain’s flying career to note new information uncovered by the Los Angeles Times. The newspaper found records of a Navy investigation into the crash of John McCain’s aircraft while he was in flight training in 1960. McCain and others have written that the plane went down in Corpus Christi Bay when the engine quit, but Navy investigators concluded that the engine was still running when the plane hit the water,

‘He Lied’ About Bill Ayers?

Summary
In a TV ad, McCain says Obama "lied" about his association with William Ayers, a former bomb-setting, anti-war radical from the 1960s and ’70s. We find McCain’s claim to be groundless. New details have recently come to light, but nothing Obama said previously has been shown to be false.
In a Web ad and in repeated attacks from the stump, McCain describes the two as associates, and Palin claims they "pal around" together.

World’s Nicest Nightmare

On MSNBC Wednesday morning, senior McCain advisor Nicolle Wallace said that John McCain won’t cut taxes for corporations, and that in fact he is “their worst nightmare.”

The quote is at about 5:10 in the above video, but if you rewind a bit, you’ll see host Joe Scarborough grilling Obama strategist Robert Gibbs on why Obama’s not proposing corporate tax cuts. Scarborough points out that other countries are reducing taxes on corporations and says that equivalent tax cuts are necessary to keep the U.S.