A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

McCain, Palin and Rape Kits

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the pervasive rumor that Sarah Palin, when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, made women pay for their own forensic testing when reporting a rape. The verdict: This policy was enforced for at least some reported rapes in Wasilla, and in 2000, complaints about rape kit charges in Wasilla and other rural areas drove then-Gov. Tony Knowles to pass legislation requiring police departments to pay for the testing. The Wasilla police chief opposed the new state law and defended the practice,

FactChecking Debate No. 2

Summary

McCain and Obama debated for the second time, in Nashville. We noted some misleading statements and mangled facts:

McCain proposed to write down the amount owed by over-mortgaged homeowners and claimed the idea as his own: “It’s my proposal, it’s not Sen. Obama’s proposal, it’s not President Bush’s proposal.” But the idea isn’t new. Obama had endorsed something similar two weeks earlier, and authority for the treasury secretary to grant such relief was included in the recently passed $700 billion financial rescue package.

Sadly, Mostly True

Summary
On the eve of their second presidential debate, McCain and Obama released TV ads accusing one another of untruthful attacks. Both are essentially accurate, though each tells only half the story.
McCain’s ad cites Obama spots that have falsely accused him of supporting a 50 percent cut in Social Security benefits, that twisted his words about deregulating health insurance markets and that falsely accused him of opposing stem-cell research.
Obama’s ad says McCain is resorting to "smears that have been proven false."

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.

‘Dishonorable’

Summary
A McCain-Palin ad calls Obama "dishonorable," while distorting his words and votes on troop funding.

It accuses him of saying "our troops in Afghanistan" are just bombing villages and killing civilians. What Obama said, in context, was a criticism of U.S. military strategy, and not of American troops.
It accuses Obama and "Congressional liberals" of voting repeatedly to cut off funding for troops, "increasing the risk on their lives." In fact, the votes were for bringing the troops home,

Candidates’ Congressional Past

Q: How long have Obama and McCain been in Congress?
A: Obama has been in the U.S. Senate since January 2005. McCain joined the House in Jan. 1983 and the Senate four years later. A chain e-mail that purports to show their time in Congress give a bogus comparison.

Health Care Deregulation?

Biden said that McCain wrote in a magazine article that he wanted to do for the health care industry what deregulation had done for Wall Street. That’s taking McCain’s words out of context, as we’ve written before.
Biden is referring to a phrase from a journal article under McCain’s name that said he would reduce regulation of health insurance “as we have done over the last decade in banking.” But the full context shows McCain was talking specifically about a proposal to allow the sale and purchase of health insurance across state lines.

More Social Security Spin

Summary
An Obama-Biden TV ad once again twists McCain’s position on Social Security.

It claims he backed a "plan to risk your Social Security in the stock market." In fact, the plan McCain endorsed in 2005 would have been voluntary, and workers could have put only one-third of their Social Security pension fund taxes into private accounts.

The new ad also asks viewers to imagine "your future retirement benefits" invested in Lehman Brothers, AIG or Merrill Lynch,

McCain Mentions Us

It wasn’t exactly in a favorable light, per se.
On NPR’s “Morning Edition” today, anchor Steve Inskeep asked Sen. John McCain about balancing honor and winning in a campaign that Inskeep called “brutal.” In their conversation, Inskeep asked about a particular ad that we found to be “false”:

Inskeep: Have you come back to your advisers at any point and said, “That ad,” like for example the ad that ran with your name on it saying that Barack Obama supported comprehensive sex education for primary school students,

Who Caused the Economic Crisis?

Summary
A MoveOn.org Political Action ad plays the partisan blame game with the economic crisis, charging that John McCain’s friend and former economic adviser Phil Gramm “stripped safeguards that would have protected us.” The claim is bogus. Gramm’s legislation had broad bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Clinton. Moreover, the bill had nothing to do with causing the crisis, and economists – not to mention President Clinton – praise it for having softened the crisis.