A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Trump Didn’t Bill the Obamas

Q: Did President Donald Trump send Barack Obama a bill for his “vacation scam”?
A: No. That bogus claim comes from a “satirical publication.”

Obama on Childhood Obesity Rates

Former President Barack Obama falsely claimed that Let’s Move, an initiative of former First Lady Michelle Obama, “helped bring down America’s obesity rates for our youngest kids for the first time in 30 years.”

A Fake Mike Pence Quote

Q: Did Mike Pence call Michelle Obama “the most vulgar first lady we’ve ever had”?

A: No. That is a made-up quote and story from a self-described “news/satire” website.

Trump Surrogates Deny Plagiarism

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says there is “no way that Melania Trump was plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech.” Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, called the allegation “absurd.”

Michelle Obama and CGI Federal

Q: Does a college classmate of Michelle Obama work for CGI Federal? Did that company receive a no-bid contract to build the HealthCare.gov website?
A: Toni Townes-Whitley, a senior vice president at CGI, and Obama graduated from Princeton University in 1985. However, company and government officials say the contract was awarded through a competitive bidding process.

The Obamas’ Law Licenses

Q: Did Barack and Michelle Obama “surrender” their law licenses to avoid ethics charges?
A: No. A court official confirms that no public disciplinary proceeding has ever been brought against either of them, contrary to a false Internet rumor. By voluntarily inactivating their licenses, they avoid a requirement to take continuing education classes and pay hundreds of dollars in annual fees. Both could practice law again if they chose to do so.

Obamas Not Invited to Royal Wedding?

Q: Is it true the Obamas will not be invited to Prince William’s wedding for fear Michelle will upstage Kate Middleton?
A: No. The official guest list has not been released. A British newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying the Obamas are not on the list, but that "could change."

Stimulus Saves First Lady’s Brother?

We figured that people would recognize this latest chain e-mail for the hoax that it is. It makes a ridiculously false claim about Craig Robinson, who is the head coach of Oregon State University’s men’s basketball team and First Lady Michelle Obama’s older brother. But judging from the number of times we’ve been asked about this since the beginning of March, we were wrong. The author of this bogus e-rumor must be suffering from a different kind of “March Madness”

‘Holiday Tree’ Hooey

Q: Are the Obamas doing away with the White House “Christmas” tree and banning ornaments with religious themes?
A: The traditional Christmas tree will remain, and an e-mail claim about ornaments is unsubstantiated.

Michelle Obama’s Staff

Q: Does First Lady Michelle Obama have an “unprecedented” number of staffers?
A: A spokeswoman for the first lady says that Michelle Obama currently has a staff of 24. That may indeed be the largest of any first lady, but Hillary Clinton, with 19 staffers, and Laura Bush with at least 18 and perhaps more, weren’t far behind.