A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

More Baloney at ABC/Yahoo! Debate

False and misleading claims were flying again at the latest Republican presidential candidates’ debate in Iowa. Romney falsely claimed that no president before Obama had cut Medicare, and that Obama favored pre-1967 borders for Israel. Gingrich said he opposed cap-and-trade, even though …

Debate Watch

The six Republican presidential candidates who are set to meet and debate again on Dec. 10 have all made some claims that don’t line up with the facts. Will they repeat this shopworn spin, or have they tired of these talking points? Here’s what to watch and listen for when they gather in Des Moines for the latest debate — sponsored by ABC News, Yahoo! News, the Des Moines Register, local WOI-TV and the Republican Party of Iowa:

Gingrich: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has boasted several times that he “helped balance the federal budget for four straight years.” But he was in Congress for only two of those years.

Down-to-the-Wire Deceptions

Attack ads, and the misinformation that comes with them, continue to swamp the airwaves. In fact, spending on ads in these midterm elections could top $3 billion, said Evan Tracey, whose Kantar Media-owned Campaign Media Analysis Group tracks political ads running nationwide. That cracks the $2.7 billion spent in 2008 – when a presidential race as well as the usual congressional ones were eating up airtime.
A brief rundown of some misleading assaults we’ve found in the last few days:
DSCC Hits Murkowski
Among other things,

NRSC Eliminates the Positive

Making an endorsement seem like a condemnation isn’t an easy deception to pull off — but the National Republican Senatorial Committee has done it.

In an ad attacking Democratic Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, the NRSC uses a series of highly selective quotes from a Denver Post piece: Bennet is “fighting for Obama … Obama and the Democrats overreached … helping to stick future generations with trillions in debt … lavishing billions on corporate bailouts and takeovers.”

Whoppers of Campaign 2010

Midterm elections are an embarrassment of riches for fact-checkers — this year more than others. With Democrats fighting desperately to keep control of the House and Senate, and a torrent of money from corporations and other undisclosed …

Sales Tax Spin

Democrats are running misleading ads in several House and Senate races accusing Republicans of supporting a “23 percent national sales tax.” The ads fail to mention that the proposed tax — while controversial — is designed to replace all federal income …

Toss-ups: Wayward Ads in Washington State

A Republican-leaning group, American Action Network, makes misleading claims in an ad portraying Democratic Sen. Patty Murray as pro-tax and anti-small business. Meanwhile, Murray goes too far in her attack on the complicated business …

Angle’s Shocking – and Misleading – Viagra Claim

A new ad from Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle says that Angle’s opponent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, "voted to use taxpayer dollars to pay for Viagra for convicted child molesters and sex offenders." That sensational claim hasn’t gotten any more true since the first time we addressed it, shortly after the health care bill was passed.

It’s true that Reid voted to table an amendment that would have barred convicted sex offenders from getting coverage for drugs like Viagra from health plans sold through state-based exchanges.

The Chamber and Foreign Contributions

Q: Is illegal foreign money being filtered through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to fund ads attacking Democrats?
A: The chamber says dues money paid by overseas companies "is not used for political ads," but won’t discuss how it segregates those funds. Democratic and liberal groups want an investigation of "likely" or "possible" legal violations.

DSCC Not Fighting Fair

In Connecticut’s Senate race, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is sponsoring a misleading ad that attacks Republican candidate Linda McMahon.
It says McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, "laid off workers, yet took millions in bonuses," and "spent thousands on lobbyists to get millions in tax breaks for herself." McMahon did earn "millions in bonuses." She got a total of $2.4 million spread over several years. But in only one of those years were any workers laid off.