A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center
FactCheck.org is celebrating 15 years of holding politicians accountable.

McCain’s cloudy crystal ball

Confused about whether John McCain really predicted the fall of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? We don’t blame you. The McCain-Palin campaign says he did, and as proof, they point to a 2006 speech in which McCain exhorts his colleagues to vote for legislation he cosponsored, legislation that would have regulated the misbehaving mortgage giants. The Obama campaign says he did not and point out that McCain said in 2007 that he didn’t see the crisis coming.

Freddie, Fannie and Barack – Corrected

Turns out, our initial post “Freddie, Fannie and Barack” was erroneous. We’ve struck out the incorrect sections from our earlier post.
We said originally that Obama was the fourth largest recipient of donations from troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That’s wrong. Our post was drawn from data from the Center for Responsive Politics’ Web site, OpenSecrets.org. But the data we used were incomplete.
We talked to a spokesperson from the Center for Responsive Politics who told us that looking at all election cycles since 1989 (the first year for which CRP has data),

McCain and the 1967 Forrestal Fire

There is a nasty claim making the rounds in virulently anti-McCain circles, accusing him of responsibility for the terrible 1967 disaster aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal. That claim is bunk, and we said so in our Sept. 5 Ask FactCheck item, “Did McCain crash five planes?” Now we are saying so again – even more emphatically – based on additional research.
Among the new details: We question McCain’s widely accepted story that it was his own A-4 Skyhawk that was first hit by the errant missile that touched off the disaster.

Freddie, Fannie and Barack

Update, Sept. 19: Portions of this post were based on incomplete data. We have struck through the incorrect sections. Please see here for our corrected account. We apologize for the inconvenience.
In a Sept. 16 stump speech in Vienna, Ohio, Republican presidential nominee John McCain went after Barack Obama, his Democratic counterpart, charging that Obama can’t possibly hope to change Washington. After all, McCain said, Obama is a big part of the problem.

Joe Biden Lives!

No, we haven’t forgotten that the Democrats have a VP candidate, too. While he hasn’t been making much news lately, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden has been busy out on the stump. We’ve caught him stretching the truth a bit.
You can read all about Biden’s adventures in misquoting in our new article, “Stretching with Biden.”
Why are you still here? Go read it already.

We’re on TV Again

Thursday night to-do list:

Eat dinner.
Put the dishes in the dishwasher.
Get the kids to bed.
Tune in to CNN to watch FactCheck.org’s Viveca Novak bring Larry King (and you!) up to speed on all the latest ads from the McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden campaigns.

Still Off Base on Sex Ed

Several readers have written to us objecting to our story “Off Base on Sex Ed,” which said a McCain ad on sex education was “simply false.” These readers cite a story in the conservative National Review by Byron York headlined, “On Sex-Ed Ad, McCain Is Right.”
York is certainly entitled to his interpretation of the ad. We have read his article, which doesn’t mention FactCheck.org or our story, and we still find an ad that says Obama’s “one accomplishment”

Don’t Call It a Comeback

We been here for years.
Since 2003, to be precise. But in 2008, we have a lot more company than we used to. And Editor & Publisher, a journal that covers the newspaper industry (a meta-newspaper?) has taken notice.
In a special report published yesterday, E&P discusses a trend that we’re happy to see (and that we rather modestly like to think that we may have had at least a small role in creating): “How Fact-Checking Took Center Stage in 2008 Campaign.”

Can’t be Fired

We noticed John McCain saying today that he would fire the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission if he were president. But, fortunately for the SEC chairman, the president can’t fire him.

McCain (Sept. 18, Cedar Rapids, Iowa): The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president. And in my view has betrayed the public trust. If I were president today, I would fire him.

ABC News points out that “while the president nominates and the Senate confirms the SEC chair,

More on Palin’s False Energy Claim

There’s more on Sarah Palin’s claim, made in her ABC News interview, that Alaska produces 20 percent of the nation’s energy supply. As we noted in our original article, official statistics from the federal government show that Alaska produces only 3.5 percent of the total energy produced in the U.S., and 2.4 percent of the energy consumed.
McCain-Palin campaign officials said she meant to say that Alaska accounts for 20 percent of the nation’s oil and gas production,