A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

McCain’s $6.8 Billion Boast

McCain repeated a questionable boast when he said, “I saved the taxpayers $6.8 billion” by reining in a defense contract.
As we mentioned in our analysis of the first debate, there is more to the story. McCain certainly did lead a fight to kill the contract, and the effort ended in prison sentences for defense contractors. The contract is still up in the air, however, and questions have been raised about the role McCain played in helping a Boeing rival secure the new contract.

Earmark Numbers

Obama’s right about earmark amounts. According to the budget watchdog group, Taxpayers for Common Sense, earmarks totaled just $18.3 billion in 2008. Citizens Against Government Waste came in with a slightly smaller number of $17.2 billion, and the Office of Management and Budget smaller still at $16.9 billion.

The Return of the Oil Slick

McCain accused Obama of voting for a “Bush and Cheney” energy bill that gave away billions to oil companies. McCain is referring to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which Obama did in fact vote for. Sen. Clinton raised this same charge against Obama during the Democratic primaries. It was misleading then and it’s equally misleading now.
In fact, according to a Congressional Research Service report, more tax breaks were taken away from oil companies than were given. 

Obama Still Wrong about $79 Billion Figure

Again tonight Obama said that the U.S. was paying too much for the war in Iraq, while the Iraqis have a “$79 billion surplus.”
As we’ve pointed out when Obama said it on the campaign trail, when he repeated it at the last debate, and even when Biden mentioned the figure in the vice presidential debate, that number is wrong. The Iraqis actually “have” $29.4 billion in the bank. The Government Accountability Office projected in August that Iraq’s 2008 budget surplus could range anywhere from $38.2 billion to $50.3 billion,

Pakistan Attack

McCain charged that Obama has said he would “attack Pakistan.” What he really said, on Aug. 1, 2007, was: “It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”
As we noted in February, when Sen. Hillary Clinton criticized Obama for his remarks, that’s pretty much what the U.S.

Vets for Freedom Exercise Freedom to Mislead

The right-leaning Vets for Freedom, in an effort to drum up support for a resolution heralding “the strategic success of the troop surge in Iraq,” released this ad Oct. 1 in California. The ad, which criticizes Sen. Barack Obama, represents a $2.2 million buy – the largest statewide airtime purchase by the organization to date:

But the ad is off on claims we’ve already addressed, and it’s misleading on a few new ones.
It claims that Obama “skipped 45 percent of Senate votes.”

Biden on Hezbollah, and other late debate goodies

In today’s Washington Post, Michael Dobbs, a.k.a. The Fact Checker, writes about a few more stumbles from the debate, including a couple items that we didn’t have in our story on Friday.
Dobbs, a former diplomatic reporter, says Sen. Joe Biden was wrong when he said the U.S. and France “kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon.” He was correct in saying that there was talk of sending NATO forces to the country in 2006.

The Full Fact-Check of the V.P. Debate

We posted several items to The Wire last night as Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden were debating. But in the wee hours of Friday, we also posted a full article on the misleading statements and factual errors we found in their exchange. See our story on the v.p. debate at FactCheck.org:
FactChecking Biden-Palin Debate
October 3, 2008 
The candidates were not 100 percent accurate. To say the least.

Who’s to Blame for the Financial Crisis?

Two new ads point fingers: MoveOn.org pins the blame on Sen. John McCain’s advisers. The McCain-Palin campaign says it’s Obama and Democrats in Congress. We say both are wrong.
See our full article, posted on our main site, FactCheck.org, for more on these misleading TV spots:
Who Caused the Economic Crisis?
October 1, 2008 

McCain in the vanguard of mortgage reform?

Sarah Palin says that McCain sounded the alarm on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago. Our colleagues at PolitiFact questioned that claim, calling it “barely true.” Palin’s referring to a bill that would have increased oversight on Fannie and Freddie. McCain signed onto that bill as a cosponsor, but PolitiFact says it wouldn’t have lessened the current economic crisis. And in our recent article about assigning blame for the economic crisis, we add that by the time McCain added his name to the bill,