The Rumor / FactCheck Thread

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ONE love, blood, life
Aug 24, 2002
I have a TREMENDOUS amount of Fact check. One of the few, non partisan places that dares to point out the flaws in both sides.

A friend forwarded me this email from the McCain Camp today:


You've surely seen the shameful attacks Senator Obama and his liberal allies have launched against our vice presidential nominee, Governor Sarah Palin.

Even before our national convention, the Obama campaign dispatched what The Wall Street Journal called a "mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators and opposition researchers" to Alaska to dig up dirt for their personal attacks on Governor Palin and her family. has called the attacks on Governor Palin, "completely false" and "misleading." However, the Obama Democrats continue to launch these attacks, hoping you'll never find out the truth.

These misleading, offensive attacks must be stopped. That's why we're asking you to follow this link immediately to give any amount you can afford - whether it's $25 or $250 - to McCain-Palin Victory 2008, a joint committee we have formed to ensure we can respond to these shameful attacks and elect our reform ticket from top to bottom on Election Day.

We are rapidly responding to the Obama Democrats' attacks on Governor Palin and you can help by following this link right now to give $25, $50, $100, $250 or more to McCain-Palin Victory 2008.

Your support is critical to our Party's effort in exposing these false attacks. Thank you.

The McCain-Palin Victory 2008 Team

P.S. If you are offended by the outrageous attacks on Governor Sarah Palin from the Obama campaign and their liberal allies, we urge you to follow this link immediately. The McCain-Palin Victory 2008 committee is working day and night to elect our reform ticket and reject these false attacks. Please show your support with a generous donation. Thank you.


Because the McCain-Palin Campaign is participating in the presidential public funding system, it may not receive contributions for the any candidate's election. However, federal law allows the McCain-Palin Campaign's Compliance Fund to defray legal and accounting compliance costs and preserve the Campaign's public grant for media, mail, phones, and get-out-the-vote programs. Contributions to McCain-Palin Victory 2008 will go to the Compliance Fund, and to participating party committees for Victory 2008 programs.

Please visit this page if you want to remove yourself from the email list.

I do not want to go down the road of wether or not people think blogging has any impact on a campaign. I believe we are entering an age when the blogosphere is and will be used to help or hurt a candidate.

What I wanted to point out was Fact Check has responded to McCain's email

McCain-Palin Distorts Our Finding
September 10, 2008
Those attacks on Palin that we debunked didn't come from Obama.
A McCain-Palin ad has calling Obama's attacks on Palin "absolutely false" and "misleading." That's what we said, but it wasn't about Obama.

Our article criticized anonymous e-mail falsehoods and bogus claims about Palin posted around the Internet. We have no evidence that any of the claims we found to be false came from the Obama campaign.

The McCain-Palin ad also twists a quote from a Wall Street Journal columnist. He said the Obama camp had sent a team to Alaska to "dig into her record and background." The ad quotes the WSJ as saying the team was sent to "dig dirt."

Update, Sept. 10: Furthermore, the Obama campaign insists that no researchers have been sent to Alaska and that the Journal owes them a correction McCain-Palin Distorts Our Finding

Here are the falshoods that Fact Check has disputed:

Sliming Palin
September 8, 2008
False Internet claims and rumors fly about McCain's running mate.
We’ve been flooded for the past few days with queries about dubious Internet postings and mass e-mail messages making claims about McCain’s running mate, Gov. Palin. We find that many are completely false, or misleading.

Palin did not cut funding for special needs education in Alaska by 62 percent. She didn’t cut it at all. In fact, she tripled per-pupil funding over just three years.
She did not demand that books be banned from the Wasilla library. Some of the books on a widely circulated list were not even in print at the time. The librarian has said Palin asked a "What if?" question, but the librarian continued in her job through most of Palin's first term.

She was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a group that wants Alaskans to vote on whether they wish to secede from the United States. She’s been registered as a Republican since May 1982.

Palin never endorsed or supported Pat Buchanan for president. She once wore a Buchanan button as a "courtesy" when he visited Wasilla, but shortly afterward she was appointed to co-chair of the campaign of Steve Forbes in the state.

Palin has not pushed for teaching creationism in Alaska's schools. She has said that students should be allowed to "debate both sides" of the evolution question, but she also said creationism "doesn't have to be part of the curriculum."
We'll be looking into other charges in an e-mail by a woman named Anne Kilkenny for a future story. For more explanation of the bullet points above, please read the Analysis.

Correction: In our original story, we incorrectly said that a few of the claims we examine here were included in the e-mail by Kilkenny. Only one of the claims – about the librarian's firing – was similar to an item in that e-mail. We regret the error.
Since Republican presidential nominee John McCain tapped Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate, information about Palin's past has been zipping around the Internet. Several claims are not true, and other rumors are misleading.

No Cut for "Special Needs" Kids

It's not true, as widely reported in mass e-mails, Web postings and at least one mainstream news source, that Palin slashed the special education budget in Alaska by 62 percent. CNN's Soledad O'Brien made the claim on Sept. 4 in an interview with Nicolle Wallace, a senior adviser to the McCain campaign:

O'Brien, Sept. 4: One are that has gotten certainly people sending to me a lot of e-mails is the question about as governor what she did with the special needs budget, which I'm sure you're aware, she cut significantly, 62 percent I think is the number from when she came into office. As a woman who is now a mother to a special needs child, and I think she actually has a nephew which is autistic as well. How much of a problem is this going to be as she tries to navigate both sides of that issue?

Such a move might have made Palin look heartless or hypocritical in view of her convention-speech pledge to be an advocate for special needs children and their families. But in fact, she increased special needs funding so dramatically that a representative of local school boards described the jump as "historic."

According to an April 2008 article in Education Week, Palin signed legislation in March 2008 that would increase public school funding considerably, including special needs funding. It would increase spending on what Alaska calls "intensive needs" students (students with high-cost special requirements) from $26,900 per student in 2008 to $73,840 per student in 2011. That almost triples the per-student spending in three fiscal years. Palin's original proposal, according to the Anchorage Daily News, would have increased funds slightly more, giving intensive needs students a $77,740 allotment by 2011.

Education Week: A second part of the measure raises spending for students with special needs to $73,840 in fiscal 2011, from the current $26,900 per student in fiscal 2008, according to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.

Unlike many other states, Alaska has relatively flush budget coffers, thanks to a rise in oil and gas revenues. Funding for schools will remain fairly level next year, however. Overall per-pupil funding across the state will rise by $100, to $5,480, in fiscal 2009. ...

Carl Rose, the executive director of the Association of Alaska School Boards, praised the changes in funding for rural schools and students with special needs as a "historic event," and said the finance overhaul would bring more stability to district budgets.

According to Eddy Jeans at the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, funding for special needs and intensive needs students has increased every year since Palin entered office, from a total of $203 million in 2006 to a projected $276 million in 2009.

Those who claim that Palin cut special needs funding by 62 percent are looking in the wrong place and misinterpreting what they find there. They point to an apparent drop in the Department of Education and Early Development budget for special schools. But the special schools budget, despite the similar name, isn't the special needs budget. "I don’t even consider the special schools component [part of] our special needs funding," Jeans told "The special needs funding is provided through our public school funding formula. The special schools is simply a budget component where we have funding set aside for special projects," such as the Alaska School for the Deaf and the Alaska Military Youth Academy. A different budget component, the Foundation Program, governs special needs programs in the public school system.

And in any case, the decrease in funding for special schools is illusory. Palin moved the Alaska Military Youth Academy's ChalleNGe program, a residential military school program that teaches job and life skills to students under 20, out of the budget line for "special schools" and into its own line. This resulted in an apparent drop of more than $5 million in the special schools budget with no actual decrease in funding for the programs.

Not a Book Burner

One accusation claims then-Mayor Palin threatened to fire Wasilla’s librarian for refusing to ban books from the town library. Some versions of the rumor come complete with a list of the books that Palin allegedly attempted to ban. Actually, Palin never asked that books be banned; no books were actually banned; and many of the books on the list that Palin supposedly wanted to censor weren't even in print at the time, proving that the list is a fabrication. The librarian was fired, but was told only that Palin felt she didn’t support her. She was re-hired the next day. The librarian never claimed that Palin threatened outright to fire her for refusing to ban books.

It’s true that Palin did raise the issue with Mary Ellen Emmons, Wasilla’s librarian, on at least two occasions, three in some versions. Emmons flatly stated her opposition each time. But, as the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman (Wasilla’s local paper) reported at the time, Palin asked general questions about what Emmons would say if Palin requested that a book be banned. According to Emmons, Palin "was asking me how I would deal with her saying a book can't be in the library." Emmons reported that Palin pressed the issue, asking whether Emmons' position would change if residents were picketing the library. Wasilla resident Anne Kilkenny, who was at the meeting, corroborates Emmons' story, telling the Chicago Tribune that "Sarah said to Mary Ellen, 'What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection?' "

Palin characterized the exchange differently, initially volunteering the episode as an example of discussions with city employees about following her administration's agenda. Palin described her questions to Emmons as “rhetorical,” noting that her questions "were asked in the context of professionalism regarding the library policy that is in place in our city." Actually, true rhetorical questions have implied answers (e.g., “Who do you think you are?”), so Palin probably meant to describe her questions as hypothetical or theoretical. We can't read minds, so it is impossible for us to know whether or not Palin may actually have wanted to ban books from the library or whether she simply wanted to know how her new employees would respond to an instruction from their boss. It is worth noting that, in an update, the Frontiersman points out that no book was ever banned from the library’s shelves.

Palin initially requested Emmons’ resignation, along with those of Wasilla’s other department heads, in October 1996. Palin described the requests as a loyalty test and allowed all of them (except one, whose department she was eliminating) to retain their positions. But in January 1997, Palin fired Emmons, along with the police chief. According to the Chicago Tribune, Palin did not list censorship as a reason for Emmons’ firing, but said she didn’t feel she had Emmons’ support. The decision caused “a stir” in the small town, according to a newspaper account at the time. According to a widely circulated e-mail from Kilkenny, “city residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter.”

As we’ve noted, Palin did not attempt to ban any library books. We don’t know if Emmons’ resistance to Palin’s questions about possible censorship had anything to do with Emmons’ firing. And we have no idea if the protests had any impact on Palin at all. There simply isn’t any evidence that we can find either way. Palin did re-hire Emmons the following day, saying that she now felt she had the librarian’s backing. Emmons continued to serve as librarian until August 1999, when the Chicago Tribune reports that she resigned.

So what about that list of books targeted for banning, which according to one widely e-mailed version was taken “from the official minutes of the Wasilla Library Board”? If it was, the library board should take up fortune telling. The list includes the first four Harry Potter books, none of which had been published at the time of the Palin-Emmons conversations. The first wasn't published until 1998. In fact, the list is a simple cut-and-paste job, snatched (complete with typos and the occasional incorrect title) from the Florida Institute of Technology library Web page, which presents the list as “Books banned at one time or another in the United States.”

Update, Sept. 9: We have revised this section dealing with accusations that Palin wanted to ban books from Wasilla's library to include more detail about what transpired at the time.

Closet Secessionist?

Palin was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party – which calls for a vote on whether Alaska should secede from the union or remain a state – despite mistaken reports to the contrary. But her husband was a member for years, and she attended at least one party convention, as mayor of the town in which it was held.

The party's chair originally told reporters that Palin had been a member, but the official later retracted that statement. Chairwoman Lynette Clark told the New York Times that false information had been given to her by another member of the party after she first told the Times and others that Palin joined the AIP in 1994. Clark issued an apology on the AIP Web site.

The director of Alaska’s Division of Elections, Gail Fenumiai, confirms that Palin registered to vote in the state for the first time in May 1982 as a Republican and hasn’t changed her party affiliation since. She also told that Palin’s husband, Todd, was registered with AIP from October 1995 to July 2000, and again from September 2000 until July 2002. (He has since been registered as undeclared.) However, the AIP says Todd Palin "never participated in any party activities aside from attending a convention in Wasilla at one time."

There is still some dispute as to whether Sarah Palin also attended the AIP’s 1994 convention, held in Wasilla. Clark and another AIP official told ABC News’ Jake Tapper that both Palins were there. Palin was elected mayor of Wasilla two years later. The McCain campaign says Sarah Palin went to the 2000 AIP convention, also held in Wasilla, “as a courtesy since she was mayor.” As governor, Palin sent a video message to the 2008 convention, which is available on YouTube, and the AIP says she attended in 2006 when she was campaigning.

Didn't Endorse Pat Buchanan

Claims that Palin endorsed conservative Republican Pat Buchanan for president in the 2000 campaign are false. She worked for conservative Republican Steve Forbes.

The incorrect reports stem from an Associated Press story on July 17, 1999, that said Palin was "among those sporting Buchanan buttons" at a lunch for Buchanan attended by about 85 people, during a swing he took through Fairbanks and Wasilla. Buchanan didn't help matters when he told a reporter for the liberal publication The Nation on Aug. 29: "I'm pretty sure she's a Buchananite." But in fact, she wasn't.

Soon after The AP story appeared, Palin wrote in a letter to the editor of the Anchorage Daily News that she had merely worn a Buchanan button as a courtesy to her visitor and was not endorsing him. The letter, published July 26, 1999, said:

Palin, July 26, 1999: As mayor of Wasilla, I am proud to welcome all presidential candidates to our city. This is true regardless of their party, or the latest odds of their winning. When presidential candidates visit our community, I am always happy to meet them. I'll even put on their button when handed one as a polite gesture of respect.

Though no reporter interviewed me for the Associated Press article on the recent visit by a presidential candidate (Metro, July 17), the article may have left your readers with the perception that I am endorsing this candidate, as opposed to welcoming his visit to Wasilla. As mayor, I will welcome all the candidates in Wasilla.

Palin actually worked for Forbes. Less than a month after being spotted wearing the "courtesy" button for Buchanan, she was named to the state leadership committee of the Forbes effort. The Associated Press reported on Aug. 7, 1999:

The Associated Press, Aug. 7 1999: State Sen. Mike Miller of Fairbanks will head the Alaska campaign chairman for Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes, campaign officials said. Joining the Fairbanks Republican on the leadership committee will be Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin, and former state GOP chairman Pete Hallgren, who will serve as co-chairs.

Still, after nine years, the truth has yet to catch up completely.

No Creationism in Schools

On Aug. 29, the Boston Globe reported that Palin was open to teaching creationism in public schools. That's true. She supports teaching creationism alongside evolution, though she has not actively pursued such a policy as governor.

In an Oct. 25, 2006, debate, when asked about teaching alternatives to evolution, Palin replied:

Palin, Oct. 25, 2006: Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And you know, I say this too as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject – creationism and evolution. It's been a healthy foundation for me. But don't be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides.

A couple of days later, Palin amended that statement in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, saying:

Palin, Oct. 2006: I don't think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn't have to be part of the curriculum.

After her election, Palin let the matter drop. The Associated Press reported Sept 3: "Palin's children attend public schools and Palin has made no push to have creationism taught in them. ... It reflects a hands-off attitude toward mixing government and religion by most Alaskans." The article was headlined, "Palin has not pushed creation science as governor." It was written by Dan Joling, who reports from Anchorage and has covered Alaska for 30 years.

That E-mail Author

Switching gears: Almost 100 readers have written to ask us if the many claims made about Palin in an e-mail written by someone named Anne Kilkenny are true. We can tell you that Kilkenny is a real person. (She was quoted by the Chicago Tribune, as we said above.) According to the New York Times, she’s a Democrat. According to Kilkenny herself, Palin “has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah’s attempt at censorship."

We’re still analyzing Kilkenny’s claims, and we will be posting something on this soon.

—by Brooks Jackson, Jessica Henig, Emi Kolawole, Joe Miller and Lori Robertson

I thought this may be a great way of not derailing other threads with things which may or may not be true or false. For example, I did not like seeing it posted that Biden may or may not have cancer. The discussions always lead to on side or the other feeling that their guy may be being unjustly slandered. So maybe this is the free zone. Where we can post those selacious rumors, and look to see if somewhere out there like Fact Check, we can find a source of truth without derailing another thread? If my idea sucks, I am was just that, and Idea.

As for the above information, I am concerned at how much the McCain camp is milking the "attacks" on Sarah in the blogosphere. is a great site, from what I've seen. :up:

(I actually think every rumor on that list has been raised and then 'fact-checked'--by Obama supporters in both cases--right here on FYM, although a couple resurfaced again later. So, we're not all bad!)

The blogosphere has definitely become infected with otherwise old-fashioned 'whisper campaign' politics...unfortunately, as with any whisper campaign, you're playing with fire if you equate its (often) anonymous perpetrators with the entire political party they come from.
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This is developing....

NEW YORK - An independent watchdog group says that Republican John McCain's campaign aired a negative TV ad on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but a tracking company says there's no evidence of that yet.

The group said Friday that the Campaign Media Analysis Group, an advertising data and analysis firm, found a negative ad from the McCain campaign airing on Denver television on Thursday. That would be a violation of the pledge both the Democratic and Republican camps took to take a one-day break from attacks and traditional campaigning.
Obama's Fannie Mae 'Connection' - Fact Checker (WaPo)
Obama's Fannie Mae 'Connection'

"Obama has no background in economics. Who advises him? The Post says it's Franklin Raines, for "advice on mortgage and housing policy." Shocking. Under Raines, Fannie Mae committed "extensive financial fraud." Raines made millions. Fannie Mae collapsed. Taxpayers? Stuck with the bill."
--McCain video release, September 18, 2008.

The Facts

The McCain video attempts to link Obama to Franklin Raines, the former CEO of the bankrupt mortgage giant, Fannie Mae, who also happens to be African-American. It then shows a photograph of an elderly white woman taxpayer who has supposedly been "stuck with the bill" as a result of the "extensive financial fraud" at Fannie Mae.

The Obama campaign last night issued a statement by Raines insisting, "I am not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters." Obama spokesman Bill Burton went a little further, telling me in an e-mail that the campaign had "neither sought nor received" advice from Raines "on any matter."

So what evidence does the McCain campaign have for the supposed Obama-Raines connection? It is pretty flimsy, but it is not made up completely out of whole cloth. McCain spokesman Brian Rogers points to three items in the Washington Post in July and August. It turns out that the three items (including an editorial) all rely on the same single conversation, between Raines and a Washington Post reporter, Anita Huslin, who wrote a Style section profile of the discredited Fannie Mae boss that appeared on July 16. The profile reported that Raines, who retired from Fannie Mae four years ago, had "taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters."

Since this has now become a campaign issue, I asked Huslin to provide the exact circumstances of the quote. She explained that she was chatting with Raines during the photo shoot, and asked "if he was engaged at all with the Democrats' quest for the White House. He said that he had gotten a couple of calls from the Obama campaign. I asked him about what, and he said 'oh, general housing, economy issues.' ('Not mortgage/foreclosure meltdown or Fannie-specific,' I asked, and he said 'no.')" By Raines's own account, he took a couple of calls from someone on the Obama campaign, and they had some general discussions about economic issues. I have asked both Raines and the Obama people for more details on these calls, and will let you know if I receive a reply.

The McCain campaign is clearly exaggerating wildly in attempting to depict Franklin Raines as a close adviser to Obama on "housing and mortgage policy." If we are to believe Raines, he did have a couple of telephone conversations with someone in the Obama campaign. But that hardly makes him an adviser to the candidate himself--and certainly not in the way depicted in the McCain video release.
CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive - Fact Check
Fact Check: Did Obama 'profit' from Fannie and Freddie?

Amid "corruption at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," Sen. Barack Obama "profited from this system of abuse and scandal. While Fannie and Freddie were working to keep Congress away from their house of cards, Senator Obama was taking their money. He got more, in fact, than any other member of Congress, except for the Democratic chairman of the committee that oversees them." —Sen. John McCain, at a campaign stop Friday, September 19, in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The Facts
Federal law forbids candidates from receiving money directly from companies. The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics tracks donations from employees of various companies. The center's list of contributions from Fannie and Freddie employees places Obama second. Ahead of him is Sen. Chris Dodd, Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. The total listed for Obama is $126,349—a tiny fraction of the approximately $390 million his campaign has raised, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The list shows McCain has received a total of $21,550 from Fannie and Freddie employees. The list includes donations of at least $200 from those who receive paychecks from Fannie and Freddie. It also includes donations from political action committees—pooled contributions from employees. Obama decided early in his presidential run not to accept PAC contributions, but the Center for Responsive Politics' list includes all contributions for members of Congress dating back to 1989—including Obama and McCain's Senate campaigns.

The New York Times has published a separate list looking at contributions from "directors, officers, and lobbyists for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac" for the 2008 campaign cycle. That list—using figures from the Federal Election Commission—shows McCain receiving $169,000, while Obama received only $16,000. Explaining the difference, the Center for Responsive Politics said on its Web site that it does not include members of the board of directors because they could serve on boards of various companies. Their contributions are listed along with other employees of the companies they work for. And the center says lobbyists usually represent multiple clients as well, so their contributions are listed under their lobbying firms—except in-house lobbyists, who are included in the center's list.

Partially true, but misleading. Donations don't come from companies. A list of employee contributions puts Obama second, but a different list including lobbyists and directors shows McCain getting more.
Great, almost every donater works for a company. A company with many well-earning employees such as a mortgage company obviously generates a lot of donations.

Nice try, once again.
Obama's Social Security Whopper
September 20, 2008
He tells Social Security recipients their money would now be in the stock market under McCain's plan. False.
In Daytona Beach, Obama said that "if my opponent had his way, the millions of Floridians who rely on it would've had their Social Security tied up in the stock market this week." He referred to "elderly women" at risk of poverty, and said families would be scrambling to support "grandmothers and grandfathers."

That's not true. The plan proposed by President Bush and supported by McCain in 2005 would not have allowed anyone born before 1950 to invest any part of their Social Security taxes in private accounts. All current retirees would be covered by the same benefits they are now.

Obama would have been correct to say that many workers under age 58 would have had some portion of their Social Security benefits affected by the current market turmoil – if they had chosen to participate. And market drops would be a worry for those who retire in future decades. But current retirees would not have been affected. Obama's Social Security Whopper
Scaring Seniors
September 19, 2008
Updated: September 20, 2008
An Obama-Biden ad says McCain supports "cutting benefits in half" for Social Security recipients. False!
A new Obama ad characterizes the "Bush-McCain privatization plan" as "cutting Social Security Benefits in half." This is a falsehood sure to frighten seniors who rely on their Social Security checks. In truth, McCain does not propose to cut those checks at all.

The ad refers to a Bush proposal from 2005 to hold down the growth of benefits for future retirees. Compared to the buying power of benefits paid to today's retirees, that would not have been a "cut" for anybody. It would have been a "cut" of half only in relation to benefits now promised to retirees who have yet to be born. And for average workers, that "cut" in 2075 was projected by one of Obama's own economic advisers to be 28 percent, not "half."

The ad also says McCain voted "in favor of privatizing Social Security." The term "privatizing" could give the wrong impression. McCain does support creating government-managed accounts that would allow individuals to invest some portion of their Social Security payroll taxes in widely diversified stock or bond funds. Scaring Seniors
Since M-P like to make this error over and over again, I figure I can post it here even though we all know it to be false:

There He Goes Again
September 18, 2008
McCain ad misrepresents Obama's tax plan. Again.
The McCain-Palin campaign has released a new ad that once again distorts Obama's tax plans.

The ad claims Obama will raise taxes on electricity. He hasn't proposed any such tax. Obama does support a cap-and-trade policy that would raise the costs of electricity, but so does McCain.
It falsely claims he would tax home heating oil. Actually, Obama proposed a rebate of up to $1,000 per family to defray increased heating oil costs, funded by what he calls a windfall profits tax on oil companies.

The ad claims that Obama will tax "life savings." In fact, he would increase capital gains and dividends taxes only for couples earning more than $250,000 per year, or singles making $200,000. For the rest, taxes on investments would remain unchanged.

The McCain campaign argues in its documentation for this ad that, whatever Obama says he would do, he will eventually be forced to break his promise and raise taxes more broadly to pay for his promised spending programs. That's an opinion they are certainly entitled to express, and to argue for. But their ad doesn't do that. Instead, it simply presents the McCain camp's opinion as a fact, and it fails to alert viewers that its claims are based on what the campaign thinks might happen in the future.

In what has become an ongoing theme, the McCain-Palin campaign has released yet another ad that makes false claims about Barack Obama's tax plan. The ad, which was released on Sept. 18 and which the campaign says will air nationally, claims that Obama will raise income taxes and will tax "life savings, electricity and home heating oil." As we keep saying, Obama says he'll raise income taxes and capital gains taxes only for couples earning more than $250,000 per year or singles making over $200,000. He has proposed no plans to raise taxes on either home heating oil or electricity.
I really hope you all dug deep and gave as much as you possibly could! I know I certainly did.
you can help by following this link right now to give $25, $50, $100, $250 or more to McCain-Palin Victory 2008.

Thank goodness for the internet politics.
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What ad are you guys talking about?

This might be absolutely normal for you guys there, but I'm automatically soured toward anything which asks for money in the same breath as pushing any kind of truth. Unless it's for cancer or something important. Politics? Not likely.
September 26, 2008
Dubious Claims in Obama’s Ads Against McCain, Despite Vow of Truth
ROANOKE, Va. — Two weeks ago, Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign gleefully publicized a spate of news reports about misleading and untruthful statements in the advertisements of his rival, Senator John McCain. Asked by a voter in New Hampshire if he would respond in kind, Mr. Obama said, “I just have a different philosophy, I’m going to respond with the truth,” adding, “I’m not going to start making up lies about John McCain.”

Yet as Mr. McCain’s misleading advertisements became fodder on shows like “The View” and “Saturday Night Live,” Mr. Obama began his own run of advertisements on radio and television that have matched the dubious nature of Mr. McCain’s more questionable spots.

A radio advertisement running in Wisconsin and other contested states misleadingly reports that Mr. McCain “has stood in the way of” federal financing for stem cell research; Mr. McCain did once oppose such federally supported research but broke with President Bush to consistently support it starting in 2001 (his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, does not support it).

A commercial running here on Thursday morning highlighting Mr. McCain’s votes against incentives for alternative energy misleadingly asserts he supports tax breaks for “one source of energy: oil companies.” Mr. McCain’s proposed corporate tax break would cover all companies, including those developing new sources of power.

A new television advertisement playing in areas with high concentrations of elderly voters and emphasizing Mr. McCain’s support for President Bush’s failed plan for private Social Security accounts misleadingly implies Mr. McCain supported “cutting benefits in half” — an analysis of Mr. Bush’s plan that would have applied to upper-income Americans retiring in the year 2075.

A much criticized Spanish-language television advertisement wrongly links the views of Mr. McCain, who was a champion of the sweeping immigration overhaul pushed by Mr. Bush, to those of Rush Limbaugh, a harsh critic of the approach, and, frequently, of Mr. McCain.

The advertisement implies Mr. Limbaugh is one of Mr. McCain’s “Republican friends,” and quotes Mr. Limbaugh as calling Mexicans “stupid and unqualified.” Mr. Limbaugh has written that his quotes were taken out of context and that he was mocking the views of others.

In all, Mr. Obama has released at least five commercials that have been criticized as misleading or untruthful against Mr. McCain’s positions in the past two weeks. Mr. Obama drew complaints from many of the independent fact-checking groups and editorial writers who just two weeks ago were criticizing Mr. McCain for producing a large share of this year’s untruthful spots (“Pants on Fire,” the fact-checking Web site wrote of Mr. Obama’s advertisement invoking Mr. Limbaugh; “False!” said of his commercial on Social Security.)

Some Democrats expressed concern that Mr. Obama, in stretching the truth in some of his advertisements, was putting at risk the “above politics” persona he has tried to cultivate.

“I do think there is a risk,” said Joe Trippi, a longtime Democratic strategist. “The risk is that they seem to be different, that the appeal for Obama is ‘it’s not the same old politics.’ ”

Nevertheless, Mr. Trippi described the advertisements as “an eye for an eye.”

And other Democrats shrugged off the questionable advertisements, saying they were relieved Mr. Obama was responding to continuing, frequently misleading assaults from Mr. McCain. They did not distinguish between advertisements that are tough on Mr. McCain and those that are misleading.

Some Democrats argued that Mr. Obama had yet to produce spots along the lines of two from Mr. McCain that drew criticism two weeks ago: One that wrongly asserted Mr. Obama supported comprehensive sex education for kindergartners and another, created only for the Internet, that incorrectly asserted that Mr. Obama had been referring to Ms. Palin when he said of Mr. McCain’s new message of change, “You can put lipstick on a pig; it’s still a pig.”

“All’s fair in love, war and politics,” said Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist who was Vice President Al Gore’s press secretary in 2000. “Given the fact that the other side has come after him for quite some time, he has every right to fight back, and I think people understand that.”

Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for Mr. Obama, said the campaign stood by its advertisements.

“Our ads discuss serious differences on critical issues like stem cell research, Social Security and energy policy,” Mr. Vietor said. “John McCain’s ads are about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, and have been called some of the most frivolous and dishonest ads in campaign history.”

Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Mr. McCain, said, “It’s bad enough that Barack Obama fictionalizes his own record, but it is a disgrace that he lies about John McCain’s.”

The disputed spots from Mr. Obama coincide with a significantly increased advertising push by his campaign and the Democratic National Committee that has taken a decidedly negative tone in the past few weeks, perhaps reflecting the natural progression of a tight campaign. CMAG, a group that tracks political advertising, said Thursday that the $10 million Mr. Obama had spent over the previous week on advertisements represented a nearly $4 million increase from the week before.

The increased advertising push has been accompanied by a campaign by the Democratic National Committee featuring an emotional advertisement shown on African-American-oriented programs meant to encourage blacks to register to vote. It opens with violent images from the civil rights era of black marchers being attacked with power hoses and the words, “Thousands died so you could vote,” the advertisement states. The advertisement was not publicly announced by the party.

Some of the advertisements that have drawn criticism were similarly started without fanfare. Mr. Obama’s campaign did not announce it was running its new radio spot that said Mr. McCain “has stood in the way, he’s opposed stem cell research.” That ad concluded, “John McCain doesn’t understand that medical research benefiting millions shouldn’t be held hostage by the political views of a few.”

The radio advertisement correctly asserts that Mr. McCain’s running mate, Ms. Palin, is against the use of federal funds for stem cell research. But since 2001, Mr. McCain has consistently supported the financing. Last year, he voted for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which Mr. Bush vetoed, and in 2004 signed a letter to the president with 57 other senators, urging him to change his policy on stem cell research.

The campaign has said Ms. Palin will defer to Mr. McCain on the matter should they win the White House.

As backup for the advertisement’s implication that Mr. McCain is against stem cell research financing, Mr. Vietor of the Obama campaign pointed to a recent report in The Los Angeles Times that Mr. McCain had told evangelical leaders he was open to learning more about their concerns, though the article stated, “McCain did not offer any indication he would change his mind.”

The stem cell advertisement hit the airwaves around the same time Mr. Obama released his Spanish-language commercial about Mr. Limbaugh. Bill Adair, the editor of PolitiFact, the fact-checking Web site of The St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly, said that until last week, the McCain campaign was more frequently guilty of including the most egregious falsehoods in its advertisements.

But the advertisement with Mr. Limbaugh, he said, prompted PolitiFact to deliver its worst rating, “Pants on Fire,” to Mr. Obama for the first time (as opposed to six times for Mr. McCain). The “Pants on Fire” rating is defined as, “not just false, but ridiculously false,” Mr. Adair said.

“I think the Obama campaign in the last two weeks has been very aggressive with its advertising,” Mr. Adair said. “And ads like the stem cell ad and the Spanish-language ad are just not accurate.”

Mr. Obama has been previously challenged over falsehoods or misleading statements in his advertisements. For instance, the campaign has frequently been criticized for implying that Mr. McCain has singled out “big oil” as the sole recipient of his broad, corporate tax cut. Mr. Obama does it again in his latest spot, in which the announcer says he “does support tax breaks for one source of energy: Oil Companies.”

Mr. Vietor said the assertion was technically true. ads&st=cse "He Lied" About Bill Ayers?

"He Lied" About Bill Ayers?
McCain cranks out some false and misleading attacks on Obama's connection to a 1960s radical.

In a TV ad, McCain says Obama "lied" about his association with William Ayers, a former bomb-setting, anti-war radical from the 1960s and '70s. We find McCain's claim to be groundless. New details have recently come to light, but nothing Obama said previously has been shown to be false.

In a Web ad and in repeated attacks from the stump, McCain describes the two as associates, and Palin claims they "pal around" together. But so far as is known, their relationship was never very close. An Obama spokesman says they last saw each other in a chance encounter on the street more than a year ago.

McCain says in an Internet ad that the two "ran a radical 'education' foundation" in Chicago. But the supposedly "radical" group was supported by a Republican governor and included on its board prominent local civic leaders, including one former Nixon administration official who has given $1500 to McCain's campaign this year. Education Week says the group's work "reflected mainstream thinking" among school reformers. The group was the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, started by a $49 million grant from the Annenberg Foundation, which was established by the publisher Walter Annenberg, a prominent Republican whose widow, Leonore, is a contributor to the McCain campaign.


Sen. John McCain has dialed up his attacks on Sen. Barack Obama's past association with former Weather Underground activist Bill Ayers. He released a 30-second TV spot Oct. 10 claiming Obama "lied" about Ayers. A day earlier he announced a 90-second Internet ad claiming that Obama and Ayers "ran a radical education foundation together" and suggesting Obama was being untruthful.

We find McCain's accusation that Obama "lied" to be groundless. It is true that recently released records show half a dozen or so more meetings between the two men than were previously known, but Obama never denied working with Ayers.

Other claims are seriously misleading. The education project described in the Web ad, far from being "radical," had the support of the Republican governor and was run by a board that included prominent local leaders, including one Republican who has donated $1500 to McCain's campaign this year. The project is described by Education Week as reflecting "mainstream thinking" about school reform.

Despite the newly released records, there's still no evidence of a deep or strong "friendship" with Ayers, a former radical anti-war protester whose actions in the 1960s and '70s Obama has called "detestable" and "despicable." Even the description of Ayers as a "terrorist" is a matter of interpretation. Setting off bombs can fairly be described as terrorism even when they are intended to cause only property damage, which is what Ayers has admitted doing in his youth. But for nearly three decades since, Ayers has lived the relatively quiet life of an educator. It would be correct to call him a "former terrorist," and an "unapologetic" one at that. But if McCain means the word "terrorist" to invoke images of 9/11, he's being misleading; Ayers is no Osama bin Laden now, and never was.

Who's Misleading?

McCain is not accurate when he says – as he does in the Web ad – "When their relationship became an issue, Obama just responded, 'This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood.' " McCain is using the same line in personal appearances, too. He said on Oct. 9 at a campaign rally in Waukesha, Wis.: "Look, we don't care about an old washed-up terrorist and his wife, who still, at least on Sept. 11, 2001, said he still wanted to bomb more. ... The point is, Senator Obama said he was just a guy in the neighborhood. We need to know that's not true."

Obama never said Ayers was "just" a guy in the neighborhood. The quote is from a Democratic primary debate on April 16 in Philadelphia, and Obama actually was more forthcoming than McCain lets on. Obama specifically acknowledged working together with Ayers on a charitable board, and didn't deny getting some early political support from him. Here's the exchange:

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, April 16: An early organizing meeting for your state senate campaign was held at his house, and your campaign has said you are friendly. Can you explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won't be a problem?

Obama: George, but this is an example of what I'm talking about. This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense, George.

Sen. Hillary Clinton then said, "I also believe that Senator Obama served on a board with Mr. Ayers for a period of time, the Woods Foundation," and predicted that "this is an issue that certainly Republicans will be raising."

Obama responded, "President Clinton pardoned or commuted the sentences of two members of the Weather Underground, which I think is a slightly more significant act than me ... serving on a board with somebody for actions that he did 40 years ago."

We wrote back then that Clinton had gone too far by suggesting that "people died" as a result of Ayers' actions. And nothing Obama said then has since been shown to be false. It is true that he did not bring up his work with Ayers on a second project, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, where Obama was board chairman and Ayers was an early organizer, and where the two were together for half a dozen or so meetings. But neither Clinton nor Stephanopoulos asked him about that project. McCain could fairly accuse Obama of not volunteering the information, but it is false to claim he "lied."

"Pal Around"

The first to begin using the new line of attack against Obama was McCain's running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, after a lengthy article appeared Oct. 3 in the New York Times about Obama and Ayers: "Our opponents see America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who would bomb their own country."

She's repeated the charge again and again at different campaign stops since then, citing the Times. What the Times article actually says, however, is this: "[T]he two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers." The Times says its review of documents and interviews with key players "suggest" that Obama "has played down his contacts with Ayers," but describes their paths as having crossed "sporadically" since their first meeting in 1995. And far from palling around with Ayers, the two haven't spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Obama came to the Senate in January 2005, according to an Obama spokesman. He said the two last saw each other more than a year ago, when they accidentally met on the street in their Hyde Park neighborhood.

Obama addressed Palin's claim on Oct. 8, when questioned by ABC News' Charlie Gibson: "This is a guy who engaged in some despicable acts 40 years ago when I was eight years old. By the time I met him, 10 or 15 years ago, he was a college professor of education at the University of Illinois. ... And the notion that somehow he has been involved in my campaign, that he is an adviser of mine, that ... I've 'palled around with a terrorist', all these statements are made simply to try to score cheap political points."

Stormy Weather, Underground

Bill Ayers' notoriety dates from the radical, anti-Vietnam War group he helped to start in 1969, splintering off from the activist Students for a Democratic Society. The members of the new group, the Weather Underground, favored shows of violence to further their cause. On March 6, 1970, though, three of them blew themselves up in a Greenwich Village townhouse during a bomb-making session gone badly awry. Ayers and his fellow Weathermen, as they were called, soon dropped out of sight.

Barack Obama, who was born Aug. 4, 1961, was 8 years old at the time.

The Weather Underground continued setting off bombs, including one in a men's lavatory in the Capitol building in 1971 and another in a women's restroom in the Pentagon in 1972. Nobody was killed, due to evacuation warnings the Weathermen sent out in advance. After the Vietnam War ended, the group's activities petered out. In 1980 Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, another member, surfaced and turned themselves in to police. Because of illegal federal wiretaps, pending charges against Ayers for allegedly inciting a riot and conspiring to bomb government sites had been dropped. Dohrn pleaded guilty to separate charges of aggravated battery and jumping bail; she was fined $1500 and given three years' probation. Ayers and Dohrn, who had had two children together while in hiding, married in 1982.

Several other Weather Underground alums, including Kathy Boudin, along with some members of a group calling itself the Black Liberation Army, were involved in a bungled 1981 robbery of a Brinks truck in Nanuet, N.Y., in which a security guard and two policemen were killed. Ayers and Dohrn have never been publicly tied to the incident, which took place after they had turned themselves in. Dohrn was jailed for seven months for refusing to provide a handwriting sample to the grand jury investigating it.

Dohrn is now a clinical associate professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. Ayers is a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Locally, Ayers' radical past hasn't been much of an issue. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet wrote last spring that it "was no big deal, or any deal, to any local political reporters or to the editorial boards of the Sun-Times or [Chicago] Tribune." Ayers was named a Chicago citizen of the year in 1997 for his efforts in the field of education.

In Chicago, Ayers is seen less as a "terrorist" and more as a prodigal son of the local establishment. His father was a prominent corporate executive and civic leader. Thomas G. Ayers was president and chief executive of Commonwealth Edison, the electric utility that lights Chicago and northern Illinois. There is a residence hall named for him at Northwestern University, where he was a trustee for 30 years. Bill's brother John Ayers, according to Education Week, headed a school-reform group called the Leadership for Quality Education, which represented business leaders’ interest in schools. John is now a senior associate of the Chicago-based National Association of Charter School Authorizers.

Despite the fairly mainstream life he lives now, though, Bill Ayers' image took a hit with an article that appeared in the New York Times on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. Ayers was quoted in the lead paragraph as saying, ''I don't regret setting bombs'' and "I feel we didn't do enough." The interview had been conducted earlier, in connection with the publication of Ayers' memoir of his years as a fugitive. But when the quotes appeared on the same day thousands died at the World Trade Center and elsewhere, they enraged his critics.

Ayers called the story a deliberate distortion of his views. In a response on his blog, Ayers wrote: "My memoir is from start to finish a condemnation of terrorism, of the indiscriminate murder of human beings, whether driven by fanaticism or official policy. ...I said I had a thousand regrets, but no regrets for opposing the war with every ounce of my strength." That's hardly an apology, referring as it does to the U.S. role in the Vietnam War as "terrorism." Ayers has maintained a public silence since then, refusing all requests for interviews.

Even so, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley had kind words for him recently: "He’s done a lot of good in this city and nationally. ... This is 2008. People make mistakes. You judge a person by his whole life."

We Have Contact!

According to an Obama spokesman, the two men first met in 1995, when Obama was tapped to chair the board of the newly formed Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Ayers had been instrumental in creating the organization, which was to dispense grants for projects that would improve Chicago's schools. The Challenge was one of 18 projects supported by a $500 million grant announced at a White House ceremony Dec. 18, 1993, by the Annenberg Foundation, founded four years earlier by Philadelphia publisher Walter Annenberg. It was the largest single gift ever made to public education in America. The Chicago project received a $49.2 million grant in 1995, and officials administering the grant funds at Brown University announced at the time that the Chicago proposal was developed through discussions among “a broad-based coalition of local school council members, teachers, principals, school reform groups, union representatives and central office staff” convened by three educators – one of whom was Ayers. Mayor Richard M. Daley, a Democrat, and Gov. Jim Edgar, a Republican, took part in a ceremony announcing the grant.

There are other connections between Obama and Ayers: The same year the two men met through the Annenberg Challenge, Ayers hosted a meet-and-greet coffee for Obama, who was running for state Senate and who lived three blocks away from him. Obama and Ayers also were on the board of an antipoverty charity, the Woods Fund of Chicago, where their service overlapped from 2000 to 2002. And Ayers contributed $200 to Obama's campaign for the Illinois state Senate on March 2, 2001. In addition, Obama told the Chicago Tribune in 1997 that a book Ayers wrote about the juvenile court system was "a searing and timely account." This is sometimes billed by Obama's critics as a "book review." Actually, a reporter simply asked three Chicagoans for a sentence about whatever they were reading at the time.

The Annenberg Challenge connection has drawn the most attention recently, though, mainly because of articles written by Stanley Kurtz, a conservative contributor to the National Review, the publication founded by the late William F. Buckley. Kurtz first suggested on Aug. 18 that there was a "cover-up in the making" when he was unable to gain access to 132 boxes of project records housed at the University of Illinois. Records were released nine days later, along with all records held by the Annenberg Foundation itself. The Chicago Tribune, after examining the records, said they showed Ayers and Obama "attended board meetings, retreats and at least one news conference together as the education program got under way." It also said Obama and Ayers "continued to attend meetings together during the 1995-2001 operation of the program." The story played on page 2. According to the New York Times, the documents show the two attended just six board meetings together, Obama as chairman and Ayers to inform the board on grantees and other issues. (In a press release, the McCain campaign puts the number of meetings at seven, five of them in 1995, one in 1996 and one in 1997.) Ayers was an "ex officio" member of the board for the first year of the project.

United Press International summed up the reaction to the contents of the group's archives with a story headlined "No 'smoking gun' in Obama relationship": "Reporters reviewing records in Chicago have so far found nothing startling in documents linking Sen. Barack Obama to 1960s radical William Ayers."

Where news reporters found little of note, though, Kurtz – the conservative writer who initially suggested a "cover-up" – cast it differently. After combing through the Annenberg records, he published an article in the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal saying he found that Obama and Ayers acted as "partners" and together "poured more than $100 million into the hands of community organizers and radical education activists." He said money went to groups that "focused more on political consciousness, Afrocentricity and bilingualism than traditional education."

A "Radical" Foundation? Hardly.

What Kurtz – and McCain in his Web ad – considers "radical," other observers see differently, however. Veteran education reporter Dakarai I. Aarons, writing in Education Week, says the Chicago Annenberg Challenge actually "reflected mainstream thinking among education reformers" and had bipartisan support: "The context for the Chicago proposal to the Annenberg Foundation was the 1988 decentralization of the city’s public schools by the Republican-controlled Illinois legislature, a response to frustration over years of teachers’ strikes, low achievement, and bureaucratic failure. ... The proposal was backed by letters of support to the Annenberg Foundation from Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, a Republican, local education school deans, the superintendent of the Chicago public schools, and the heads of local foundations."

Among the mainstream Chicago luminaries on Obama's board was Arnold R. Weber, a former president of Northwestern University, who in 1971 was appointed by Republican President Richard Nixon as executive director of the Cost of Living Council and who later was tapped by Republican President Ronald Reagan to serve on an emergency labor board. More recently, Weber has given $1500 to John McCain's presidential campaign this year. Others on Obama's supposedly "radical" board included Stanley Ikenberry, a former president of the University of Illinois system; Ray Romero, a vice president of Ameritech; Susan Crown, a philanthropist; Handy Lindsey, the president of the Field Foundation of Illinois; and Wanda White, the executive director of the Community Workshop for Economic Development.

Kurtz originally claimed that Ayers somehow was responsible for installing Obama as head of the board, speculating in his "cover-up" article that Obama "almost certainly received the job at the behest of Bill Ayers." But after days of poring over the records, he failed to produce any evidence of that in his Wall Street Journal article. To the contrary, Ayers was not involved in the choice, according to Deborah Leff, then president of the Joyce Foundation. She told the Times, and confirmed to, that she recommended Obama for the position to Patricia Graham of the Spencer Foundation. Graham told us that she asked Obama if he'd become chairman; he accepted, provided Graham would be vice-chair.

The bipartisan board of directors, which did not include Ayers, elected Obama chairman, and he served in that capacity from 1995 to 1999, awarding grants for projects and raising matching funds. Ayers headed up a separate arm of the group, working with grant recipients. According to another board member, Ayers "was not significantly involved with the challenge after Obama was appointed." One possible reason had little to do with Obama himself, but instead was related to cautions about conflicts of interest; the group was funding some of Ayers' own alternative school projects. In any case, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge failed to bring about improvement in students' test scores, classroom behavior or social competence. An independent consortium of educators concluded in 2003 that “Annenberg schools did not achieve an overall effect on student outcomes” compared with schools that received no support from the project. Education Week quoted some project supporters as saying it succeeded in raising interest in helping failing schools.


Voters may differ in how they see Ayers, or how they see Obama’s interactions with him. We’re making no judgment calls on those matters. What we object to are the McCain-Palin campaign’s attempts to sway voters – in ads and on the stump – with false and misleading statements about the relationship, which was never very close. Obama never “lied” about this, just as he never bragged about it. The foundation they both worked with was hardly “radical.” And Ayers is more than a former "terrorist," he’s also a well-known figure in the field of education.
This is a huge one that McCain is trying to spin in order to get the economy issue on his side. Too bad it's false.

Fact check: Would Obama hike taxes on small businesses that employ 16 million?
The Statement: Speaking during a campaign stop Monday, Oct. 20 in Belton, Missouri, Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain criticized Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama's proposals on taxes. "The Obama tax increase would come at the worst possible time for America, and especially for small businesses like the one Joe dreams of owning," McCain said. "The small businesses Senator Obama would tax provide 16 million jobs in America."

Get the facts!

The Facts: McCain's criticism appears primarily aimed at Obama's personal income tax proposals — which he says would give tax cuts or leave taxes the same for individuals who make less than $200,000 or families that earn less than $250,000 — but increase them on people making more. Roughly 85 percent of small businesses are taxed at the owner's personal income tax rate, according to an editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Most of those businesses earn less than $250,000 a year.

The McCain campaign uses figures from a National Federation of Independent Business survey to back up its claim. The survey says 12 percent of business owners who employ between one and nine people earn more than $200,000 a year — as do 27 percent of those who employ 10-19 people and 50 percent of those who employ between 20 and 250 workers. Obama says $200,000 is the lowest income level at which an individual would see a tax increase under his plan.

But in assuming all of those business owners would see an increase, the McCain campaign appears to suppose that all of the business owners making between $200,000 and $250,000 would file their taxes individually, not jointly with a spouse or other family member. And roughly 15 percent of small businesses aren't taxed based on the owner's personal income rate, as the Journal notes. Based on those facts, it's impossible to know exactly how many of those business owners would see a tax hike — but it surely would not be 100 percent.

The McCain campaign uses census figures to estimate how many people work for the businesses it says would be impacted — an effort McCain spokesman Brian Rogers acknowledges is "admittedly a rough estimate." The NFIB says the number of jobs small businesses create is "impossible to calculate," in part because some people only work at small businesses part-time while holding down full time jobs with a bigger employer.

The Verdict: False. McCain uses an overly broad interpretation of the NFIB survey's figures — applying Obama's tax plan to those figures in a way that is highly unlikely to match reality.
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