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August 08, 2011 9:46 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - August 7, 2011

The highlight of yesterday's Sunday political talk shows was Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) deceptive performance on Fox. Ryan misled on a range of topics, from the causes of the S&P downgrade of U.S. debt, to the drivers of that debt, to President Obama's policy positions, to the reasons businesses aren't expanding today, with plenty of stops in between. By comparison, Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) dishonesty about Afghanistan and Social Security, Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) bogus economic statistics, and Sen. Jeff Sessions' (R-AL) deceit on deficits under President Bush and Democrats' willingness to cut spending were barely even blips on the radar.

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August 05, 2011 10:59 am ET

"Where Are The Jobs?" Republicans Cut Them

After pushing through a debt-ceiling increase deal comprised entirely of spending cuts, Republicans have returned to their "Where are the jobs?" messaging campaign. It is an ironic message given that Republicans have spent the 112th Congress insisting on spending cuts that will further undermine job creation. Following in the tradition of putting ideology ahead of the economy, Republicans threatened to let the United States default until they got a debt deal that included only spending cuts. The cuts in the bill could cost Americans another 1.8 million jobs next year and continue to hurt economic growth. Ultimately, when Republicans ask, "Where are the jobs?" they should ask themselves first.

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July 29, 2011 10:22 am ET

Rep. Camp Blames Obama For Debt From GOP Policies Camp Supported

During a July 28 speech on the House floor, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) produced a chart comparing the debt accumulated under the Obama and Bush administrations. According to Camp, "President Obama's actions" have led to "twice the debt in half the time" as his predecessor. However, Camp's wildly misleading assertion blames President Obama for a projected FY 2009 deficit that was already over $1 trillion when he took office, while ignoring the fiscal impact that Bush's policies are still having. Not surprisingly, Camp voted for the Bush policies that caused the deficit to explode.

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July 25, 2011 10:12 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - July 24, 2011

This week's Sunday shows were largely about the struggle to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling. On Fox News Sunday, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) blamed Obama's policies for "out of control" spending without noting that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recession, and the Bush tax cuts are the primary drivers of debt and deficits. He also touted the deeply problematic balanced budget amendment. On CNN, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) claimed that the House-passed GOP budget eliminated all corporate loopholes when it really secures tax breaks for big oil, all while necessitating a middle-class tax hike. Price also minimized the very serious effects of the checks that won't get paid out if the debt limit isn't raised by August 2nd. Later, Tim Pawlenty falsely claimed that President Obama is responsible for tripling deficits within his term. On Face the Nation, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) wrongly said that spending alone is the problem driving deficits. Finally, on Meet the Press, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) justified the GOP's efforts to obstruct debt ceiling negotiations by distorting credit rating agencies' warnings, and then blamed Democrats for the GOP-driven politicization of a Federal Aviation Administration funding bill.

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July 22, 2011 10:53 am ET

Sen. Hutchison Falsely Claims The Affordable Care Act Is "Why People Aren't Hiring"

This morning on MSNBC's The Daily Rundown, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) told host Chuck Todd that the she would favor any debt ceiling bargain that would curb the Affordable Care Act because "That's why people aren't hiring" and "the biggest thing that is hurting our economy right now." In fact, economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal and members of a right-leaning business association agree that the main reason for tempered hiring is uncertainty due to weak demand, not government policies.

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July 18, 2011 10:21 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - July 17, 2011

The looming default crisis dominated the Sunday talk shows, which meant Republicans were busy misrepresenting their own proposals, the polling about their proposals, and the policies that put us in this mess to begin with. On NBC, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) claimed the GOP's balanced budget amendment scheme is the only way to satisfy credit raters about U.S. creditworthiness, which is simply not true. On ABC, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) pretended that polling supports the GOP's anti-tax zealotry despite at least 21 polls this year that show broad opposition to their ideological stance. On Fox, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) falsely claimed the GOP's scheme doesn't require even steeper cuts to the safety net than the House 2012 budget and unfairly laid the blame for our debt entirely at President Obama's feet, and Herman Cain lied about who pays top-end income tax rates. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani misrepresented recent economic history and exaggerated his own budget accomplishments in New York City, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) misled viewers about Social Security.

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July 11, 2011 4:32 pm ET

Private-Sector Growth Cracks 1,000,000 Net Jobs Since Recovery Act Took Effect

Most of the statistics Republicans use to criticize President Obama's economic record rely on the same basic distortion: They begin counting in January 2009, when President Obama was sworn in, but months before any policy of his could have any cause-and-effect relationship with economic data. In 2010, economist Robert Shapiro wrote that economic statistics through July 2009 — "the first six months of the Obama presidency, before his policies could affect the economy" — should be blamed on (or credited to) the Bush administration's influence. Using that six-month buffer, and even debiting almost 300,000 lost jobs in July 2009 against Obama's account, the private sector has grown by over one million net jobs since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act took effect. Meanwhile, despite the chronic Republican claim that all Obama has done is grow the government, the public sector has shed nearly half a million net jobs over the same period.

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July 11, 2011 11:09 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - July 10, 2011

This week's Sunday political talk shows focused largely on the looming default crisis, with a chorus of Republican leaders singing the GOP talking points on the negotiations. In the wake of Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) reported rejection of President Obama's proposal of trillions in deficit reduction for an increase in the debt ceiling, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) dishonestly told Fox News Sunday viewers that "Nobody is talking about not raising the debt ceiling." Also on Fox, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) defended his demand for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution by misleadingly stating that 49 states are required to balance their budgets every year. On CNN, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) misrepresented Senate Democrats' proposal for lowering the debt and wrongly claimed that federal revenues went up as a result of the Bush tax cuts. And on NBC's Meet the Press, presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty unleashed a series of false attacks on President Obama's economic record.

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July 05, 2011 9:35 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - July 3, 2011

The pre-Fourth of July Sunday shows featured a lot of talk about America's involvement overseas, particularly in Afghanistan and Libya, but the GOP lawmakers found time to squeeze in some tired misinformation about the economy as well as a few new falsehoods. On CNN's State of the Union, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) claimed that the American people "don't want compromise" on the budget and debt ceiling, but polling shows Americans are amenable to combinations of tax increases and spending cuts. He also minimized the dangers of a default, even though economists and the financial sector warn that even a short default could prove economically catastrophic. On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) spent much of his airtime bashing President Obama, claiming that the president ignored his own bipartisan fiscal commission's report in his State of the Union address and that Obama hasn't put forward a debt reduction plan of his own. Both of these are false. In addition, Cornyn blamed "the president and his party" for the unemployment rate even though the Recovery Act has helped slowly begin to turn the unemployment picture around from a place where it was shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs each month.

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June 27, 2011 1:56 pm ET

House Republicans Have Tried To Eliminate Up To 6.7 Million Jobs In 2011

Since the Republicans took control of the House in January, they have made deficit reduction their top priority. However, while Republicans dutifully argue that slashing spending will create a positive "environment for job creation," their proposed budget cuts will cause significant job losses in the near-term. In just three bills this session, House Republicans have voted to eliminate between 4 and 5 million jobs, with some economists calling their estimates "conservative." Including proposed legislation that has not yet passed, House Republicans have attempted to eliminate up to 6.7 million jobs.

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June 27, 2011 11:28 am ET

Seriously Extreme: Rep. Bachmann's Journey To GOP Presidential Candidate

Today, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) formally announced that she is seeking the Republican presidential nomination at an event in Iowa. In a field of lackluster candidates, Bachmann is an unabashedly polarizing figure whose statements, agenda, and policy positions are not only often factually inaccurate but are also frequently imbued with extreme, hateful, homophobic and even violent rhetoric. The fact that she is considered a viable representation of the Republican party sends a stark message about the toxicity of the GOP in 2012. Often the Affordable Care Act's most apoplectic opponent, Bachmann has suggested that health care reform will result in "death panels" as well as "school-based sex clinics," and that it could allow a 13-year-old girl can be taken to an abortion clinic during a school day to "have their abortion, be back and go home on the school bus that night...mom and dad are never the wiser." She has rallied those against the Affordable Care Act to stand together, saying, "What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing." She has used such extreme rhetoric to oppose other policies as well, calling the federal tax code a "weapon of mass destruction" and referring to Wall Street reform as "thuggish." Additionally, Bachmann has proposed eliminating the minimum wage and cutting billions from veterans' benefits. She also voted against a bill providing for 9/11 first responders' health care and then bragged about it, calling it "new spending." Michele Bachmann's increasing legitimacy as a presidential contender speaks volumes about the atmosphere within the Republican party today.

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June 27, 2011 10:39 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - June 26, 2011

The last Sunday of June saw GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) dominate the airwaves, making the rounds on Fox News Sunday and Face the Nation. On both, Bachmann repeated lies about health care reform's effect on jobs and Medicare, sentiments echoed by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on This Week. Bachmann and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) falsely stated that even if the debt ceiling weren't raised, the country would not go into default, something most economists disagree with. On Face The Nation Bachmann falsely called the stimulus a failure and continued to baselessly blame President Obama for high gas prices. Lastly, Sen.  Jon Kyl (R-AZ), fresh off his departure from the debt ceiling talks, was on Fox News Sunday to falsely claim that tax increases would hurt the economy, a claim that the previous decade proves false.

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June 23, 2011 11:34 am ET

Heritage Foundation Clings To Myths To Defend Bush Tax Cuts

On the Heritage Foundation's Foundry blog, Mike Gonzalez, Heritage's resident Bush hagiographer, wrote a highly misleading post defending lower tax rates for the very wealthy. It's almost impossible to defend President George W. Bush's economic policies without being at least somewhat dishonest, which Gonzalez accomplishes by claiming that the fantastical idea that tax cuts "pay for themselves" is actually a straw man set up by mischievous liberals. According to Gonzalez, the Bush Administration actually "went out of their way" to make it clear that their tax cut packages were not expected to pay for themselves. The fact, however, is that time and time again, President George W. Bush and others in his administration asserted that cutting taxes increases revenue, and the Heritage Foundation itself has spread that dishonest claim. He went on to suggest that cutting taxes also spurs growth, and that the Bush tax cuts themselves helped create millions of jobs. Both claims are undermined by data on jobs and the economy that indicate Bush's tenure to be a disaster for both economic growth and employment.

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June 20, 2011 10:00 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - June 19, 2011

The war in Libya took center stage on the Sunday political talk shows, as Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) both attacked fellow Republicans for criticizing the Obama administration's controversial military campaign in the country. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stepped up to deliver the usual dose of partisan misinformation. During an appearance on CBS' Face the Nation, McConnell claimed that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act only helped "government employees" and "didn't do any good" as a whole. That's patently false; the Recovery Act has created and protected millions of jobs, and it included hundreds of billions in tax cuts. McConnell also disparaged the U.S. civilian justice system by suggesting that military commissions are more effective in prosecuting suspected terrorists. In fact, when it comes to sentencing convicted terrorists, civilian courts have issued longer sentences than military courts.

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June 14, 2011 10:53 am ET

Rep. Ryan's Misinformation Tour De Force

In an op-ed on FoxNews.com titled "Obama's Economic Experiment Has Failed - Time to Get Back to What Works," Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) put forward a slew of mischaracterizations and outright falsehoods to attack President Obama's economic record. Ignoring that Obama inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression — and that his Recovery Act helped prevent an even greater economic downturn — Ryan asserted that the Recovery Act has "failed to create jobs." To this end, Ryan also deceptively cited lackluster May jobs numbers and a report that preceded Obama's inauguration. Ryan also attacked the president's signature policies, including financial and health care reform, baselessly asserting that they didn't fix "the problems they were intended to address." He touted his own plan to 'save Medicare' (even though the GOP budget plan would dismantle the Medicare system) and falsely claimed that President Obama doesn't have any plan to address the program. He threw around meaningless catch words like "uncertainty" to attack Obama's tax policy, and misleadingly stated that the U.S.'s corporate tax rate is the highest in the developed world, when in fact the effective tax rate is lower than many other developed countries. And despite the numerous tax cuts Obama and Democrats passed over Republican objections, Ryan attacked the president for tax hikes on job creators.

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June 13, 2011 9:43 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - June 12, 2011

Sunday saw multiple GOPers blaming President Obama for job losses that are rightly blamed on President Bush's recession and pretending that Obama policies haven't started to turn the job market around. Republicans have never stopped misleading people about the impact of the Recovery Act, but ignoring two million new private-sector jobs since February 2010 is shameless. Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) each offered one jobs lie or another. Pawlenty claimed that tax cuts pay for themselves (they don't), that President Obama is "out of ideas" on economic and entitlement issues (false), that we "have to" cut Social Security (nope), that the Affordable Care Act cut $500 billion from Medicare (wrong again), and that he didn't really leave a $6 billion deficit behind at the end of his term as Governor of Minnesota (nice try). Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) falsely claimed on CBS that the GOP Medicare plan doesn't affect current seniors, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) told CNN that ending oil subsidies will increase gas prices, and Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH) told CNN that the debt ceiling deadline isn't real because "the global economy will understand" if we default.

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June 07, 2011 10:01 am ET

Bush Tax Cuts: A Decade Of Failure

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the first of the two massive tax cuts signed by President George W. Bush and is yet another great opportunity to illustrate that both tax packages failed to deliver on their promised results. Bush told the country that the tax cuts would result in economic growth and sustained prosperity, but the economy got neither. In fact, from 2001 to 2007, the economy experienced the weakest job growth since the end of World War II. While the nation's millionaires and billionaires were enriched, average household income fell for the first time on record. Worse, since the Bush tax cuts did not pay for themselves — as many conservatives claimed they would — the two tax packages added trillions to the nation's deficit. During the current debate on deficits and debt, it's important to remember just how much the Bush tax cuts accelerated the fiscal troubles we're now facing.

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June 06, 2011 10:09 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - June 5, 2011

The first Sunday in June saw potential GOP presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (R) dominating the misinformation in the Sunday talk shows. On Fox News Sunday, Palin distorted the truth about the economic recovery, blasting the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing efforts as ineffective and claiming that we've "hit a brick wall," when in fact economists agree that rounds of bond-buying easing helped stabilize the economy and that May's jobs numbers are merely a road bump. She also lied about the source of April's positive job-creation numbers, left out some key information about the U.S.'s corporate tax rate, and distorted Moody's warning about raising the debt ceiling. Palin and Barbour both had lots to say about the Republican budget proposal — all of it false. They both suggested that no one but Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has offered a viable plan to save Medicare, even though the Democrats have discussed building on reforms in the health care law in order to contain costs and save the program. Palin claimed the GOP plan will "save" Medicare (but it won't) and that it doesn't affect current seniors (but it does). Barbour repeated the old falsehood that the GOP plan will give seniors options just like those of Congress (which it won't). He also attacked the Obama administration with claims that it has helped Wall Street at the expense of Main Street; that President Obama is responsible for high gas prices; and that health care reform discourages job creation. The facts do not support those claims either.

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June 02, 2011 9:02 am ET

Mitt Romney's 'Jobs Record' Is A Sham

Mitt Romney is attempting to establish himself as the Republican presidential candidate with the most credibility on job creation, but the former Massachusetts governor may have trouble defending his record. During Romney's tenure as governor, Massachusetts' job growth was bested by every state in the nation except three, including Hurricane Katrina-devastated Louisiana. As CEO of Bain Capital, Romney profited as five of the companies under his firm's direction went bankrupt, and thousands of workers lost their jobs. One particularly brutal round of firings came back to haunt Romney during his failed 1994 Senate campaign, when laid-off workers protested his candidacy.

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May 26, 2011 1:43 pm ET

GOP's So-Called "JOBS Act" Breaks Deal With White House, Furthers Ideological Crusade Against Jobless Benefits

When the White House struck a deal with the GOP in December to temporarily extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, progressives were frustrated, but at least the deal included a commitment from Republicans to extend emergency unemployment insurance (UI) through 2011. But now, House Republicans are moving a bill to the floor that would allow states to use federal unemployment insurance funds for other purposes. They claim their deceptively named "JOBS Act" is meant to avoid tax increases necessitated by recession-driven borrowing as states try to finance jobless aid, but in fact the bill undermines the very foundations of the UI system — a system conservatives oppose on ideological grounds, despite the economic fact that it is the biggest bang-for-the-buck form of stimulus spending. Democrats, on the other hand, recognize there is a way to avoid higher UI taxes on employers without gutting the entire system.

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May 23, 2011 10:52 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - May 22, 2011

The absurd ginned-up right-wing outrage over President Obama's reiteration of a long-standing tenet of mainstream Middle East peace plans continued on Sunday morning, even as the president drew applause from the crowd at AIPAC for repeating his call for a Palestinian state based on "the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps." Newt Gingrich, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) each misrepresented the president's words in order to attack him. Honest conservatives were no easier to find on domestic policy issues either. McConnell joined Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) in claiming the House GOP budget 'saves Medicare' (although it in fact replaces the program with something utterly different) and that the White House would ration seniors' care (another falsehood). McConnell also claimed tax cuts aren't driving the debt and lied about President Obama's position on the Bush tax cuts. Meanwhile, Ryan claimed the Republican Medicare scheme polls better when you explain the details (nope), insisted Democrats haven't put forth any debt reduction plans (wrong again), and said his plan cuts $6 trillion in spending when on net it only cuts $155 billion. On CBS, Gingrich repeated an exaggeration of his record as Speaker of the House. And, not to be outdone, pizza magnate Herman Cain misled Fox viewers about the Fair Tax and claimed that failing to raise the debt ceiling would increase "market confidence," even though the market is saying the opposite.

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May 20, 2011 3:07 pm ET

Why You Shouldn't Trust Speaker Boehner's "150 Economists"

Over the last three months, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has repeatedly touted a letter he sent to President Obama in February signed by 150 American economists opposed to the administration's economic policies. The list of economists seems to suggest that experts in the field agree with Boehner. But a closer inspection reveals that many have made baseless predictions in the past, some endorse fringe economic ideas, many are employed by entities that receive funding from the Koch brothers, and others have used extreme partisan rhetoric to attack President Obama and other Democrats. Worse, 43 of the 150 economists previously signed a letter stating President Bush's tax cuts were "fiscally responsible." Boehner was hoping for credibility, but many of these economists are just not credible, even by the standards of conservative economics.

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May 16, 2011 10:39 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - May 15, 2011

The Sunday political talk shows were full of conservatives spouting misinformation about everything from energy policy and taxes to the debt and recent economic history. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) falsely claimed the economy isn't creating jobs, despite 2.1 million new private-sector jobs added over 14 straight months of growth. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) misled on Social Security, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) claimed the Bush tax cuts haven't hurt the national debt picture, and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) exaggerated the spending cuts in the House GOP budget, which total a mere $155 billion after you factor in the deep tax cuts the plan offers to the wealthiest. Each of those three claimed that ending tax subsidies for oil companies would increase gas prices, but it won't — and Kyl had to blatantly misrepresent a Congressional Research Service report to support his claim. And in a statement that sums up GOP insincerity on a negotiated debt-reduction agreement, Ryan rewrote the last decade of Republican policy by claiming that "the whole reason we're running into this debt limit so soon is because of the spending spree that has occurred over the last two years."

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May 11, 2011 4:25 pm ET

Sen. Sessions: "American People Do Not Favor More Taxation" For The Wealthy

This morning on Fox News, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) repeated the right-wing talking point that the 2010 election gave the GOP a mandate to pass essentially anything they want in the name of the American people, including additional tax cuts for the wealthy. Sessions explicitly claimed the American people reject any Democratic plan that includes a tax increase on the rich when, in fact, most Americans favor upper-income tax increases as a responsible way to get our fiscal house in order.

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May 10, 2011 2:39 pm ET

The Many Errors Of Fact In Speaker Boehner's Wall Street Speech

In what was billed as a major speech to reassure Wall Street about the ongoing political battle over the debt limit and the proper approach to debt reduction, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) threw out so many naked falsehoods that it is difficult to enumerate them concisely. Here is a table of contents to help you navigate our comprehensive fact check of the Republican leader's lies.

"Government Mortgage Companies...Triggered The Whole Meltdown"

The Recovery Act "Hurt Our Economy And Hampered Private Sector Job Creation"

"Job Creators Were Looking For Certainty," Not More Consumer Demand

"We've Also Seen The Arrogance Of Government Recently In...Skyrocketing Gas Prices"

"Energy Resources Under Lock And Key"

"Addressing The Drivers Of Our Debt" Through Taxation Would Mean Acting "In Defiance Of The Will Of Our People"

"My Colleagues And I Are Not Calling For Tax Cuts In Our Budget"

GOP Medicare Plan Gives Seniors "The Same Kind Of Options As Members Of Congress"

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May 09, 2011 2:24 pm ET

Happy Mother's Day: Women And Children Would Suffer From GOP Policies

After spending a day honoring mothers, it is important to not just give them lip service but to actually look at out how women and families are faring in regards to health care. Republicans have recently taken several votes that put women's and children's health care in jeopardy. The GOP budget that passed the House would turn Medicaid into a block grant program, which would allow states to slash services. With women and children making up significant numbers of Medicaid beneficiaries, cutting funding would be severely detrimental to these two groups. In addition, the GOP budget contains provisions that would cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), affecting the poorest and most vulnerable children. And Republicans are still bent on eliminating the Affordable Care Act, a law that provides health care coverage for the uninsured and increases benefits for the underinsured, most often women and children.

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May 09, 2011 9:51 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - May 8, 2011

The right wing deployed its war-on-terror heavy hitters to Sunday's political shows to proclaim that waterboarding — or "enhanced interrogation" — was what got us to Osama bin Laden. Former Vice President Dick Cheney (R) said those methods got us "the early leads" while his daughter Liz claimed CIA Director Leon Panetta credits the bin Laden intelligence to harsh interrogations, Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) insisted they played "a significant role," and former Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld (R) said "it's clear" that the interrogation program "worked." But the pro-torture right protests too much; there's no evidence "enhanced interrogation" led us to bin Laden, and Panetta's comments were not so clear-cut as Liz Cheney claimed. Meanwhile, on CNN, former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) misled viewers about Democratic debt-reduction plans and claimed — wrongly — that the Bush tax cuts haven't helped the wealthy or hurt the rest of us.

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April 27, 2011 12:05 pm ET

Pawlenty Absolves Himself Of Blame For Minnesota's Deficit

During an April 25 interview on Fox News, GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty stumbled when host Greta Van Susteren pointed to the massive deficit he left behind in Minnesota. The former governor was quick to blame Democratic state legislators for the state's budget woes, while claiming, "Every budget during my time as governor was balanced." In fact, Pawlenty's temporary budgetary fixes relied heavily on federal stimulus money that didn't prevent him from leaving behind "one of the worst" deficits in the nation.

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April 25, 2011 9:32 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - April 24, 2011

On Easter Sunday, two Republicans expressed the same dangerous, sweet-sounding idea about the debt limit. According to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), we needn't worry about raising the limit because the Treasury can still make interest payments without borrowing further. That may be music to voters' ears, but economists say that such a move would undermine the recovery and wipe out investor confidence in the U.S., causing the economy to spiral downward. Coburn went on to falsely claim that the president has not included entitlement reform in his debt-reduction plans. Elsewhere on Sunday, would-be 2012 candidate Rick Santorum (R-PA) told Fox that the GOP's Medicare plan is "identical" to the Affordable Care Act and wouldn't cost seniors anything extra, while Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AL) told CBS that the plan does not replace traditional Medicare with a voucher system. None of these claims is true.

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April 22, 2011 3:21 pm ET

Problematic And Unfair "Fair Tax" Would Burden Middle Class

It's no secret hard-right Republican members of Congress love to advocate lower taxes for the richest Americans. One recent GOP proposal from Rep. Bob Woodall (R-GA) exhumes the long-discredited "Fair Tax," a bill that would abolish the IRS and replace income and corporate taxes with a national retail sales tax. But the proposal has numerous problems: It relies on unsound numbers and, in practice, it would cause taxes to rise, incentivize tax evasion, and shift the tax burden onto the middle class.

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