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April 18, 2011 9:45 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - April 17, 2011

On Sunday morning, first-year Tea Party Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) almost managed to upstage her party's budget chairman by wrongly insisting on ABC that the GOP's "Path to Prosperity" budget is not a voucher program, works just like the insurance benefits for members of Congress, and would be sufficient to cover the cost of medical care for seniors. But Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) still offered the biggest whopper of the morning, claiming on CBS that the GOP budget doesn't cut taxes for the rich. None of these claims is true. The Republican plan slashes income taxes for the wealthy to Herbert Hoover levels while eliminating the capital gains tax. For the non-rich, the plan would end Medicare as we know it, leaving the typical 65-year-old with over $20,000 in annual medical costs by the year 2030. Meanwhile, freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) claimed President Obama hasn't helped grow the economy, which is demonstrably false, and Walsh joined Rep. Allen West (R-FL) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) in calling for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that would in fact cripple Congress' ability to control spending and address recessions.

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April 11, 2011 10:13 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - April 10, 2011

With a government shutdown narrowly averted this weekend, the Sunday shows focused naturally on spending issues. On CBS, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) made the absurd assertion that government spending caused the recession (and not rampant fraud on Wall Street), and falsely claimed that a balanced budget amendment would help our fiscal situation. On Fox, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) repeated a favorite GOP lie about entitlement programs — that they "are not gonna be there for me when I retire" unless voters allow conservatives to rip holes in the safety net. And on NBC, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) misled viewers about his budget proposal that would undo safety net programs like Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps while cutting taxes for the richest Americans and protecting special interest tax loopholes for Big Oil. Meanwhile on ABC, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) seemed to have forgotten that he voted in February to eliminate all Title X funding for family planning services.

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April 05, 2011 12:00 pm ET

"Hope Isn't Hiring"? The RNC's New Attack Site Is Full Of Lies

The premise of the RNC's new attack website,, is that President Obama has nothing more than positive rhetoric and good vibes to offer to those hardest hit by the recession. But if you account for the facts in telling the story of the past two years, things aren't nearly so convenient for the GOP. Far from an aloof figure during the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, President Obama has pushed policies that turned the economy around past Republican obstructionism. The strong rebound in private-sector job growth over the past two years proves the 'Hiring' site is just another vacuous gimmick.

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March 14, 2011 1:17 pm ET

REPORT: The Republican Party's War On Jobs

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March 14, 2011 9:50 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - March 13, 2011

Natural disasters nearly crowded out political chatter on the Sunday talk shows, but conservative guests dutifully plugged talking points into the spaces between stories about leaking reactors and coastal devastation in Japan. Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) are still clinging to the notion that the Recovery Act didn't lead to the current economy recovery, and each man blamed President Obama for the spike in gas prices that's followed recent political turmoil in the Middle East. McConnell also claimed the government's done nothing to address entitlement costs, although the Affordable Care Act took a number of steps to reign in the health care spending that's darkening our fiscal horizon. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-TN) falsely insisted that tax cuts increase revenues on Fox News Sunday, while Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) misled Meet the Press viewers about Gov. Scott Walker's (R-WI) campaign rhetoric.

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March 07, 2011 10:06 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - March 6, 2011

For the first time in weeks, the Sunday political shows didn't touch on GOP union-busting efforts in Wisconsin and elsewhere, choosing instead to focus on national economic issues. That meant a series of tired talking points from familiar Republican faces. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) implied Democrats have raised taxes, when in fact they've cut taxes by hundreds of billions. Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) ignored economic growth and 1.5 million new private sector jobs in the past year to attack President Obama's economic policies. Bachmann also misled NBC viewers about the Affordable Care Act and the partisan nature of the Tea Party. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claimed the administration has protected government workers at the expense of private sector jobs. On less familiar topics, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) dishonestly insisted American Muslims don't cooperate with law enforcement despite much evidence to the contrary, and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) foolishly claimed that Apple electronics are manufactured in America. Somebody should tell that to the Chinese factory workers who built your iPhone.

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February 15, 2011 12:05 pm ET

Speaker Boehner Is Wrong About "200,000 New Federal Jobs" In Obama Era

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) claimed this morning at a press conference that "under President Obama, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs." That's at least a 344 percent overstatement. In reality, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the federal workforce has grown by only 58,000 jobs since Obama took office (and by just 25,000 jobs since his economic policies began to impact the economy). Furthermore, Boehner's implication that government workers are thriving in a recession does not jibe with the larger picture. While the private sector has added 381,000 net jobs since Obama policies took effect, overall government employment has fallen by 309,000 jobs over the same period.

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February 14, 2011 9:54 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - February 13, 2011

With Valentine's Day looming, the Sunday shows provided a timely reminder of the GOP's love for false talking points. While Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) wrongly claimed that President Obama "refused to support" pro-democracy protestors in Iran in 2009, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) confined themselves to stale misinformation about the economy. On Fox, Ryan implied that government workers have benefited most from Democrats' economic policies, alleged that President Obama tried to raise taxes by $2 trillion last year, and claimed that the president has increased spending by 84 percent. Meanwhile on NBC, Speaker Boehner told viewers that Obama's policies "destroy jobs." No matter how many times Republican leaders say these things, the facts continue to demonstrate that they're just not true.

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February 07, 2011 1:08 pm ET

Rep. Hensarling's Reagan-Obama Op-Ed Relies On Sweeping Economic Misinformation

In a column in today's Politico, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) assails President Obama's economic record with a variety of stale Republican talking points. While Hensarling wraps his misinformation in the legacy of President Reagan, he'd do well to remember Reagan's admonition that we are entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts. Whether Hensarling likes it or not, the fact is that President Bush's policies left the 2009 budget $1.2 trillion in the hole before Obama was sworn into office. Similarly, Hensarling said we are 'slipping further' into "record unemployment," but the data prove the jobs situation has been improving steadily for months. Neither do the facts support Hensarling's claims that the Affordable Care Act is bad for the budget picture and that Democrats increased federal spending by 84 percent since 2008.

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January 31, 2011 10:13 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - January 30, 2011

With the eyes of the world on Egypt, the political talk shows on Sunday still found time to let the Republican leaders in Congress recite dishonest talking points about domestic policy. On NBC's Meet the Press, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declared that President Obama's economic philosophy "doesn't work," even after 12 consecutive months of private-sector job growth, and repeated the false claim that the Affordable Care Act cuts $500 billion from Medicare. On Fox News Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) described the Affordable Care Act as "job killing," despite the fact that nonpartisan experts disagree, and falsely stated that repealing the law would save money.  

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January 28, 2011 10:53 am ET

Chamber Of Commerce Denounces Report That Undermines Its Partisan Interests

Yesterday, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission released its final report on the causes of the financial crisis. The report concluded that recklessness and greed on the part of Wall Street, bad analysis by credit rating agencies, and a failure on the part of government regulators created an otherwise avoidable crisis. Almost immediately, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce attacked the report's conclusion. In a press release, the Chamber slammed the commission's report, writing, "The failure of this commission to do its job is more bad news for workers and businesses who depend on robust, well-regulated, world-leading capital markets to fund growth and job creation." Of course, the commission did exactly what it was tasked to do. The Chamber — which is paid to shill for Wall Street — just doesn't want to accept the facts. Not only do the Chamber's complaints about the Commission hold no water, but time and time again, the Chamber has been at the very center of problems that the commission concluded was responsible for the crisis.

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January 26, 2011 5:25 pm ET

Rep. Price: $1.5 Trillion Deficit Estimate Due To "Democrats' Gross Mismanagement"

The Congressional Budget Office released today a Budget and Economic Outlook report for 2011 through 2021, and many Republicans as well as Democrats have responded appropriately to its conclusion that we can expect a $1.5 trillion budget deficit for 2011. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), on the other hand, went ahead and ignored the substance of the report to attribute the expected deficit to "the pursuit of a big government agenda" and "the gross mismanagement of our nation's finances." Yet the CBO report itself explained that expected deficits are largely the result of the recession.

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January 26, 2011 10:47 am ET

Sen. McCain Repeats Rep. Ryan's "Nifty" Spending Distortion

This morning on Fox & Friends, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) praised GOP State of the Union responder Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), saying that Ryan "understands these issues better than almost anybody else." Maybe he should have stopped there. Instead, he repeated what PolitiFact calls Rep. Ryan's "nifty accounting maneuver" by saying, "we increased spending by some 84 percent in the last two years." In fact, spending levels have increased but they have not skyrocketed to these levels. In other words, McCain and Ryan deliberately hyperbolize spending numbers to scare the American public.

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January 25, 2011 10:40 pm ET

Fact Checking Rep. Ryan's State Of The Union Response

In his televised response to President Obama's State of the Union address, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) repeated a series of debunked Republican talking points and attacks on Democratic policies. Among other things, Ryan absurdly claimed that the Recovery Act "failed" to create jobs, overstated Obama's role in creating the current debt, and stubbornly insisted that the Affordable Care Act will increase the deficit, even though nonpartisan experts say that he's wrong.

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January 25, 2011 4:19 pm ET

Rep. Pence Ignores Recent History In State Of The Union Prebuttal

In a one-minute speech at the outset of today's House session, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) predicted President Obama will portray the past two years of economic policy as "pulling the economy back from the brink," and disagreed with that view of the recent past. "Far from pulling our economy back, the weight of debt and taxes and regulation have stifled our economic recovery," Pence said. "Mr. President, we will not win the future with the failed economic policies of the past." Yet the private sector has added jobs each month for the past year, for a total of 1.3 million new private jobs in 2010. This steady job growth stands in stark contrast with the 800,000 job losses per month — a product of President Bush's "failed economic policies of the past" — that greeted President Obama at the start of his term.

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January 24, 2011 10:02 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - January 23, 2011

On the Sunday shows, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) showed why they hold leadership roles in the modern GOP: they are maestros of misinformation. Appearing on Fox News, McConnell dissembled about everything from corporate taxes to the Recovery Act. He even suggested that the private sector isn't growing right now (although 1.3 million new jobs in the past year make the claim laughable) and claimed that "nobody's talking about" voting against the debt ceiling, despite well over a dozen prominent Republicans who are on record opposing the debt vote. For his part, Cantor told NBC viewers that the entitlement program cuts in Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap" are not "draconian," but the reality is that Ryan's plan would effectively dismantle the social safety net provided by Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Later on Meet the Press, former Bush adviser Karen Hughes told a whopper about job losses during President Obama's tenure.

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January 07, 2011 11:11 am ET

Rep. Bachmann Trots Out Chart Blaming Obama For Bush's Debt

On several television programs over the last few days, including NBC's Today Show and Fox News' Hannity and On the Record, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has brought out a chart purporting to show that the deficit has exploded as a result of President Obama's policies. While the deficit is indeed higher under the Obama administration than it was during the Bush administration, that's an effect of a global recession and of Bush-era policies like the Bush tax cuts and the war in Iraq.

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January 03, 2011 9:55 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - January 2, 2011

The first Sunday political shows of 2011 continued the grand tradition of conservatives casually tossing off fact-free, up-is-down talking points in order to demonize Democrats. On CNN, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) brazenly claimed the Recovery Act didn't actually create any jobs, and the Affordable Care Act didn't really reform the health care system. On Fox News, anti-tax Senator-elect Mike Lee (R-UT) was chagrined that cutting taxes by $800 billion over the next two years will cost approximately $800 billion. In a similarly fact-averse appearance on CBS, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act is increasing health care costs. Meanwhile on NBC, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) claimed that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the sub-prime mortgage meltdown that sabotaged the economy in 2007. That's a more complicated issue, but even experts who despise Fannie and Freddie say that private lenders, and not the government-backed mortgage giants, are responsible for the bad-mortgage bubble.

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December 06, 2010 9:43 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - December 5, 2010

The lame duck session may be young, but lame Republican arguments on Sunday morning talk shows are a tradition in this town. This week, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) deceived Fox News viewers about the Affordable Care Act's impact on the cost of health care; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich labeled Democrats' tax proposal "class warfare," when the data show tax breaks for the wealthy are bad for the economy (and worse for the debt); and Gingrich suggested that business owners aren't hiring because of tax uncertainty, but that doesn't explain the decade of economic stagnation that followed the "certainty" of the Bush tax cuts. Meanwhile, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) claimed Democrats are "just spending, spending, spending and taxing, taxing, taxing," despite the fact that Democrats passed 25 separate tax relief measures in 2009 alone. Hatch and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) each claimed that "700,000 small businesses" will be affected by higher tax rates on the wealthy, a number that counts athletes, authors, and Wall Street giants as "small." Finally, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) flagrantly misrepresented a recent Gallup poll showing Americans want Bush's tax giveaways to the rich to end.

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December 02, 2010 6:37 pm ET

Rand Paul Claims That Unemployment Benefits Encourage Unemployment

Senator-elect Rand Paul (R-KY) appeared on Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto today where he was asked about his position on a potential deal that would extend unemployment benefits as well as a package of Republican-favored tax cuts. Paul railed against an extension of the benefits, criticizing their cost and suggesting that they encourage unemployment. However, economists and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office have concluded that these benefits have a marginal effect on the duration of an individual's period of unemployment and actually are one of the most cost-effective ways of stimulating the economy.

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November 23, 2010 5:49 pm ET

Republican Criticism Of Quantitative Easing Impedes Economic Growth

One of the many policies Republicans have attacked of late is that of quantitative easing (QE) — a monetary policy used by central banks, such as the Federal Reserve, to increase the money supply by increasing excess reserves. QE is often used as a policy of last resort when normal methods of monetary expansion are no longer effective as a result of near-zero interest rates. Since the onset of the economic crisis, the Fed has introduced two rounds of quantitative easing, as economic growth remains sluggish. Republicans have repeatedly voiced their opposition to the policy, stoking fears of long-term inflation that will stunt economic growth. In doing so, they have effectively manipulated the market's reaction to the policy, thereby preventing potential benefits from taking effect. Moreover, Republican skepticism ignores the belief of many economists that monetary easing is integral to supporting economic growth and limiting the risk of deflation. 

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November 19, 2010 10:31 am ET

The Bush Tax Cuts Just Did Not Deliver

If the Republican Party's various supply-side arguments for extending the Bush tax cuts seem familiar, that's because they are. The conservative arguments for more tax cuts mirror the lofty claims President George W. Bush made when he signed the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts into law. Bush promised economic growth and sustained prosperity; the economy got neither. In fact, from 2001 to 2007, the country experienced the weakest job growth since the end of World War II. While the nation's millionaires and billionaires got rich, average household income fell for the first time on record. In response to the recession, the Obama administration has proposed extending tax cuts for all but the wealthiest of Americans. Republicans want the rates extended for everyone, including athletes, movie stars, and billionaire hedge fund managers. These people are not likely to spend the extra money and not likely to stimulate the economy, but Republicans swear by discredited economic theories and warn that higher rates will hurt small businesses. There is little evidence for that. In fact, there is no greater evidence that tax cuts for the rich fail to lift all boats than the costly and ineffective Bush tax cuts.

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November 15, 2010 9:58 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 14, 2010

This week's Sunday shows were all about ducks and pork. The fight over pork-barrel earmark spending is largely a matter of opinion, though, so the falsehoods were limited to the tax and spending fights expected in the lame duck session that starts this week. On Fox, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) repeated long-discredited talking points about "small businesses" and tax cuts, and exaggerated the tax rates American companies actually pay. On NBC, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) suggested keeping tax breaks for the rich would help the economy despite the evidence to the contrary. Meanwhile, Rand Paul (R-KY) and Newt Gingrich each claimed that government workers are overpaid because they make more on average than private sector workers, but neither man acknowledged that the pay gap reflects differences in skills and education levels between the two groups. And on ABC, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he can't vote for the New START Treaty because of concerns about "modernization" and missile defense systems, even though President Obama upped the budget for modernizing our nuclear arsenal, and the general in charge of missile defense says the treaty will actually make his job easier.

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November 08, 2010 11:19 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 7, 2010

The Sunday shows were crowded with naked falsehoods yesterday. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) claimed on Fox News that President Obama "has killed jobs" despite the fact that a resurgent private sector has added 1.1 million jobs so far this year. On CBS, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claimed that 750,000 small businesses pay income taxes in the top two brackets, but that number only works if you include massive corporations like Bechtel and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which play accounting games to avoid corporate tax rates, in your definition of "small businesses." Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) absurdly claimed on NBC that Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) entitlement-slashing debt reduction plan requires more sacrifice from bureaucrats than from average Americans. Worst of all, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) claimed on ABC that tax cuts for the wealthy are good for the economy and don't increase the deficit. In the real world, of course, Pence is wrong on both counts.

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October 31, 2010 5:35 pm ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 31, 2010

Republicans' appearances on the Sunday shows this Halloween were as predictable as any mediocre horror movie, with the lone "twist" coming from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on ABC's This Week. Cornyn lied about President Obama's stump speech, claiming that Obama wants to make Republicans "sit in the back of the bus." That's a Glenn Beck-inspired race-baiting twist on Obama's months-old metaphor about Republicans wanting the keys to the car after they drove it into a ditch, and Cornyn should know better. Meanwhile on CNN, Michael Steele pretended that Republicans are principled deficit hawks, despite turning surpluses into trillions in debt under President Bush. On Face the Nation, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty claimed that higher taxes on the wealthy would neuter the nascent economic recovery despite overwhelming evidence that the rich don't spend more when we give them tax breaks. Most predictable of all, Sarah Palin told Fox News Sunday viewers three different lies about taxes in just a few short paragraphs.

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October 25, 2010 10:01 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 24, 2010

Sunday's political talk shows featured former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie lying to ABC viewers about voter attitudes toward outside groups like his brainchild, American Crossroads, and then misleading about jobs and the economy. In fact, over 70 percent of respondents in this month's NBC/Wall Street Journal poll are concerned about outside spending making lawmakers "beholden" to outside groups. On Face the Nation, Gillespie's colleague Karl Rove claimed conservatives are only just catching up to liberals in outside spending, when it's been a dead heat for a couple cycles now, and studies show conservative groups are less likely to disclose donors than their liberal counterparts. Meanwhile, on Fox News Sunday, Republican senate candidate Pat Toomey (PA) forgot that American companies pay less tax than our statutory corporate tax rates, and forgot that President Reagan raised taxes 11 times between the famous 1981 tax cut and the rampant economic growth for which Reagan is remembered.

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October 20, 2010 11:34 am ET

Talking About The Economy

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October 18, 2010 9:46 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 17, 2010

This Sunday's political chatter featured Liz Cheney lying on Face the Nation about what President Obama has said about foreign money, the Chamber of Commerce, and political advertising. Obama made a point about the lack of disclosure from outside spending groups that included a reference to the possibility of foreign influence, and Cheney turned that into an outright accusation. Meanwhile, on Fox News Sunday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA) each claimed that government spending has exploded in the last few years. But factoring in the recession, government spending has held steady since the beginning of 2007. Cornyn also found time to mislead about the expiring Bush tax cuts, a topic that Christine O'Donnell (R-DE) also dissembled about in an appearance on ABC's This Week. In reality, the Democrats have consistently called for extending the tax cuts for 97% of the country, and their plan would not affect small businesses the way O'Donnell suggested.

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October 11, 2010 9:54 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 10, 2010

Yesterday on Meet the Press, Illinois senate candidates Mark Kirk (R) and Alexi Giannoulias (D) debated economic policy and traded personal barbs. At one point Kirk described himself as "a fiscal hawk" who "foreswore earmarks," but the truth isn't so pretty: Kirk requested over $200 million in earmarks in from 2007 to 2008, including millions for organizations that donated to his campaign. Later, Kirk argued that the Recovery Act "largely failed," and implied that small businesses weren't helped by the bill. In fact, the Recovery Act's mixture of tax relief for businesses and investments in industry and infrastructure helped us avoid another Great Depression and turned the economy around. Meanwhile, on Face the Nation, former RNC chair Ed Gillespie misled CBS viewers about the balance of political power in the world of soft-money electioneering groups. In reality, 2008 saw conservative and liberal groups each spend about $200 million — far from Gillespie's imagined gap between the parties. Then, Gillespie proved he just isn't good at math when he exaggerated the value of stimulus payments to dead people by 200,000%.

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October 04, 2010 10:43 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 3, 2010

This week, Fox News Sunday hosted an informal debate between Kentucky's Senate nominees, Rand Paul (R) and Jack Conway (D). Paul has mostly avoided the national media, and this debate suggests part of the reason why: in less than a half-hour, Paul was flagrantly dishonest a half-dozen times, about everything from economic policy to recent history to government policy. For a finale, Paul argued that Kentucky gets a raw deal in its financial relationship with Washington, when in fact Kentucky gets a dollar-fifty back for each dollar they send to D.C.

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