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January 18, 2011 10:06 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - January 16, 2011

With the multiple murders in Tucson still casting a long shadow over the political landscape, much of the Sunday talk shows were given over to discussions of gun control policy and political rhetoric. On NBC, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) pointed out that the Tucson shooter would not have been able to get a gun if he had been "taken under [psychiatric] care." Indeed, that is what the law says — but in reality, weak cooperation between states and the FBI on mental health records means the database used by gun sellers includes just half the mental health information it should. Despite the focus on political violence, Coburn was also asked about health care reform, and he falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act eschews "market forces" in favor of a 'takeover' of health care. Meanwhile, on Fox News, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) claimed a voucher system would do a better job of expanding access to insurance than the Affordable Care Act. Pawlenty and Coburn each said the landmark bill will not drive down insurance costs, but they are wrong.

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January 07, 2011 2:51 pm ET

Offense On GOP Health Care Hypocrisy

Rather than focusing on job creation, Republicans are on a misinformation-riddled rampage to repeal the health care protections Americans just gained. The short messaging document below helps progressives go on the offensive and fight back with values-driven, plain-spoken talking points, responses to top attacks, and key facts.

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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 20, 2010 10:17 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - December 19, 2010

With "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the DREAM Act each put to bed, the Sunday shows shifted focus squarely to the New START arms-reduction treaty with Russia. On Fox News Sunday, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) claimed that Condaleeza Rice wants the Senate to amend the treaty, but Rice actually called for changes to the resolution of ratification — a move more in keeping with the Senate's "advise and consent" role. Furthermore, Kyl's underlying concerns about missile defense are not grounded in fact. On CNN, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blamed the treaty's verification provisions for his decision to vote 'no,' and accused Democrats of "rushing" the process. But that's foolish — we've already gone more than a year without nuclear inspectors in Russia because the Senate is dragging its feet on START, and the vetting process that began in the spring has been unusually thorough compared to previous arms treaties. Elsewhere, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said the judge who ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional got it right despite an error in his decision that one conservative legal expert called "obvious." And Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) ignored the Bush administration's terrible fiscal legacy in claiming that "every bit" of our debt problem comes from entitlements.

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December 17, 2010 10:08 am ET

REPORT: "Perhaps It Was Ego": Judge Hudson's Quest For Glory

On December 13, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson ruled that a key provision in the Affordable Care Act requiring individuals to own health insurance is unconstitutional. However, even conservative legal scholars have identified major defects in Hudson's opinion, leaving many to question whether the judge was actually motivated by politics. In fact, Hudson credited "twenty years of active service to the Republican party" with helping him land a federal judgeship. Perhaps more important than partisan loyalty, though, is Hudson's lifelong drive for the spotlight. In his 2007 memoir, Quest for Justice, Hudson chronicles his path from the commonwealth's attorney's office to the bench, including detours in electoral politics and the entertainment industry. Throughout the book, he boasts of his ability to generate media coverage; describes relationships with celebrities in Washington and Hollywood; and recalls the boredom of legal work removed from the public eye. ("Perhaps it was ego," he remarks.) At one point, Hudson acknowledges that he was gunning for "a full-time gig as a network legal commentator." Hudson ultimately accepted that he "was never going to make it big in the broadcasting field," but he never lost his appetite for attention. And, if his ruling against President Obama's landmark health care law stands, Hudson might have finally completed his lifelong quest for glory.

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December 14, 2010 1:14 pm ET

Sen. Barrasso Falsely Suggests Bill Clinton Supports Health Care Repeal

Appearing on Fox News' America's Newsroom, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) took remarks by former President Bill Clinton out of context to suggest that Clinton would support Barrasso's statement that the health care reform law "is not the way to go for this country." In fact, while Clinton suggested that the Affordable Care Act could be improved, he simultaneously stated that "it's worth fighting against" its repeal. 

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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 01, 2010 3:55 pm ET

Despite Stated Opposition To Health Care Reform's 1099 Provision, Republicans Vote Against Repeal

For some time now, Republicans have desperately attempted to kill health care reform, peddling misleading claims and outright distortions to undermine the benefits of the law. In many instances, they have pointed to supposed ill-conceived provisions to denounce the legislation, using these specific details to contend that the bill is damaged beyond repair and therefore must be repealed. In particular, Republicans have decried the bill's 1099 reporting requirements for small businesses, claiming they are unnecessarily burdensome and will limit job creation. But when given an opportunity to vote on Sen. Max Baucus' (D-MT) amendment to repeal the 1099 provision and demonstrate their commitment to helping small businesses, Republicans balked. Indeed, despite their professed opposition to the 1099 provision, only two Republicans voted for the amendment.  

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November 30, 2010 11:51 am ET

Sen. McConnell And Rep. Boehner Preempt White House Meeting With Dishonest Op-Ed

In a Washington Post op-ed, incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claimed that the midterm election results constituted a repudiation of the Democratic agenda and a wholesale validation of the Republican one. In particular, they wrote that voters made it clear they wanted an extension of current tax rates for all brackets, including top earners, when in fact a majority of voters want tax cuts for the rich to expire. Boehner and McConnell also threw in some falsehoods about small business — claiming that we must permanently extend tax rates to prevent burdensome increases on small businesses — and health care reform. 

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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 14, 2010 3:27 pm ET

Ways And Means Republicans Exploit Proposed Sale Of Catholic Hospitals To Mislead On Health Care Reform

In an October 8, 2010 blog post, Ways and Means Republicans exploited a decision to sell three Catholic hospitals in Pennsylvania to unleash a slew of false and misleading attacks on the health care reform bill. The post takes the president and CEO of Mercy Health System, Kevin Cook, out of context to claim that the hospitals "have been put up for sale, with ObamaCare cited as a main reason for the decision." The post further suggests that the Affordable Care Act will cut "one-half trillion" dollars from Medicare, thereby forcing health care providers to drop out of the program. In reality, discussions about selling the hospitals took place long before the Affordable Care Act came into effect, and were due to numerous factors, including a lack of resources and investment in the facilities. Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act will strengthen Medicare without cutting seniors' benefits and, according to a report released by the Office of the Actuary for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Congress will intervene to prevent health care providers from dropping out of the program.

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September 30, 2010 6:18 pm ET

Rep. Boehner's AEI Speech Perpetuates Health Care Lies

While addressing The American Enterprise Institute, House Minority Leader John Boehner didn't even flinch as he claimed that the health care reform bill cuts from Medicare $550 billion "that it doesn't have" and "start[s] a brand new entitlement program." In fact, the only place new entitlement programs are being created is in Rep. Boehner's imagination: The Affordable Care Act leaves in place the private health care system. Furthermore, "cuts" to Medicare are actually savings created by eliminating excess in what the federal government will pay to private Medicare Advantage administrators, and the bill results in additional benefits for seniors.

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September 27, 2010 3:26 pm ET

Goldwater Institute Falsely Claims Health Care Bill Requires Racial Discrimination

In an e-mail sent on September 22, the Koch-funded Goldwater Institute falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act "contains provisions that require discrimination on the basis of race." In fact, the provisions highlighted by the Goldwater Institute do not "forc[e] medical schools to use race-based admissions policies" but instead set up a specialized program for 850 students a year which prioritizes admission to those "from rural communities and underrepresented minorities." Additionally, the e-mail highlights criticism of the law issued by conservative members of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

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September 27, 2010 10:16 am ET

Fact-Free Letter Is Only Latest Misleading Partisan Operation For Torchinsky

Following a series of letters sent to television stations around the country asking that 60 Plus' dishonest political advertisements be taken down, Jason Torchinsky, a lawyer for the organization behind the ads, sent a letter of his own to television stations. Urging the stations to continue to broadcast the ads, Torchinsky's letter reiterated a number of false and misleading claims made in the advertisements — no surprise given Torchinsky's highly partisan background. Torchinsky has repeatedly acted to mislead voters on behalf of the Republican Party, has deep ties to a number of conservative interest groups, and was involved in the Bush Department of Justice during a politically-motivated push to shift focus onto cases of voter fraud.

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September 24, 2010 10:22 am ET

60 Plus Association's Lawyer Fact Checks Without Using Any Facts

Immediately following a series of letters sent to television stations around the country in regards to misleading ads produced by the group 60 Plus, a lawyer representing the group responded with the letter excerpted below.  In its attempt to convince the stations to not pull down the 60 Plus ads, the law firm focused on the claim that Medicare would be cut, leading to disastrous consequences for American seniors.  Appropriately, however, the letter did not contain any more factual information than did the very ads it was meant to defend.

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September 22, 2010 4:08 pm ET

Sen. Bond's Fifteen Minutes of Falsehoods On The Senate Floor

Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) took to the Senate floor this morning to criticize "job-killing tax increases," attack the stimulus and health care bills, and make misleading claims about the impact of the Bush tax cuts. Bond falsely claimed that Democrats were trying to institute the "largest tax increase in history" and would "raise taxes on seniors," "small businesses," and "our family farmers." In reality, Bond's claims are wildly exaggerated. President Obama and congressional Democrats have proposed extending the Bush tax cuts to 97% of Americans -- the vast majority of farmers, seniors, and small business owners.

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September 22, 2010 9:36 am ET

Six Months Later, Senator Barrasso Is Still Using The Same Old Health Care Falsehoods

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) took to Fox News' airwaves to laud Republican attempts to repeal elements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care, leveling a number of misleading attacks on the health care reform law in the process.  Barrasso claimed that the law is "bad" for both patients and providers and suggested it holds high costs for taxpayers. In reality, the law contains numerous positive reforms for consumers and providers, and it reduces the deficit.

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September 13, 2010 2:19 pm ET

"Young Gun" Rep. Paul Ryan Lies About His "Roadmap For America's Future"

In their new book Young Guns, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) repeatedly mislead readers on Republican policy proposals.  In his section of the book, Rep. Paul Ryan paints a deceptively rosy picture of his "Roadmap for America's Future." In reality, the plan will dismantle Social Security and Medicare, restrict access to health insurance, slash taxes for the wealthiest Americans, and raise taxes on working middle class families.

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September 13, 2010 2:18 pm ET

"Young Guns" Stick To "Government Takeover" Talking Points And "Rising Premiums" Deceptions

In their new book Young Guns, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) attack the Affordable Care Act using predictable and dishonest buzzwords. They repeatedly call it a "government takeover" or "government healthcare" that will inflate insurance costs. Rep. Ryan implicitly acknowledges that as written, the law will reduce the deficit — but he claims that won't happen because future lawmakers will lack the political will to enact its provisions. Despite their rhetoric, the fact remains that the Affordable Care Act will insure 10% of the country with just a 1% increase in health care spending (meaning the cost per unit of insurance will go down); premiums will hold steady or fall for most Americans; and we'll see a substantial increase in the amount of coverage people can purchase, all without a government takeover of health care.

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September 13, 2010 2:18 pm ET

"Young Guns" Go Nuclear With Bogus Process Complaints

In addition to the predictable Republican distortions of health care policy, Young Guns reprises a series of disingenuous complaints about the process by which the Affordable Care Act became law.  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) condemns Senate Democrats for allegedly using reconciliation — which he falsely calls the "nuclear option" — to pass health care reform.  In reality, though, the bill passed with 60 votes under normal rules, and reconciliation was only used pass budgetary fixes that even Republicans claimed to support.  Furthermore, Republicans regularly employed reconciliation when they were in power, including for the deficit-busting Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.

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September 13, 2010 9:39 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - September 12, 2010

It was a typically dishonest Sunday for Republicans on the political talk shows. On Fox News Sunday, Newt Gingrich said businesses aren't hiring because President Obama wants to take all their money and because their health care costs are rising. In fact, studies show that a lack of consumer demand is holding down business investment, and the Affordable Care Act has its greatest cost impact on employer-based insurance. On Face the Nation, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) conceded that just 3% of small businesses will pay higher taxes under the Obama tax plan, but insisted that 3% accounts for 50% of small business income. No matter how often he says it, it just isn't true.

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September 07, 2010 9:09 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - September 5, 2010

Holiday weekends make for quiet Sundays on the political talk circuit, but yesterday Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) shouldered the propaganda load usually carried by a larger rotation of Republicans. On Fox News Sunday, Sen. McCain took dishonest potshots at President Obama's economic record — economists agree the Recovery Act worked, and the administration has been pushing tax relief for small businesses all summer while McCain's Senate colleagues have blocked the bill — and lied about the future of Medicare. In reality, the Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare without cutting benefits. On Meet the Press, Sen. Graham claimed the Affordable Care Act includes a government takeover of health care and higher costs (neither claim is true) before suggesting that tax cuts for the wealthy pay for themselves (they don't) and that the Recovery Act led to 2.5 million job losses (it didn't).

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August 30, 2010 9:59 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - August 29, 2010

Sunday on Face The Nation, Republican Senate hopeful Joe Miller (AK) stoked fears about Social Security's finances and Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) wrapped his sugary drawl around a variety of sour attacks on Democrats' economic policies. Miller claimed "the trust fund is empty," but in reality Social Security holds assets of $2.5 trillion and is solvent through the Baby Boomers' golden years. Later, Gov. Barbour dissembled about the cost-cutting Affordable Care Act — the bill actually reigns in health care spending while expanding coverage dramatically and cutting the deficit — and suggested Democrats aren't creating jobs despite the expert consensus that the Recovery Act and other measures saved millions of jobs and turned the economy around.

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July 19, 2010 3:18 pm ET

Republicans Still Lying About Health Care Reform And Abortions

In a pair of op-eds in The Hill last Friday, House Republicans Phil Roe (TN) and James Sensenbrenner (WI) charged that federal tax dollars are paying for abortions in Pennsylvania, and that President Obama lied about abortion funding under the Affordable Care Act. Pennsylvania was the first state to present a high-risk pool plan to Washington, and so they are the first to receive funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). According to Roe and Sensenbrenner, Pennsylvania is therefore the first state to offer taxpayer-funded abortions under "ObamaCare." This predictable attack is as untrue as it is uncreative.

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June 25, 2010 11:02 am ET

Rep. Gingrey Lies About Health Care Polling

Speaking on the House floor last night, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) asserted that "in all polls taken" the American people "overwhelmingly" oppose the Affordable Care Act.  In reality, however, public opinion is shifting in favor of the Affordable Care Act.  According to a new Gallup poll, 49 percent say that passage of the bill is a "good thing" versus 46 percent who say it's a "bad thing."

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June 23, 2010 4:40 pm ET

GOP Still Hypocritically Attacking Health Care Reform

Republicans have very few tenable solutions when it comes to dealing with the very real issues we confront.  The loyal opposition has largely become contrarian for the sake of being so.  The shortcomings of their own policies and their inability to get anything meaningful accomplished while they were in control are well documented.  And so, they've spent the past 16 months attacking Democratic initiatives and proposals.  Their hope is that Democrats will fail at policy just as they've done.  For instance, the office of Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) released a new report today titled ObamaCare: Three Months of Broken Promises.  It aims to discredit the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by showing how the first 90 days have yet to yield the promised results.

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May 26, 2010 11:18 am ET

GOP "Doctor's Caucus" Needs To Get Reacquainted With The Facts

While speaking on the House floor, Republican Reps. Paul Broun and John Fleming -- both doctors -- restated a litany of false charges and partisan distortions about the Affordable Care Act.

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May 25, 2010 3:50 pm ET

Rep. Cantor Keeps Lying About Recovery Act, Health Care Reform

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor used an op-ed in Politico this morning to repeat GOP talking points on the Recovery Act and health care reform. Rep. Cantor thinks that if you repeat a lie enough, it becomes true. But the health care bill will reduce the deficit, and each monthly jobs report provides more evidence that the stimulus is working.

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May 11, 2010 3:08 pm ET

WellPoint CEO Lies To President Obama

WellPoint CEO Angela Braly sent President Obama a letter accusing him of spreading "false information" about WellPoint's practice of rescinding (dropping) insurance coverage for breast cancer victims.  Unfortunately for Ms. Braly, basic facts prove that she is the one who is lying.

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April 15, 2010 12:46 pm ET

Republican Governors Association Repeats "16,500 New IRS Agents" Falsehood

In recent weeks, conservatives have spread the false claim that the federal government will hire "16,500 new IRS agents" to enforce the Affordable Care Act.  Though the claim was debunked by independent fact checkers more than two weeks ago, the Republican Governors Association still peddles the myth, sending out an e-mail today with the subject line, "16500 New IRS Agents."

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