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October 17, 2011 9:37 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - October 16, 2011

Republicans spent their Sunday morning TV appearances blaming Democrats for the economy and trying to convince Wall Street protesters to join them in their scapegoating. Contrary to what Herman Cain and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) claimed, the facts show that private firms, not government entities, inflated the subprime mortgage bubble, and Wall Street, not Democrats, turned those loans into an elaborate casino game that left the entire country on the hook for their bad bets. Similarly, Cantor and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) were wrong to suggest that Democratic policies on taxes and regulations are hurting the economy, and that Republican proposals will do more to create jobs than President Obama's proposed American Jobs Act. In addition, Cain claimed that his "9-9-9" tax plan won't hurt the poor and implied that Obama has cut defense spending, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) blamed the credit downgrade on the president, and Sen. McCain said that Obama never spoke up on behalf of Iranian protesters in 2009. In each case, the facts disagree.

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September 21, 2011 10:36 pm ET

What Happened To The Republican Consensus On Climate Change?

In May right-wing activist Marc Morano said Republican candidates "can believe in the science of global warming ... if you keep your mouth shut about it and you advocate no quote-unquote solution to the problem." By contrast, the following statements show that in previous years, prominent Republicans spoke about both the robust body of evidence indicating that human activities are changing the climate and the need to address the problem. While the political discourse has since regressed, the scientific consensus has not.

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August 22, 2011 11:15 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - August 21, 2011

This Sunday's talk shows echoed a quiet week in Washington, with newly-minted head of the Republican Governor's Association Bob McDonnell (R-VA) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) regurgitating standard lines on the President Obama's economic policies. McDonnell also faulted President Obama for the country's current debt and deficits, rejecting the notion that President George W. Bush bears any responsiblity. Long-shot presidential candidate Rick Santorum joined him in misplacing blame for deficits, claiming that safety net programs like Medicaid and food stamps are "the core problem with our deficit," before wrongly suggesting that repealing the health care reform law would create jobs and increase growth. Fellow presidential contender Jon Huntsman trotted out his flat tax plan, glossing over the truth about its disproportionate effect on the lower and middle classes. He also blamed the fact that corporations aren't hiring on "uncertainty and confusion," when business leaders themselves point to weak demand, not government policies.

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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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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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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 28, 2011 10:12 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - February 27, 2011

This week's Sunday political chatter was focused on two very, very different places: Wisconsin and Libya. Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) defended his union-busting efforts on Meet the Press by arguing that union contract agreements in recent weeks prove public workers aren't being honest when they say they'll accept his pension and health insurance demands, but that's disingenuous; the agreements he referenced had been in the works long before his power grab. Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) joined Walker in suggesting that collective bargaining is to blame for state budget troubles, but the facts don't bear that out. Meanwhile on Fox News Sunday, Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) asserted that public employees are overpaid (before absurdly claiming that the Bush tax cuts worked) and Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) told ABC viewers that Walker is simply fulfilling a campaign promise.  None of these claims is true. On other topics, Mike Huckabee (R-AR) lied about the national debt on Fox News and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) falsely asserted that President Obama never showed support for Iranian protesters in the summer of 2009.

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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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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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December 17, 2010 6:07 pm ET

Sen. McCain Invents Missile Defense Problem In New START's Preamble

In a long floor speech during Senate deliberations on ratifying the New START treaty, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) assailed the treaty for supposedly containing language to weaken the United States' ability to implement missile defense systems. McCain cited several parts of the treaty, but focused on language in the preamble, claiming that Russia will "surely" use it to "try to keep us from building up our missile defenses." Yet analysts have confirmed that this is a misinterpretation of the clause; not only is the preamble non-binding, but in addition the clause in question is merely a statement of widely-recognized fact on the interrelationship between offensive and defensive missile defense systems.

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November 29, 2010 10:03 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - November 28, 2010

The political talk shows were relatively uneventful yesterday, but Arizona's two Republican senators both took time out of their holiday weekend to spread dishonest conservative talking points. On CNN's State of the Union, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) defended his widely ridiculed stance on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," wrongly insisting that the military's ban on gay and lesbian troops "is working." On NBC's Meet the Press, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) argued that the Senate does not have time to ratify a nuclear arms treaty in the lame duck session because they have to prevent "the largest tax increase in history," which is a bald-faced lie. Pressed on his position, Kyl eventually explained that he cannot support New START right now because of concerns about "modernization" and missile defense — a sentiment that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) echoed on Fox News Sunday — even though the general in charge of missile defense said the treaty will make his job easier and President Obama increased the budget for modernizing our nuclear arsenal. Kyl also repeated the debunked talking point that allowing upper-income tax cuts to expire would disproportionately hurt small businesses.

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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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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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July 16, 2010 3:38 pm ET

Sen. McCain Shows A Lack Of Character In New "Sheriffs" Ad

In a new campaign ad, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) used Arizona sheriffs to present a dishonest and inaccurate portrayal of the long-time senator.  While the ad attempts to convince viewers that McCain will fight for border security, his own voting record shows that border security has never been high on McCain's priority list.

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June 28, 2010 9:44 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows — June 27, 2010

On Sunday's political talk shows, Republicans were hard at work managing expectations for this week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the Elena Kagan nomination. Senators Cornyn (TX), Graham (SC) and McCain (AZ) each pushed the false notion that Kagan banned military recruiters from Harvard Law School while she was Dean there. A number of Kagan's former students have defended her against such charges, and the fact is recruiters had access to the Harvard campus and Harvard Law students throughout Kagan's tenure. Elsewhere, Sen. Graham raised the red herring of Kagan's praise for an Israeli judge as a reason to oppose her nomination, and Sen. Cornyn reiterated the tired Republican lie that clean energy legislation will kill jobs.

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June 08, 2010 4:40 pm ET

Ad Check: Lobbyist-Connected "Maverick" McCain Paints "Outsider" Opponent As Lobbyist

Sen. John McCain has a new ad up attacking his primary opponent's lobbying background. According to the ad, J.D. Hayworth is being hypocritical and dishonest when he campaigns as an outsider, because he took a lobbying position after being voted out of Congress. But despite McCain's own longstanding claim to be a "maverick," the fact is that the Arizona Senator surrounded himself with lobbyists during his failed presidential bids.

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May 10, 2010 2:41 pm ET

New Pro-Fence Ad From McCain Leaves Out His Anti-Fence Voting Record

In a new pro-border fence ad, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) converses with Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu about border security measures.  McCain conveniently leaves out his anti-border security funding votes and his anti-fence statements from this new, misleading ad.

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April 23, 2010 9:53 am ET

John McCain: The Ultimate Hypocrite On Immigration Reform

To those familiar with the life and career of Senator John McCain, his current position on immigration reform is incredibly disappointing.  Facing a far-right primary challenger, McCain has turned his back on his constituents and the causes he once championed.

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April 19, 2010 10:52 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - April 18, 2010

On Sunday's political talk shows, the economy was front and center -- along with plenty of false and misleading statements. On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain claimed that taxes have gone up in the past year. On Face the Nation, Sen. Scott Brown claimed that no one has talked about job creation since he was sworn in -- right after he talked up the jobs bill he voted for way back in February. And Sen. Mitch McConnell used an appearance on State of the Union to reassert falsely that the financial reform bill will bail out Wall Street. Sen. Marsha Blackburn echoed that falsehood on Meet the Press.

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March 01, 2010 9:18 am ET

Fact Checking the Sunday Shows - February 28, 2010

On yesterday's political talk shows, Republican Senators Jon Kyl (AZ), John McCain (AZ), and Lamar Alexander (TN) along with Representatives Paul Ryan (WI), Marsha Blackburn (TN), and Eric Cantor (VA) repeated countless false talking points about Democratic health care reform proposals.

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February 25, 2010 10:38 am ET

Health Care Reform Summit: The GOP "Away Team"

The GOP Summit "Away Team" will have a rocky landing at President Obama's bipartisan summit on health care reform.  These 18 members of Congress have made no secret of their staunch opposition to health care reform - no matter how much their constituents support it or how it would benefit their districts.

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February 12, 2010 11:36 am ET

Rep. Ryan's "Roadmap" Mixes & Matches The Worst Policies Of Bush And McCain

On January 27, 2010, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, the ranking member on the House Budget Committee, released a "Roadmap for America's Future" budget proposal.  Despite Ryan's efforts to frame the plan as fresh and new, a quick glance shows his ideas are simply mixed and matched from the worst policies of President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain.

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January 25, 2010 9:01 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - January 24, 2010

After the game-changing Massachusetts special election and Supreme Court decision, much of the focus on this week's Sunday political talk shows was on strategic decisions for the coming year.  Regarding the future of health care reform, Senators Cornyn, McCain, and McConnell attempted to convince viewers that the Republican Party has wanted to work with the Democratic majority on health care reform - when, in fact, the GOP has actively and openly fought the process every step of the way.

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December 14, 2009 3:19 pm ET

60 Plus Association's "Courage" Ad Lacks The Courage To Tell The Truth

The conservative, anti-health care reform group 60 Plus is airing a new round of ads alternately attacking or thanking senators for their votes on a recent McCain amendment.  The big thinkers at 60 Plus failed to notice, however, Sen. McCain's decades of disgraceful votes that have slashed Medicare for America's seniors.

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December 05, 2009 2:52 pm ET

Sen. McCain's Lobbyist Hypocrisy On The Senate Floor

During the December 5, 2009 Senate debate on health care reform, Arizona Republican John McCain railed against what he saw as lobbyists' role in the Democratic health care reform legislation.  McCain is suffering from a particularly acute case of convenient amnesia, however, since he has befriended, relied upon, and compensated lobbyists throughout his career.

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December 05, 2009 2:52 pm ET

McCain's Big PhRMA Lobbyists

While speaking on the Senate floor during Saturday's special health care debate, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) offered his take on PhRMA's role in the current Democratic health care reform legislation.  The distinguished senator from Arizona has forgotten, however, how much money he accepted from PhRMA during his failed bid for the presidency.

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December 03, 2009 4:18 pm ET

Sen. McCain Continues To Mislead Americans On Medicare Changes

In a December 3, 2009 op-ed in USA Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) expressed his disdain for proposed changes to Medicare Advantage in the Senate health care reform bill.  However, it is obvious that Sen. McCain failed to do any thorough research on the topic before penning the piece.

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December 01, 2009 3:48 pm ET

Contrary To What He Says, McCain Has Spent Most Of His Career Voting AGAINST Patient Protections

While addressing Sen. Durbin on the Senate floor on December 1, 2009, Sen. John McCain asserted his long history of defending American patients.  Unfortunately for McCain, his record proves otherwise.

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December 01, 2009 11:52 am ET

Republican Senators Have Voted To Cut $1.31 Trillion From Medicare

During Senate debate this morning, several Republican Senators took to the floor to encourage passage of the McCain amendment and to discuss their wrong interpretation of Medicare funding in the Democrats' health care reform legislation.  What is most interesting about this morning's debate is that these senators who falsely accused Democrats of cutting Medicare have themselves cut Medicare by $1.31 trillion during their collective tenure in Congress.

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November 30, 2009 6:26 pm ET

Sen. John McCain Has Forgotten His Friendship With "Mr. Enron"

In what will, no doubt, be a recurring trend from Senate Republicans as they fight health care reform, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) decried the Senate Democrats' legislation by using faulty and fact-less rhetoric.  McCain falsely accused the Senate health care reform of using "Enron accounting" measures.  His comments are ironic, however, in light of his close, personal relationship with Phil "Mr. Enron" Gramm.

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