Fact Check

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Politifact's Bill Adair, the weekly guest until Election Day, brings his Truth-O-Meter to fact-check some recent campaign claims.


Bill Adair

Comments [32]

Paulette from New Jersey

I found it interesting that your fact check focused on Obama's repudiation of Congressman Lewis' remarks, but only glossed over the inciting of near riots by Palin and other members of the republican party, calling for the killing of Senator Obama and making such statements as "bomb Obama". I also find it very interesting that Adair gave Senator Obama, "pants on fire" and did not do the same for McCain, particular concerning "Joe the Plumber and the health care issue. What about McCain talking about the vote on Justice Breyer. Senator Obama was not even in the Senate when Justice Breyer was confirmed. How about a "pants on fire" for that one. There are many more examples, but insufficient space to cite to them all.

I have always relied upon NPR to provide unbiased reports. No more. I am very disappointed.

Oct. 16 2008 10:50 PM
William from Manhattan

Re Senator McCain's "Troops to Teachers" claim. Thank goodness, it looks like the Senator misrepresented this Dept of Ed program. Here's the weblink:

Listening to Senator McCain, I was concerned that we were filling classrooms with teachers whose only qualification was that they had served in the military.

Secretary Spellings should ask the McCain campaign for a correction!

Oct. 16 2008 07:23 PM
Caroline from Jersey City

I would love for Bill Adair to fact-check this conspiratorial tidbit:

Turns out that Joe Wurzelbacher from the Toledo event is a close relative of Robert Wurzelbacher of Milford, Ohio. Who's Robert Wurzelbacher? Only Charles Keating's son-in-law and the former senior vice president of American Continental, the parent company of the infamous Lincoln Savings and Loan. The now retired elder Wurzelbacher is also a major contributor to Republican causes giving well over $10,000 in the last few years.

Oct. 16 2008 04:01 PM
NWP from CT

#25 The classification of Joe's business is important.

1.) If he incorporates one way "C" Corp the business will be taxed on the undistributed (250k less 80k) -$170k. Then at any time he takes any of that as dividend distribution it will be taxed again as investment income.
2.) If he incorporates as LLC the business pays no taxes BUT the entire remaining profit is taxed as HIS income (assuming no other 'partners'. This is the same as if he operated as a sole proprietership. All $250k is his to PAY TAX ON IN THE YEAR EARNED. The advantage of incorporating is no personal liability for damages his business causes.
3.) Operating without incorporating will cause all the $250k to be his income and taxed.


Oct. 16 2008 02:05 PM

OK Since you keep taking down my post let me try to take a deep breath and say it without shouting......

Who is this fact checker? Can't you see that the "facts" he chooses to check all skew in the direction of McCain being "honest" and Obama not being honest. Since you choose to get stuck on the "fact" than Obama did not repudiate Lewis's comments but you did not fact check mccain statement that he "always" repudiates republican statements that are "out of bounds" but he never repudiated sarah palin"s comments that incited the statements that Obama should be killed! And he never categorically repudiated those statements that Obama is a terrorist and traitor who should be killed and he never demanded that sarah palin repudiate anything!!!!!!!!!!

Hello!?? She is his running mate and he is not repudiating her actions and statements but all of you guys in the media expect Obama to constantly repudiate statements that do not come out of his campaign!

Can't you see how ridiculous the double standard is? The black man always has to be twice as good to get half as far in this country!!! The way you treat this without analyzing it belies the fact that you are all comfortable requiring more of Obama than you require of mcn and Palin.

Oct. 16 2008 11:53 AM

Also you are happy to play the clips of McCain talking about how "hurt" he is was but you also should play the clip of Obama saying that when his name was brought up people said "terrorist" and "kill him" don't tiptoe and censor those words. People need to know the extent to which these McCain supporters will go. Say the words so that we know what Lewis was warning against.

Did you see Ted Koppel's recent documentary on the last lynching? The violent outcomes of racial hatred are in the not so distant past. McCain needs to categorically repudiate this or else bluntly state that he will be the President for some Americans not all Americans.

Oct. 16 2008 11:35 AM
WCW from Brooklyn

Melanie makes a good point. Adair rates McCain's comment about Obama not repudiating John Lewis as true because he (Obama) didn't actually use the word "repudiate." Then despite Obama never saying he would "unilaterally" renegotiate NAFTA, Adair said it was mostly true because it was reasonably close. So, an immdediate statement disagreeing with comments from someone not associated with his campaign is not enough to merit McCain's charges as untrue, but Obama's crtiticism of NAFTA is close enough for a misattributed direct quote to be rated as "mostly true." And you wonder why people are cynical about what they read and hear in the media.

Oct. 16 2008 11:31 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

#24 (NWP from CT),

Ok , either I’ve lost my mind, have no idea how taxation works, or both… if “Joe Six-pipe” buys the business for which he currently works and pays himself a salary of, let’s say, 80K a year and pays a couple of employees with the business making a gross annual profit of, let’s say, 500k/year, how does this affect “Joe Six-Pipe” filing his individual taxes? Joe makes 80k a year, well under 250k. The debate seemed to muddle corporate taxes and individual taxes implying a president’s, CEO’s, COO’s, CFO’s, or board members taxes drive how they run a company. Now, if Joe doesn’t have sense enough to in some way incorporate to keep his personal finances separate from that of the business, then that’s on him.

Oct. 16 2008 11:27 AM
NWP from CT

#23 Without being VERY specific with "Facts" it is easy to validate almost any position.

The average SALARY of plumbers may be $42k but plumbing company owners with as little as three employees making $42k will be over $250k. Do the math.. 50 weeks 40 hours $100 per hour three billable employees = $600k less salary of $21.00 per hour $126k. This produces a gross potential profit. This assumes NO profit from sale of product. Joe WILL make more than $250k if he can bill slightly more than twenty hours a week for each of his employees.

OH YES, JOE doesn't even have to do plumbing work!

Oct. 16 2008 11:15 AM
John from Brooklyn

More re [5]:

The whole point of McCain's comment was to assert that Obama is a hypocrite. The force of his first claim that Obama did not repudiate Lewis is conditioned on his second, and simultaneous, claim that he, McCain, is policing his own supporters. You can't separate the two claims.

It simply is willful and irresponsible to say that McCain's double claim was "true," by dismissing McCain's claim about himself with a "Ho, ho, ho, we can't fact check everything."

The fact is, what Lewis was responding to was McCain-Palin's smear campaign re Bill Ayers; their supporters' responses to that campaign, in the form of specific racist and xenophobic attacks on Obama; and McCain/Palin's failure to repudiate those attacks, whether in the moment or in subsequent verbal or written statements.

All of this is a matter of record, and can be checked.

The fact that you pretended otherwise and just gave McCain a pass is well below the journalistic standards to which you claim to hold yourself.

Oct. 16 2008 11:14 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

That was an interesting segment. I’ve heard several, what I feel are unsubstantiated, comments on here that Brian Lehrer is “Anti-Obama” (which if it is the case, I have my opinion as to why); however, this “fact-checking” segment did seem like a pile on Obama secession. Obama didn’t repudiate comments made against McCain/Palin for not repudiating supporters shouting “terrorist,” “trader,” and “kill him,” but no follow-up on McCain or Palin’s failure to repudiate those comments. Actually, McCain said during the debate he would not repudiate his (non-surrogate) supporters, especially those whom have or have had family who have served in the military. Then there were claims of negative ads amongst others. Senator McCain made several claims… from Obama raising taxes and wanting to socialize medical care to claims Senator Obama wants to promote abortion and doesn’t want you to have the benefits he has had educating his children. Where was the balance in this segment?

Oct. 16 2008 11:03 AM
Chris Langhorn from NYC

The average salary for a plumbers is 42k, why is he worried about being taxed on 250k? is it truly an issue that should put this man in the forefront of a presidential debate?

Oct. 16 2008 10:56 AM
hjs from 11211

joe six pack is more fun at a party.
no need to fact check that!

Oct. 16 2008 10:53 AM
Robert from NYC

I also noticed that this fellow did not define "negative". Seems to me the Obama negatives were not all as personal and quite vicious as were the McCain negatives.

Oct. 16 2008 10:52 AM

Is the true Meaghan.If it is could he have been a McCain plant? Someone should look into it.

Oct. 16 2008 10:52 AM
Robert Colasacco from NYC

I noticed that no one has brought up the fact, THE FACT, that Palin would get a tax cut if Obama is elected. She and her husband together--according to her tax statement that was made public about 2 weeks ago--made less than even $200K!! Shouldn't she vote for Obama?

Oct. 16 2008 10:49 AM
Tom from Manhattan

Obama gave credit to McCain for his independence from the Bush Administration on torture. Isn't that wrong? Didn't McCain actually bend to Administration will and support its authority to interrogate prisoners in any fashion it saw fit?

Oct. 16 2008 10:48 AM
Jen from Illinois

I find it interesting that we allow so much deceit in our presidential campaigns. SHould we not hold these canidates to a higher standard and DEMAND that the campagins focus on the truth. Is it wrong to demand or even make illegial the use of lies/mistruths???

Oct. 16 2008 10:47 AM
Ed Koenig from New Jersey

Has anyone ever investigated if McCain was brainwashed while a POW?

Oct. 16 2008 10:47 AM
Leona Fagan from Millington, NJ

Re: McCain's reference to John Lewis -Bill Adair didn't address his statement at the beginning of the clip you played where McCain says he has "repudiated" any Republican who said negative thigs about Obama. Adair only checked Obama's response to Lewis's statement.

Oct. 16 2008 10:46 AM
Pete from Middleton, NJ

While Obama's ads do attack McCain's policies and voting record, McCain's ads (and Palin at rallies) attack Obama the man. That's a critical difference...and the reason McCain is perceived as running the more negative campaign.

Oct. 16 2008 10:46 AM
MIreille from New Jersey

90% is true. Mccain said it himself.

Oct. 16 2008 10:46 AM
Zak from Morningside Heights

In terms of fact-checking, whose estimate for the price of open-market health insurance is right: Obama's cited $12,000 or McCain's supposed $5,000 (that Americans will get in the form of a tax credit)?

Oct. 16 2008 10:46 AM
Ann from Manhattan

When Bill Adair was on last week he took a call from me about a comment McCain made in the 2nd debate. Mc Cain said that some of the $750 million in the bailout went to terrorist organizations.

Adair said he would check that out.

Did he and if so, what did he find out?

Oct. 16 2008 10:45 AM
Daniel from Manhattan

Not to bring up a fluff fact, but after all the brow beating on Obama, where was McCain's flag pin last night?

Oct. 16 2008 10:43 AM

Joe the Plumber also needs to be factchecked. He Will get a tax cut under the Obama tax plan.

Oct. 16 2008 10:43 AM
Peter from Flatbush, Brooklyn

Wow - in the first segment - thanks guys!!!

Oct. 16 2008 10:42 AM
John from Brooklyn


McCain made TWO claims: (1) that Obama did not repudiate Lewis, and (2) that he, McCain, had repudiated every inappropriate remark by his own supporters.

You addressed only (1).

McCain's second claim is verifiably FALSE. McCain has NOT repudiated the comments of his supporters.

Oct. 16 2008 10:42 AM
NWP from CT

WOW! Joe the plumber a registered Republican, Did he vote in the presidential primary?

Given the audience vetting for Bush events, has McCain followed that presedent. Could Joe have been a plant?

Oct. 16 2008 10:40 AM

Has McCain really repudiated every bad comment made by Republicans?

Oct. 16 2008 10:40 AM
Peter from Flatbush, Brooklyn

Mr. Adair,

I heard Sen Obama mention that the McCain campaigns advertising was 100% negative - which doesnt seem to be true. Do you think it was a miss statement of the Wisconsin( I think) survey wich points to McCain's recent advertising , in the last two weeks, has been fully negative?

Also, what about McCain's point that Obama has invested more in Negative advertsing. It seems like a major extrapolation of spending figures, any Ideas?

Oct. 16 2008 10:29 AM
Gary from UWS

Hey Factchecker:

Why are journalists not doing their jobs? With the Treasury spending a trillion dollars to save the financial system (banks, AIG, Fannie/Freddie) and Congress and the President spending to oblivion on everything else, there is absolutely NO WAY either Obama or McCain can cut taxes for anyone.

No where have I heard journalists really keep the candidates' feet the fire to get honest answers on this. Katie Couric was rougher on Palin for her reading list--asking presisent follow-up questions not letting her off the hook, and Charlie Gibson beating her up on what the Bush Doctrine is. (Bush doesn't know what the Bush Doctrine is.)

Whoever wins in November, come January 21st, he will say: "Oh, my God! I didn't realize how bad the situation really was. Sorry, we have to raise everyone's taxes now."

Oct. 16 2008 10:22 AM

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