Legends Times

“News The Way You Want It! The Way It Should Be!”

Fact check: McCain tax cuts give $200 billion to corporations, $4 billion to oil companies?

The Statement:
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, speaking in Canton, Ohio, on October 27, referred to Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain’s tax plans and said, “It’s not change when he wants to give $200 billion to the biggest corporations or $4 billion to the oil companies.”

Get the facts!

 

The Facts:
Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said the numbers cited by Obama come from two studies analyzing McCain’s tax proposals, including cuts in the corporate tax rate. The two studies were done by unrelated organizations. LaBolt also said that Obama’s remarks do not refer to two separate tax cuts — the $4 billion in purported cuts to oil companies is part of the larger $200 billion.

Both studies project the effects of McCain’s proposal to cut the corporate tax rate from the current maximum of 35 percent to a maximum of 25 percent in a phased reduction over the next seven years.

One analysis, published in March by the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund, predicted how large oil companies would fare under McCain’s proposed corporate tax reductions. Based on taxes that the five largest American oil companies paid in 2007 and calculating what the study called “savings under McCain plan,” the study concludes that those five companies would realize a total tax cut of $3.8 billion a year under McCain’s plan to cut the corporate rate.

On its Web site, the organization refers to the tax reduction as “nearly $4 billion.” LaBolt said the Obama campaign uses the $4 billion figure because the study included only the five largest American oil companies, and the total tax cut to all American oil companies would be bigger. Also, 2008 earnings for oil companies are expected to be higher than earnings in 2007.

The other study — a detailed analysis of both McCain’s and Obama’s tax plans — was done by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. That study predicted the impact of McCain’s tax proposals on revenue in several categories. The Obama campaign arrived at its $200 billion figure by combining various categories in that study. Roberton Williams, principal research associate for the Tax Policy Center, said the Obama campaign’s calculation of $200 billion from McCain’s proposed reduction in corporate taxes was an accurate conclusion.

The McCain campaign contends that lowering the corporate tax rate will enhance business development and create jobs in the United States. In an interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room” on Oct. 22, McCain cited lower tax rates in other countries as being a key reason American companies move business overseas. “We should be cutting corporate tax for every business in America,” he said. “To somehow allege that a company or corporation that can be international is not going to go where they pay the lowest taxes and create the most jobs is just foolishness.”

The Verdict: 

TRUE! Obama’s statement accurately reflects two studies of McCain’s tax proposals.

November 1, 2008 Posted by | Campaign Facts Check | , , | Leave a comment

Fact Check: Did Albright agree Obama would ‘invite’ an international crisis?

The Statement
Speaking on Fox News’s “Hannity & Colmes,” Republican vice-presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin expanded a GOP attack that Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s running mate said his presidency would invite international trouble. “And it wasn’t just Biden making that comment,” Palin said. “That was confirmed by former Secretary Madeleine Albright, where she said yes, she believes that Biden was just stating fact. Now, I don’t want a president who invites that kind of testing.”

Get the facts!

 

The Facts
On Sunday, October 19, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden was speaking at a fundraiser in Seattle, asking for support in the event Obama is elected. “Watch — we’re going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy,” Biden said. “I don’t know what the decision is going to be, but I promise you it will occur. As a student of history, and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you it is going to happen.”

The McCain campaign seized on the comment to argue Obama is not experienced enough and that a lack of experience will encourage nations like Russia and groups like al Qaeda to challenge his resolve. The Obama camp has responded, arguing that Biden meant to say that the next president will be tested regardless of who is elected.

Speaking Wednesday, October 21, on CNN’s “American Morning,” Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state and an Obama supporter, was asked about the statement. “Well, I think it is — it’s just a statement of fact, frankly. And in my book, I talk about the fact that … something unexpected, you always have to be prepared for that. And that’s why, I actually think that Senator Obama is a terrific person to be president because he has this capability of assessing the situation in a calm way, of listening to a lot of different opinions … .”

She continued, “Well, I think that what you see is the fact that there’s something happening in the world all the time. … So, I think that it’s a statement of fact, and I think Barack Obama is a terrific person to handle it.”

The Verdict:

MISLEADING! Palin takes out of context part of a comment by Albright, who was actually praising Obama’s ability to handle a crisis

November 1, 2008 Posted by | Campaign Facts Check | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fact check: Did Joe The Plumber say Obama’s comment ‘sounded like socialism’?

 

Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, the fictional character "Joe the Plumber"

The Statement:
Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, speaking at an October 27 rally in Leesburg, Virginia, referred to Barack Obama’s October 12 conversation about tax policy with Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, the citizen now known as “Joe the Plumber.” She said Obama said he “wants to spread the wealth” and that “Joe the Plumber said to him, it sounded like socialism.”

Get the facts!

The Facts:
Obama met Wurzelbacher at a campaign stop outside Toledo, Ohio, on October 12, Wurzelbacher told Obama he was getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year and asked, “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?” Under Obama’s plan, taxes would rise for individuals who make more than $200,000 a year and families with incomes above $250,000.

Obama went into a lengthy explanation of his plan. He said he wants to cut taxes “a little bit more for the folks who are most in need; and for the 5 percent of the folks who are doing very well — even though they’ve been working hard and I appreciate that — I just want to make sure they’re paying a little bit more in order to pay for those other tax cuts.”

He argued that if consumers had more money to spend, it would be good for enterprises such as a plumbing business. “Right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody, and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

Wurzelbacher invoked a common small-business concern with Obama: that higher taxes compromise hard-earned profits. “I’ve worked hard. I’m a plumber. I work 10-12 hours a day and I’m buying this company and I’m going to continue working that way. I’m getting taxed more and more while fulfilling the American dream.”

He never told Obama at the time his idea “sounded like socialism.” But two days later, in an interview on Fox News, Wurzelbacher said, “he wants to distribute wealth. I’m not trying to make statements here. That’s kind of a socialist viewpoint.”

In an interview with CNN that aired October 16, Wurzelbacher clarified that the company he wants to buy makes well less than $250,000 a year — which, under Obama’s plan, means his taxes would not be increased.

McCain and Palin frequently refer to “Joe the Plumber” on the campaign trail. Since his encounter with Obama, Wurzelbacher has received much notoriety and has signaled his support for McCain.

Wurzelbacher told conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham on October 24 that he’s considering a run for Congress in 2010. That would pit Wurzelbacher against longtime Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur for Ohio’s 9th District on the state’s northern border, which includes Toledo and Sandusky.

“I’ll tell you what, we’d definitely be in one heck of a fight, Marcy Kaptur definitely has a following in this area,” he said of the possibility. “But, you know, I’d be up for it.”

Wurzelbacher was expected to campaign with former U.S. Rep. Rob Portman in Ohio on October 28 on behalf of the McCain campaign.

The Verdict: True. However, while Wurzelbacher has said Obama’s plan comes from a “socialist viewpoint,” he did not say that directly to Obama.

November 1, 2008 Posted by | Campaign Facts Check | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fact check: Obama, Biden ‘creeping down’ on who gets tax cuts?

The Statement
In a campaign speech Tuesday, October 28, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain accused Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, of being inconsistent on taxes.

“Senator Obama has made a lot of promises. First he said people making less than $250,000 would benefit from his plan. Then this weekend he announced in an ad that if you’re a family making less than $200,000, you’ll benefit,” McCain said. “But yesterday, right here in Pennsylvania, Senator Biden said tax relief should only go to middle class people, people making under $150,000 a year …. It’s interesting how their definition of rich has a way of creeping down.”

 

The Facts
Obama has said throughout the campaign that families making less than $250,000 a year will not see a tax increase. Those making less than $200,000 will get a tax cut, he says. “If you make less than a quarter of a million dollars a year, you will not see a single dime of your taxes go up,” Obama said during an October 7 presidential debate in Nashville, Tennessee. “If you make $200,000 a year or less, your taxes will go down.”

The campaign ad McCain refers to, titled “Defining Moment,” does have a graphic appear on the screen that says, “Families making less than $200,000 get tax cut.” Obama says, “If you have a job, pay taxes and make less than $200,000 a year, you’ll get a tax cut,” which is, again, consistent with the plan he has
laid out.

Biden was speaking Monday, October 27, in an interview with WNEP in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He said, “(An) $87 billion tax break doesn’t need to go to people making an average of $1.4 million. It should go like it used to. It should go to middle class people — people making under $150,000 a year.” Biden never
says that tax breaks should “only” go to such people. The Obama campaign says he was merely using that figure as an example and that the statement does not represent a change in policy.

The Verdict: FALSE! What McCain is doing here, in part, is comparing apples and oranges. He compares two different aspects of Obama’s tax plan as if they were the same. And Biden never said people making less than $150,000 are the “only” people who would get a tax cut under Obama’s policies.

November 1, 2008 Posted by | Campaign Facts Check | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fact check: Is Columbia professor Khalidi a ‘political ally’ of Barack Obama?

The Statement: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaking on Oct. 29 in Bowling Green, Ohio, said Barack Obama “spent a lot of time with” Rashid Khalidi. “Rashid Khalidi, he, in addition to being a political ally of Barack Obama, he’s a former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization,” she said.

Get the facts!

 

The Facts: Rashid Khalidi is Arab studies professor at Columbia University in New York.

His university profile says he specializes “in the history of Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt; the growth of nation-state; nationalism in the Arab World; problems of modern Middle East historiography” and is an expert on Palestinian issues.

He has authored scholarly works on Palestinian issues, has been an activist for Palestinian causes, and has been a critic of U.S. foreign policy toward Israel.

In a 2004 Washington Times story, he denied ever being a spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Sen. Obama, on his Web site, described Khalidi as “a former neighbor and university colleague.” But their relationship has sparked questions about Obama’s stance on Israel and what Obama calls “ugly insinuations.” Obama has said he has been a “clear and consistent” supporter of Israel and doesn’t share Khalidi’s views.

ABC News on May 22 aired comments Obama made at a Boca Raton, Florida, synagogue, where Obama faced questions from Jewish voters and addressed the issue. He said he knew Khalidi and had conversations with him in Chicago, where both men taught at the University of Chicago. And, he said, their children went to the same school.

“He is not one of my advisers; he’s not one of my foreign policy people,” Obama said. “He is a respected scholar, although he vehemently disagrees with a lot of Israel’s policy.”

“To pluck out one person who I know and who I’ve had a conversation with who has very different views than 900 of my friends and then to suggest that somehow that shows that maybe I’m not sufficiently pro-Israel, I think, is a very problematic stand to take,” Obama said. “So we gotta be careful about guilt by association.”

An April 10 Los Angeles Times story that explored the Khalidi-Obama relationship said Khalidi and his wife lived near the Obamas in Chicago and “the families became friends and dinner companions.”

“In 2000, the Khalidis held a fund-raiser for Obama’s unsuccessful congressional bid. The next year, a social service group whose board was headed by Mona Khalidi (Khalidi’s wife), received a $40,000 grant from a local charity, the Woods Fund of Chicago, when Obama served on the fund’s board of directors. At Khalidi’s going-away party in 2003, the scholar lavished praise on Obama, telling the mostly Palestinian-American crowd that the state senator deserved their help in winning a U.S. Senate seat,” the Times reported.

When asked about these details, the Obama campaign pointed to the May 22 comments aired by ABC News. Khalidi, asked by CNN to respond to Palin’s assertions, declined to comment.

In a New York Daily News story published March 6, 2007, Khalidi said he hosted the fund-raiser because he had been friends with Obama in Chicago. “He never came to us and said he would do anything in terms of Palestinians,” Khalidi is quoted as saying.

The Los Angeles Times report said, “though Khalidi has seen little of Sen. Obama in recent years, Michelle Obama attended a party several months ago celebrating the marriage of the Khalidis’ daughter.”

The Verdict: MISLEADING! While Khalidi eight years ago hosted a political fund-raiser for Obama, the two men strongly disagree over the Israeli-Palestinian issue and there’s no evidence of a continuing political relationship.

November 1, 2008 Posted by | Campaign Facts Check | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fact Check: Does Obama’s ‘tax calculator’ show what an individual’s tax cut would be?

The Statement: On its Web site and in a television commercial, the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama is featuring a “tax calculator” that the campaign says voters can use to see how much their tax cut would be under Obama’s plan.

Get the facts!

 

The Facts: Obama’s tax calculator asks users to input information, ranging from an approximate income range to mortgage balance and number of dependents. If the user qualifies for a tax cut under Obama’s plan, the calculator produces a specific dollar estimate for “tax savings” and compares that with any estimated tax change for that user under McCain’s plan.

For incomes over $250,000, where there would be a possible increase under Obama’s plan, the calculator does not provide dollar estimates and tells the user, “You will probably not get a tax cut under the Obama-Biden plan.”

McCain supporters and conservative groups such as Americans for Tax Reform criticize the Obama calculator, saying it fails to spell out how tax hikes in Obama’s plan would affect a given individual and excludes corporate taxes in its calculations.

In a question-and-answer section, the Obama Web site says it “calculates only how individuals’ income taxes change” and does not deal with proposed changes in corporate tax rates by either Obama or McCain.

Robertson Williams, principal research associate for the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, said that, while his group has not checked all of the calculator’s results and was not involved in creating it, the numbers it produces for individual tax cuts “look reasonable” given that they are for income estimates — not specific amounts — and that not all tax factors are included.

“It generally appears to give accurate estimates of the tax savings under Obama’s tax proposals — for those who get tax cuts,” Williams said, adding that the calculator avoids pointing out possible tax increases or giving estimated amounts of increases. “That clearly focuses attention on the tax cuts rather than the tax increases. But it does not appear to give incorrect results, given very basic assumptions about other factors influencing tax bills,” Williams said.

The Verdict: TRUE! While the Obama tax calculator gives what a nonpartisan authority describes as generally accurate estimates for taxpayers who would qualify for tax cuts under Obama,.

November 1, 2008 Posted by | Campaign Facts Check | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fact Check: Did experts say Obama plan would ‘destroy’ 6 million jobs?

The Statement

In a news release Thursday, October 30, responding to news that the U.S. gross domestic product fell in the third quarter of this year, the campaign for Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain criticized Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama’s tax proposals. “According to the independent Center for Data Analysis, Barack Obama’s new policies will destroy nearly 6 million jobs over the next decade,” the release said.

Get the Facts!

 

The Facts

The Center for Data Analysis is part of the Heritage Foundation, a fact the McCain release does not mention. The Heritage Foundation Web site describes the group as a think tank “whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies.”

An analysis posted October 30 on the Web site studies McCain and Obama’s tax proposals, using a computer program that predicts how business owners and others would respond to the candidates’ tax plans. A synopsis of the study predicts “much slower output and employment growth” under Obama’s plan. But the analysis itself says the number of jobs in the country would increase under either candidate — although the conservative think tank says jobs would increase more under McCain.

The figure McCain uses comes from the synopsis, which says “total employment” would fall an average of 589,000 a year under Obama’s plan. According to the foundation, that number represents the number of jobs that would exist compared to the potential number of jobs that could exist under current tax law. It actually says the number of jobs that would exist under McCain would be 182,000
jobs greater than the current potential because of the changes he would make to tax law.

The Verdict: FALSE! The study does not say Obama’s plan would “destroy” jobs but that fewer jobs would be created under his plan than McCain’s.

November 1, 2008 Posted by | Campaign Facts Check | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fact check: Does group McCain chairs have link to Columbia professor Khalidi?

The Statement 
The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, on Wednesday, October 29, responded to Republican opponent Sen. John McCain criticism of Obama’s relationship with Rashid Khalidi, an Arab studies professor at Columbia University, by suggesting that McCain also had a link to Khalidi. It said, “John McCain should answer why, under his own chairmanship, the International Republican Institute repeatedly funded an organization Khalidi founded, the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, over the course of many years.”

Get the facts!

 

The Facts
McCain and vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin have raised the issue of Barack Obama’s relationship with Khalidi, a scholar who has been critical of Israel and U.S. foreign policy. Palin, on October 29 in Ohio, described him as a “radical professor from the neighborhood who spent a lot of time with Barack Obama going back several years.” She also called him a “political ally” of Obama.

Obama knows Khalidi from their days in Chicago, but his campaign says he “has been clear and consistent on his support for Israel, and has been clear that Rashid Khalidi is not an adviser to him or his campaign and that he does not share Khalidi’s views.”

Since 1993, McCain has been chairman of the International Republican Institute — a nonprofit and nonpartisan group that helps promote democratic practices and institutions across the globe.

The IRI, in an October 29 press release, said it “gave grants” to the Center for Palestinian Research and Studies for polling in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza. The IRI said its “relationship with CPRS ended in 2000, and we understand that it no longer exists.”

“We understand that Rashid Khalidi was one of the many founders of CPRS, and we understand that he was for some (unclear) amount of time a board member,” the IRI said.

A defunct CPRS Web site lists Khalidi was one of the seven people who founded the group in March 1993. CPRS described itself as “an independent academic research and policy analysis institution.”

“Because CPRS is independent of political factions, it is in a unique position of being able to serve as a forum for meetings of Palestinian and international researchers from various political backgrounds and ideologies in a free academic and professional atmosphere,” the group said.

Michael Goldfarb, a McCain spokesman, told CNN on October 29 that “John McCain has never met Rashid Khalidi, while Barack Obama has acknowledged a close friendship with him.”

The Verdict: TRUE! There was a relationship in the 1990s between the IRI, chaired by McCain, and the CPRS, co-founded by Khalidi, which received IRI funding.

November 1, 2008 Posted by | Campaign Facts Check | , , , , , , | Leave a comment