American Hustle -- a movie based on the story of Abscam, the late-1970s FBI sting that ensnared more than a half-dozen politicians for accepting bribes -- got shut out at the Oscars despite snagging 10 nominations. But the movie is living on as an issue in a 2014 U.S. Senate race. Larry Pressler, a former U.S. senator from South Dakota now running as an Independent for another term in the chamber, is airing a campaign ad touting his role in the Abscam scandal. The twist is that Pressler is touting his honesty in the face of illegal offerings. "American ...>> More
Larry Pressler: "<em>American Hustle</em> shows the FBI making real-life bribes to Washington politicians. I know, because as your U.S. senator, I turned them down."
Paul Ryan: "Over the past three years, ‘deep poverty’ has reached its highest level on record."
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives recently released a study that critiqued the current mix of federal anti-poverty programs and suggested a new way forward. The report, titled "The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later," was released by the House Budget Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Ryan was Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 election and is considered a possible presidential contender in 2016. The report, released March 3, 2014, argues in part that there are too many overlapping and ineffective programs designed to help poor Americans. At one point, the authors ...>> More
American and European leaders find themselves scrambling to respond to Russia’s deployment of troops in the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine. With military action on no one’s wish-list, diplomacy and economic sanctions are the only moves effectively in play. Secretary of State John Kerry said on CBS’ Face the Nation that he had been on the phone with his counterparts among the G-8 nations. "Every single one of them are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia with respect to this invasion," Kerry said. "They’re prepared to put sanctions in place, they’re prepared to isolate Russia economically, ...>> More
Mike Rogers: Crimea was part of Russia "until 1954, when it was given to the Soviet Republic of the Ukraine."
President Barack Obama has been vocal in his opposition to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine. Focus has shifted from the new government in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, to Crimea, a region Russian troops seized control of Saturday. Meanwhile, politicians and pundits are divided over what the United States’ role should be in the conflict. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., expressed his concern of Russia’s interference in Crimea to Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. "I would believe that Russians would love to see the Crimea as part of the Russian Federation," he said. "It was there until 1954 ...>> More
President Barack Obama recently announced a new initiative that was close to his heart: a national effort to close achievement gaps and create opportunities for minority boys. "My Brothers Keeper," unveiled at the White House on Feb. 27, 2014, combines philanthropy and research to help move young men of color from the streets into schools and the workforce. "I'm going to pen this presidential memorandum directing the federal government not to spend more money, but to do things smarter, to determine what we can do right now to improve the odds for boys and young men of color, and make ...>> More
In a high-profile event at the White House on Feb. 27, 2014, President Barack Obama unveiled a new effort called the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, designed "to help every boy and young man of color who is willing to do the hard work to get ahead." Obama told the audience -- a mix of African American and Latino youth and such public figures as basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and former Secretary of State Colin Powell -- that he understood the challenges facing young people of color. "The only difference is that I grew up in an environment that ...>> More
The main takeaway from a recent campaign ad from Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., aside from a prominently featured Apple logo, is that Republican challenger Rep. Tom Cotton is changing Medicare as we know it. A Feb. 5 Arkansas television ad features Courtney, a young woman who’s "never been really political." "It says here Cotton voted in Congress to change Medicare into a voucher system that will increase out-of-pocket expenses for every senior in Arkansas," Courtney said, pointing to her laptop. "Thousands of dollars every year. My grandma and grandpa can’t afford that, and neither can my parents." Since Courtney ...>> More
Pat Toomey: Says Debo Adegbile "was nominated to serve as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals" and "was abruptly withdrawn by the administration."
President Barack Obama’s pick to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division has dredged up a decades old controversy surrounding Mumia Abu-Jamal, a black radical convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer. Obama nominated Debo Adegbile to be an assistant attorney general in November. Adegbile previously served as director of litigation at the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., co-authored an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal with Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams on Feb. 24 that said Adegbile was not fit for the post because he attempted to "seize on (the Abu-Jamal) case and ...>> More
Bobby Jindal: "Our economy (in Louisiana) has grown 50 percent faster than the national GDP, even since the national recession."
Louisiana’s Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, attracted some media attention recently while attending an annual meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington. At a press event after meeting President Barack Obama with a bipartisan group of governors, Jindal said, "The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy. I think we can do better than that." That prompted Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, to come to the microphone and call it a breach of the traditional bipartisan decorum for such events. Jindal, a potential Republican presidential candidate, hit the airwaves again two days later when he was interviewed ...>> More
Facebook posts: Says Nancy Pelosi said, "Waiting long hours in the emergency room will allow you to make new friends!"
It’d probably be big news if House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., publicly stated that she favors extending emergency room wait times. And many Facebook posts seem to suggest she does. They claim Pelosi wrote in defense of criticism to President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, "Waiting long hours in the emergency room will allow you to make new friends!" Some Affordable Care Act critics have predicted that Obamacare will cause emergency room wait times to go up. PolitiFact wanted to put this claim to rest after a skeptical reader wrote in asking us whether Pelosi actually ...>> More
After the troubled launch of President Barack Obama’s health care law last fall, the numbers of health insurance sign-ups has increased -- and so has the spin. Speaking at a dinner with the Democratic Governors Association on Feb. 20, 2014, Obama said the law had brought health care to millions of people. He provided a breakdown: "Right now, we’ve already got close to 4 million Americans who have signed up for exchanges. We’ve got 3 million Americans who were able to stay on their parents’ plan because of the law. We’ve got close to 7 million Americans who have ...>> More
Conservative political advocacy group Americans For Prosperity is spending $400,000 into a TV ad attacking U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, for his position on a potential carbon tax. "Sen. Begich hasn’t always been straight with us," the narrator claims as footage of him supporting Obamacare flashes across the screen. "And now he’s at it again. Begich is on record supporting a carbon tax, even pushing Harry Reid to make it a priority." PolitiFact wanted to find out if the ad accurately reflects Begich’s position on the carbon tax. A carbon tax would impose a tax or fee on oil, ...>> More
When you hear discussion of the federal debt, the trendlines usually go only one way: up. That’s why our ears perked up when we heard the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, say on the Feb. 23, 2014, edition of Fox News Sunday that the debt is headed downward over the next 10 years. Durbin told host Chris Wallace, "I can just tell you this, Chris. Since President Obama has been in office, we've reached the point we're cutting the annual deficits in half, and we're going to reduce the overall debt of the United States by $3 ...>> More
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may have the backing of the National Rifle Association in his quest for a sixth term as Kentucky’s U.S. Senator, but his Republican primary opponent insists McConnell is weak on Second Amendment issues. Businessman Matt Bevin released a 15-second TV ad on Feb. 19, 2014, that not only attacked McConnell’s record on guns, but claimed McConnell’s positions were closely aligned with his Democratic counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. "Mitch McConnell voted with Harry Reid to infringe on our gun rights," the ad said. "Matt Bevin always support the Second Amendment. ...>> More
Dan Sullivan: Says Alaska Sen. Mark Begich supported President Barack Obama’s economic policies "97 percent of the time."
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, brands himself as being "as independent as Alaska." Unsurprisingly, Republicans in the primary field for the 2014 midterm election versus Begich beg to differ. One such candidate, former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan, argued in a campaign email that Begich’s votes are in line with President Barack Obama’s positions on economic issues. "Instead of standing up to President Obama’s reckless economic policies, Mark Begich has supported them 97 percent of the time," the email read. "By rubber-stamping overspending and over-regulation, Begich and Obama are stifling our nation’s economic growth and standing in the way ...>> More
Since the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans and their allies have claimed the Affordable Care Act slashes funding for Medicare, the federal healthcare program for seniors. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made almost identical claims in the 2012 presidential election as well. It appears the GOP playbook for the 2014 midterms will be similar. An early indication is in Florida’s special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., where the National Republican Congressional Committee is airing an ad hammering Democrat Alex Sink’s support of Obamacare. The ad says the law includes a "$700 billion ...>> More
Here’s a claim we expect to hear often from Republicans in the 2014 midterm races: Obamacare is a jobs killer. The National Republican Congressional Committee gave us a sneak peek at how the attack will be framed with a new ad critical of Alex Sink, the Democrat vying for the former seat of U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., in a special election. "Nonpartisan government analysts say Obamacare will cost our economy up to 2.5 million jobs," the ad says. "Yet Alex Sink still supports it." It’s amazing how quickly an economic report can turn into an attack ad. ...>> More
Critics of the health care law like to throw around talking points that give the idea that the law will increase the ranks of the uninsured. The evidence, though, tends to contradict that. That hasn’t stopped political ads from continuing to push the point. The latest case: The race to replace the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla. Democrats are hoping to pick up the seat with Alex Sink, a former banking executive who’s previously held statewide office as Florida’s chief financial officer. Her opponents are David Jolly, a Republican and one of Young’s longtime aides, and Libertarian Lucas ...>> More
A race in North Carolina has become one of the top battles in the war to control the U.S. Senate. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., is trying to win a second term and help keep the Democrats in control of the chamber. But she is expected to face a tough race against one of several Republicans competing in the primary. One of the leading candidates is Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House. Patriot Majority USA, a pro-Democratic group operating independently of the Hagan campaign, has begun to run ads against Tillis, who has already benefited from a blizzard ...>> More
Patriot Majority USA: North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis would let insurance companies "deny coverage for pre-existing conditions."
A race in North Carolina has become one of the top battles in the war to control the U.S. Senate. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., is trying to win a second term and help keep the Democrats in control. But she is expected to face a tough race against one of several Republicans competing in the primary. One of the leading candidates is Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House. Patriot Majority USA, a pro-Democratic group operating independently of the Hagan campaign, has begun to run ads against Tillis, who has already benefited from a blizzard of ads against ...>> More
Even though Clay Aiken has never run for public office before, he’s no stranger to getting a lot of votes. Now, after announcing his run for a U.S. House seat in North Carolina, the Democrat will have to hope supporters are as eager to flock to the polls as they were to text in their American Idol votes a decade ago. It won’t be an easy road to Washington for Aiken, who will face a Democratic primary. In his YouTube campaign kickoff, which Simon Cowell would probably call "pitchy," Aiken criticized his would-be general election opponent, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C. ...>> More
Keith Ellison: "Americans work way more than an average of industrialized countries around the world."
A recent Congressional Budget Office report is the latest spark in the Affordable Care Act debate. Conservatives on ABC’s This Week roundtable criticized President Barack Obama’s signature health care law for its predicted effect on the economy. As we’ve previously noted, the nonpartisan report shows that health care reform may reduce the total number of hours worked by 1.5 to 2 percent from 2017 to 2024 -- the equivalent of about 2 million jobs. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., pushed back against the Obamacare critics, arguing that a little less time in the office might not be such a ...>> More
Thomas Perez: "If you have a union job, you're making on average $950 a week. If you have a non-union job, you're making $750 a week."
Do union members really make $200 a week more than people who aren’t in unions? Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said so during the Feb. 4, 2014, edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Perez said, "just came out with their data on union membership. … If you have a union job, you're making on average $950 a week. If you have a non-union job, you're making $750 a week. So collective bargaining is a big part of how this middle class grew in America and it continues to be an important part of who we ...>> More
Chain email: Says President Barack Obama has issued upwards of 1,000 executive orders, more than any modern president.
In his State of the Union address last month, President Barack Obama said he doesn’t intend to wait if Congress doesn’t move forward on his priorities in 2014. "I'm eager to work with all of you," Obama said Jan. 28. "But America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do." That means using his executive office — "I've got a pen and I've got a phone," he has taken to saying lately — to accomplish his agenda, ...>> More