Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Prime-time promises

SUMMARY: We check Obama's infomercial and find some truth and some stretching.

Barack Obama unveiled a unique campaign ad six days before the election, a 30-minute prime-time ad on seven networks.

The ad featured Obama speaking to the camera about his proposals interspersed with the stories of ordinary voters and their concerns about the country's direction. Elected officials from around the country also spoke positively about Obama.

We checked several items from this ad:

• Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said Obama "changed the rules in Washington. Gone are the free gifts from lobbyists. Gone are the fancy airplane rides for nothing." We found that he worked on ethics reform, but wasn't the driving force. We rated her statement Half True .

• Obama said his health care plan could save a typical family "$2,500 a year." We found that number is based on estimates and projections of what he hopes will happen once all the pieces of his plan are in place. We rated his statement  Half True .

• Obama also said he finds a way to pay for all of his spending plans. We found that he offers proposals to pay for his direct spending, but he's sometimes vague on the details. And that spending doesn't include his proposed tax cuts. We rated this statement Barely True .

 The ad also touched on a few statements we've checked previously:

• Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio said in the ad that Obama would "cut taxes for the struggling families." We looked into a similar claim that Obama would cut taxes for "95 percent of working families" and found it to be True, based primarily on Obama's proposal to give a $500 tax credit  to workers.

• Obama said that there are 47 million people in the U.S. without health insurance. That's correct. We've run across that number many times when checking statements about health care .

• Vice presidential nominee Joe Biden praised Obama's work in the Senate, saying he "reached across the aisle to Dick Lugar, one of the leading guys in America for the past 20 years on arms control, to keep loose nukes out of the hands of terrorists." We looked into Obama's work with Lugar a few months ago and rated a similar statement True.