Stand up for the facts!

Misinformation isn't going away just because it's a new year. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Angie Drobnic Holan
By Angie Drobnic Holan March 17, 2008
SUMMARY: An ad from a left-leaning group attacks McCain for being too much like Bush. We find three of its claims are mostly accurate, while a claim on tax breaks for oil companies is wrong.

A pithy television ad makes the case that Sen. John McCain and President George W. Bush are interchangeable. As whimsical yet sinister music plays in the background, a pair of scissors cuts off McCain's head and replaces it with Bush's. The ad intones:

"Where does John McCain stand on the issues? A trillion dollars in Iraq over the next 10 years. McSame as Bush.

"A millionaire who's for tax cuts for millionaires. McSame as Bush.

"Oil companies, they get tax breaks while we pay at the pump. McSame as Bush.

"Absolutely no plan for universal health care. McSame as Bush.

"We need a new direction. Not the McSame old thing."

The ad was paid for by the Campaign to Defend America, a left-leaning advocacy group.

We checked into the ad's claims and found it was right or mostly right in three assertions. It was off on its claim that McCain and Bush are on the same page for tax breaks for oil companies.

* On Iraq, both McCain and Bush resist timetables for withdrawal and say troops need to stay as long as necessary. It's possible the cost could reach $1-trillion over the next 10 years, but that estimate also includes troops in Afghanistan. We rate this claim Mostly True .

* On tax cuts for millionaires, both Bush and McCain want to keep in place tax rates set to expire that have reduced the tax burden for millionaires. Also, both men are millionaires. We deduct a point because the ad doesn't make clear that no new tax cuts are proposed for millionaires. We find it to be Mostly True .

* On tax breaks for oil companies, we found that McCain voted against Bush's most significant energy bill on the grounds that it was a giveaway to business and wouldn't lower pump prices. So we find this statement False .

* On universal health care, neither Bush nor McCain favor any kind of health care system that would require people to participate and cover everyone. The ad gets that right, so we rule it True.

Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter

Our Sources

Campaign to Defend America, McSame as Bush , March 5, 2008

CBO Testimony, Estimated Costs of U.S. Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and of Other Activities Related to the War on Terrorism , July 31, 2007

Meet the Press, Interview with John McCain , Jan. 27, 2008

Meet the Press, Interview with John McCain , Jan. 6, 2008

Press conference of the president , March 21, 2006

Center for Responsive Politics, George W. Bush personal financial disclosure , 2006

Center for Responsive Politics, John McCain personal financial disclosure , 2006

Congressional Budget Office, Historical Effective Federal Tax Rates: 1979 to 2005 , December 2007

New York Times, Tax Cuts Offer Most for Very Rich, Study Says , Jan. 8, 2007

U.S. Senate, McCain 2001 vote opposing tax cuts

U.S. Senate, McCain 2003 vote opposing tax cuts

U.S. Senate, McCain 2006 vote favoring tax cuts

John McCain Senate Web site, McCain, Kyl say no to flawed energy bill , June 28, 2005

U.S. Senate, Initial roll call vote on Energy Policy Act of 2005 , June 28, 2005

U.S. Senate, Initial roll call vote on Energy Policy Act of 2005 , July 29, 2005

Washington Post, Bush Signs Energy Bill, Cheers Steps Toward Self-Sufficiency , Aug. 9, 2005

The White House, Remarks by the President at National Republican Congressional Committee Dinner , March 12, 2008

The Kaiser Family Foundation, Presidential Candidate Forum: John McCain , Oct. 31, 2007

John McCain campaign Web site, Health care plan

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Angie Drobnic Holan

'McSame' ad goes three for four