Fact check: Candidates again twist truth

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Budget numbers don't add up; sheen of distortion colors oil issues.

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - Facts went astray on tax cuts, negative campaign advertising and oil exports when Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain engaged Wednesday in their third and final presidential debate.

Some examples:
McCAIN: Claimed that Obama has spent more money on negative ads than any other presidential candidate. That's probably true — given that Obama will have raised and spent more than any other candidate.

THE FACTS: By one measure, however, McCain was wrong when he said that 100 percent of his ads weren't negative. According to one study, by the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project, 100 percent of McCain's ads have been negative.

The McCain campaign sent out an e-mail with a CMAG comparison (covering Sept. 12-Oct. 11) of how much money the two campaigns have spent on negative and positive advertising. It does back up McCain's statements that Obama is spending more than $40 million on negative advertising, but it also shows that he's spending nearly $30 million on positive advertising. According to this release, McCain is spending more than $27 million on negative ads and only $5 million on positive ads. McCain is only running 11,471 positive ads compared to nearly 60,000 negative ads, according to the release. Comparatively, Obama is running 48,729 positive ads and more than 80,000 negative ads.

So, yes, Obama is spending lots of money on negative ads, but he's also spending much more money on ads as a whole. But percentage wise — according to the CMAG numbers — McCain is spending nearly 85 percent of his total advertising budget on negative advertising. Obama is spending roughly 60 percent of his total advertising budget on negative advertising.


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