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McConnell claims stimulus includes $219,000 to study the sex lives of female college freshmen

The statement

The stimulus includes "$219,000 to study the sex lives of female college freshmen."

Sen. Mitch McConnell on Wednesday in a news release.

The ruling

On the anniversary of the economic stimulus Wednesday, President Barack Obama boasted that despite the size of the $862 billion package, you're not hearing about money being misspent.

But that same day, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell put out a press release titled "Stimulus Anniversary Gifts to Taxpayers: One Year of Spending Taxpayer Dollars Studying Malt Liquor and Marijuana, Researching Drunk Mice, Funding Martini Bars and Steakhouses, and Examining Facebook." It lists 15 stimulus projects.

In this item, we look at the claim that the stimulus includes "$219,000 to study the sex lives of female college freshmen."

Alas, the academic rendering of the study on the government's stimulus Web site, recovery.gov, doesn't read nearly as provocatively as McConnell's claim:

"Scientific Rationale: … Preliminary scientific reports suggest that intimate encounters between partners who have no expectation of a romantic commitment may be increasing and that these encounters may be partly responsible for gender-based health disparities. However, little research has investigated the health consequences of such encounters using a large sample, a longitudinal design, reliable and valid measures, and sophisticated data analyses."

In other words, this is a public health study.

The two-year survey will track health-related behaviors such as tobacco use, alcohol use, exercise, sleep and sexual behavior, as well as psychosomatic and mental health symptoms. The findings will be used "to inform … and to guide the development of more effective health promotion and disease prevention programs."

In a Syracuse, N.Y., Daily Orange story, the man conducting the study, Syracuse University professor of psychology and medicine Michael Carey, defended it as a worthwhile study that will help improve approaches to intervention in women's health.

While McConnell's characterization of the study packs a good political punch, we think the actual study isn't nearly as … sexy … as he makes it out to be. And so we rule this claim Half True.

PolitiFact staff writer Robert Farley. This ruling has been edited for print. For the full ruling — and others — go to PolitiFact.com.

McConnell claims stimulus includes $219,000 to study the sex lives of female college freshmen 02/19/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2010 10:57pm]
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