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Sorting out the truth in politics

PolitiFact: 5 GOP attack lines you'll probably hear this week

Republicans are known for their discipline at repeating talking points, so many of the lines you'll hear this week in Tampa will be ones they've used before.

Here are some attacks against President Barack Obama you're likely to hear and how PolitiFact has rated them.

1 The stimulus was wasteful and ineffective. Republicans have been firmly against the $833 billion stimulus as a wasteful use of taxpayer dollars. They opposed it, even though roughly one-third was something the GOP usually supports — tax cuts. Republicans are right that the stimulus went to a wide variety of programs, but they've often overreached by saying it funded "traffic lights in China" or for a study of how monkeys react to cocaine. PolitiFact found both those claims to be Mostly False.

2 The economy is bad, gas prices are high. GOP officials have frequently cited statistics showing the economy is still in the doldrums. Their numbers are usually accurate, but they sometimes exaggerate the impact Obama can have on gas prices or the economy. Most often, PolitiFact has rated these statements Half True.

3 Obama promised unemployment would stay below 8 percent. In criticizing the stimulus, Republicans have often said Obama promised that if it passed, unemployment would stay below 8 percent. PolitiFact has found that while the Obama administration included 8 percent as one of the projections in a budget document, the document included plenty of caveats and Obama never explicitly made such a promise. PolitiFact has rated claims about Obama's "promise" Mostly False.

4 Obamacare is a government takeover of health care. This is a favorite line of seemingly every Republican candidate because it paints the health care law as a vast overreach of government. But the law relies largely on free-market competition by private insurers, which is why PolitiFact has rated the takeover claim False or Pants on Fire.

5 Democrats cut $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare. For more than two years, Republicans have been attacking Obama for "cutting" or "raiding" Medicare to pay for Obama­care. They are correct that he pays for the program largely with savings from Medicare. But depending on the wording, PolitiFact has rated the claim Half True or Mostly False because the "cuts" are actually reductions in future growth.

These items have been edited for print. Read the full versions at

PolitiFact is a project of the Tampa Bay Times to help you find the truth in American politics. Reporters and editors from the Times will be fact-checking statements made during the Republican National Convention and rating them on our Truth-O-Meter:

TRUE: The statement is accurate and there's nothing significant missing.

MOSTLY TRUE: The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.

HALF TRUE: The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.

MOSTLY FALSE: The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.

FALSE: The statement is not accurate.

PANTS ON FIRE: The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.

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PolitiFact: 5 GOP attack lines you'll probably hear this week 08/27/12 [Last modified: Monday, August 27, 2012 9:31pm]
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