11/20/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Top 10 Lies, Non-truths, Half-truths, Stretches, Reaches and Fibs Proving McCain Will Say Anything to Be President

This is a compilation of statements and allegations made by John McCain or campaign surrogates on behalf of John McCain that have been repeatedly disputed or refuted, supported by the proof that these statements are mostly, partially, or completely false.


10. William Ayers

John McCain aired an ad claiming Barack Obama "lied" about his association with former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers.

On October 10, McCain's claim was deemed "Groundless, False, Dubious" by

"We find McCain's accusation that Obama 'lied' to be groundless. It is true that recently released records show half a dozen or so more meetings between the two men than were previously known, but Obama never denied working with Ayers."

9. Obama will Fine Small Businesses

On October 15, 2008, in the third presidential debate, John McCain claimed any small business that would not "adopt the health care plan that Senator Obama mandates, he's going to fine you." reported this was false. "McCain used this charge during the second debate as well. We found it False then, and it's still problematic now."

Politifact goes on further to explain the truth about Obama's plan: "Obama's plan says that employers who don't offer their employees insurance will be required to contribute to the national pool, what McCain calls a 'fine.' But Obama's plan specifically exempts small businesses from contributing to the pool."

8. Obama Supported Sex Ed for Young Children

In early September, the McCain campaign aired a television ad claiming Barack Obama supported "legislation to teach 'comprehensive sex education' to kindergartners." The ad went so far to imply that Obama wanted to teach children about sex before they could read. gave this claim by the McCain campaign the rating "pants on fire," the lowest possible rating on the Truth-o-Meter.

"In 2003, the Assembly considered a bill to expand sex education directives from grades 6 through 12 to grades K through 12. The legislation required the curriculum to be medically accurate and include information on the prevention of HIV and contraceptives. It also said abstinence must be taught and that students "shall be encouraged to base their actions on reasoning, self-discipline, sense of responsibility, self-control, and ethical considerations, such as respect for oneself and others.

Most pertinent to the kindergarten allegation, the legislation states that "course material and instruction shall be age and developmentally appropriate."

The ad also erroneously calls this Obama's only education accomplishment, despite the fact that Obama never sponsored the legislation and it never passed.


In the final presidential debate, McCain accused ACORN, an anti-poverty organization, of perpetrating the greatest voter fraud in the history of our country.

Washington Post's Fact Checker responded: "This is greatly overstating the allegations that have been brought against the group in recent weeks. Nearly all of the handful of investigations that are now underway around the country involve charges that ACORN workers submitted fraudulent registration forms to election officials. Some of the forms were obviously fraudulent -- one for "Mickey Mouse," others with the names of the Dallas Cowboys. But there is a difference between submitting bogus forms and actual voter fraud. It is not voter fraud until someone shows up at the polls pretending to be Tony Romo or Mickey Mouse and tries to vote."

6. Obama Dishonorable?

The McCain campaign aired an ad calling Barack Obama "dishonorable" because of his August 2007 statement about American military strategy in Afghanistan.

"We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there."

As reveals, calling Barack Obama dishonorable for this statement is certainly a stretch. The refer to an Associated Press report:

"As of Aug. 1 [2007], the AP count shows that while militants killed 231 civilians in attacks in 2007, Western forces killed 286. Another 20 were killed in crossfire that can't be attributed to one party." Even President Bush admitted that there were too many civilian casualties, saying: "The president [Afghan president Hamid Karzai] rightly expressed his concerns about civilian casualty. And I assured him that we share those concerns."

5. Obama Voted 94 Times Against Tax Cuts

McCain spokesperson Tucker Bounds told the FOX News Channel viewers that "Senator Obama has voted 94 times to either increase your taxes or against tax cuts."

"94? Not even close," found PolitiFact.

"Ninety-four times? Not that we could find. The tally more accurately demonstrates how easy it is to distort a candidate's record by characterizing in broad strokes complicated bills and resolutions that contain myriad policy proposals...

...if voting against a tax cut is the same as voting for higher taxes, then it's worth noting McCain's rather well-documented record in this regard. In 2001, McCain antagonized conservatives when he voted against President Bush's tax cuts, saying they needed to be paired up with equivalent cuts in spending. He voted against the 2003 round of cuts, too."

4. Obama's $3 Million Projector?

John McCain routinely brings up a "$3 million earmark" that Barack Obama sought for "an overhead projector." That "overhead projector" is actually for one of the world's top planetariums, a major source of tourist revenue for the city of Chicago, and is needed to replace a nearly half-century old piece of equipment.

Michael Dobbs with the Washington Post "Fact Checker" has the real scoop:

"As in the last debate, McCain again raised the $3 million earmark for an 'overhead projector' in a Chicago planetarium. 'Overhead projector' conjures up the image of one of those pieces of equipment that high school science teachers roll out for their students. The Adler Planetarium in Chicago draws more than 400,000 visitors a year and is regarded as one of the principal scientific education centers in the country. The new projector will replace a 40-year old model that projects 4,500 stars on a 360-degree planetarium dome."

3. Obama is Anti-Clean Coal

In four states, the McCain campaign airs an ad claiming that Obama does not support clean coal. determined:

"That's false:

*Obama's energy plan, which he began promoting well over a year ago, calls for investing in 'low emissions coal plants' and creating '5 "first-of-a-kind" commercial scale coal-fired plants with carbon capture and sequestration.' His position in support of clean coal has been clear."

2. Obama "Pals Around" with Terrorists

At a rally, Sarah Palin insisted that Barack Obama "Pals around" with domestic terrorists, referring to Bill Ayers of Weather Underground. She claims Obama launched his political career in Ayers' living room. Since, this allegation has been echoed again and again by McCain campaign surrogates. gives the "full extent" of the relationship that the McCain campaign so often brings up:

"In March 1995, Obama was named chair of the six-member Chicago Annenberg Challenge board that distributed the grants. A New York Times review of archives of the Chicago Annenberg project found that the two attended six board meetings together.

Later that year, the Ayers' hosted a coffee at which Illinois State Sen. Alice Palmer, who planned to run for Congress, introduced Obama to some of her long-time supporters as her chosen successor. According to the New York Times story, it was one of several neighborhood events held that year on Obama's behalf, and it was not the first. Obama campaign officials also note the event at Ayers' home was not a fundraiser. And they claim that Obama did not know Ayers' history with the Weather Underground at that time. They did not say when Obama found that out.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told PolitiFact the two have not communicated by phone or e-mail since Obama became a U.S. senator in 2005, and that they last spoke to one another about a year ago, when they bumped into each other in the neighborhood -- they live just a few blocks apart."

1. McCain has Never Asked for an Earmark for Arizona

Finally, the original platform of McCain's campaign was to cut "pork barrel" spending in Washington. He said, on September 16, 2008, in Tampa, Florida, "I have never asked for a single earmark, pork barrel project for my state of Arizona. Sen. Obama has asked for $932-million dollars in earmarks, literally $1-million for every day that he's been in Congress."

Politifact finds this to be outright false:

"It's just not true. As PolitiFact writer John Frank pointed out earlier this year, McCain in 2006 co-sponsored legislation that asked for $10-million for an academic center at the University of Arizona to honor the late Supreme Court chief justice William Rehnquist. In 2003, Frank noted, McCain won authorization to buy property to create a buffer zone around Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, and in 1992, McCain asked the Environmental Protection Agency to provide $5-million toward a wastewater project in Nogales, Ariz."

Support was taken from the following non-partisan fact check groups: "A project of the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly to help you find the truth in the presidential campaign." "A nonpartisan, nonprofit 'consumer advocate' for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics."

The Washington Post "Fact Checker": "The purpose of this website, and an accompanying column in the Post, is to "truth squad" the national political debate in the period leading up to the 2008 presidential election. Our goal is to shed as much light as possible on controversial claims and counter-claims involving important national issues, such as the war in Iraq, immigration, health care, social issues, the economy, and the records of the various presidential candidates."