March 10th, 2010
03:27 PM ET

Where does Sen. Blanche Lincoln stand on the issues?

Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Arkansas, is gearing up for what many believe will be a tough re-election campaign as she vies for her third term in the U.S. Senate. Recent polls indicate that Lincoln's approval ratings have dropped over the past year, and she represents a state that voted for Republican presidential candidate John McCain by a margin of 20 percentage points in 2008.

Last week, Lincoln kicked off her ad campaign for the upcoming Democratic primary with a commercial that said, "I don't answer to my party, I answer to Arkansas." In the 30-second-spot, Lincoln depicts herself as a Washington outsider by listing four issues that she says she voted against even though they were generally backed by Democrats. The Fact Check Desk decided to see if these claims are consistent with her voting record.

Fact Check: What's Lincoln's voting record like when it comes to the issues outlined in her newest commercial?

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March 10th, 2010
02:31 PM ET

Is Massa's resignation the key to passing health care reform?

New York Democratic Rep. Eric Massa walked out of Congress and straight into the scandal spotlight this week, offering a laundry list of  reasons for resigning as he made the rounds on evening talk shows. When CNN's Larry King asked, "Why did you resign - health, ethics, Democratic leadership, what?" his response was "All of the above." Amid questions about cancer and "groping" male staffers, Massa repeated his assertion that he was pushed out by the Democratic leadership to improve the party's odds of passing health care reform - an allegation House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer calls "absurd."

Regardless of whether he was pushed out or not, Massa's departure changes the dynamics in the House by reducing the number of votes needed for a majority. And if it comes down to one or two votes, he says, "You'd better believe it makes a difference."

Fact Check: Could Eric Massa's resignation from Congress be the key to passing health care reform?

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March 10th, 2010
12:22 PM ET

How third-party candidates affect elections

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is warning Tea Party candidates to stay out of the November elections.

Romney, a possible candidate for the 2010 Republican presidential nomination, suggested that "Tea Party" candidates could divide the GOP vote, allowing Democrats to win.

"If there is a conservative candidate that runs in the general election, then obviously, divide and fail is the result," Romney said.

In an interview with the conservative Newsmax Web site, Romney suggested that "most" Tea Party supporters would vote Republican in a two-party race.

"Hopefully Tea Party candidates will run in respective primaries and they will either win or lose. And if they win they will go into the general," he said. "If they lose, they won't, and they will get behind the more conservative of the two finalists."

Another possible Republican presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, made similar comments last month.

Fact Check: How much of an impact do third-party candidates have in general elections?

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March 9th, 2010
06:41 PM ET

Cost of Senate health care bill

During debate Tuesday on the Senate floor, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, expressed concerns about the cost of the health care bill. 

"The bill that the White House and its allies in Congress want to vote for would actually drive costs up," he said. "Overall health care spending would go up by more than $200 billion under [this] bill." 

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March 9th, 2010
06:33 PM ET

Karl Rove hunts for Iraq's WMDs

Karl Rove, former President George W. Bush's top political adviser, is out with a  memoir defending the Bush administration's case for the  2003 invasion of Iraq, among other things.  

In the chapter "Bush Was Right on Iraq," Rove writes the major argument that underpinned the U.S.-led invasion - concerns that Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein's government was concealing stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, long-range missiles and a nuclear bomb program - was based on "an overwhelming international and domestic consensus" that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.  
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March 9th, 2010
02:50 PM ET

Will a four-day school week undermine learning?

Drastic cuts in state budgets are forcing many states to consider drastic measures in education, including closing schools, getting rid of significant numbers of teachers and administrators, and cutting out extracurricular activities.  Another contentious idea being kicked around in many school districts is scaling back to a four-day school week, and adding an extra hour or so to the remaining days.

The head of a Minnesota district that's switching to four-day weeks next year says she's confident it will save money without affecting learning, and might even have some positive effects, such as fewer absences. Superintendent Deb Henton told CNN's Campbell Brown a four-day week has a "neutral" effect on academic achievement: "It's neither a positive gain, nor a negative gain." And she said it would prevent bigger problems, such as additional cost cuts and larger class sizes.

Fact Check:  Can a four-day school-week save money without undermining learning?

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March 9th, 2010
01:49 PM ET

What is the status of the 'doc fix?'

President Barack Obama's health care plan has drawn criticism for failing to address rising costs. The administration says the Senate bill would reduce the budget deficit. But Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said at the health care summit that those estimates are based on "a bill that is full of gimmicks and smoke and mirrors." Ryan says the so-called doc fix is "the most cynical gimmick" in the bill.

The doc fix prevents a large reduction in annual federal Medicare fees for doctors. Ryan says, "It was in the first iteration of all of these bills, but because it was a big price tag and it made the score look bad ... that provision was taken out." Instead, it was put into a stand-alone bill.

"Hiding spending does not reduce spending," he says.

Fact Check: What is the status of the 'doc fix?'
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March 9th, 2010
12:06 PM ET

Recession forcing school closings?

Facing a $50 million shortfall, the Kansas City, Missouri, School Board is considering a plan to close nearly half of that city's public schools.

Superintendent John Covington wants to close 29 of 61 schools and eliminate 3,000 jobs, including the jobs of 285 teachers. The school board is scheduled to vote on Wednesday.

Fact Check: Is the recession forcing public schools to close?

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March 8th, 2010
11:12 AM ET

Are thousands losing health coverage?

In the Obama administration's push to finally get its health care proposals through Congress, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hit the Sunday talk shows to hammer home the costs of failure.

"I think we know what doing nothing looks like, and it looks pretty scary. Fifteen thousand people a day lose their insurance, and some of thosefolks are being actually priced out of the marketplace," Sebelius told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Fact Check: Are 15,000 people a day losing health insurance?
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