In a heated Senate race in the battleground of Virginia, GOP candidate George Allen picked up an oft-repeated Republican attack – repealing President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will drastically help the government save money.
“Repealing and replacing Obamacare – that’s going to save $1 trillion over a 10-year period," Allen said.
But even relying on conservative sources, Allen got his math wrong. The candidate’s campaign website lists several studies to support the claim, including from Speaker of the House John Boehner and conservative think-tank Heritage Foundation.
According to the non-partisan watchdog PolitiFact, Allen mangled the math in those studies. Even the highest estimate, from the study released by Boehner’s office, found that the healthcare act would add only about $701 billion to the deficit.
Other conservative estimates are lower still, and independent sources are even more cautious.
The Congressional Budget Office – a nonpartisan office that conducts research for Congress – estimated that repealing the Affordable Care Act would save the government $1.171 trillion in expanded health care costs over 10 years. But it would lose $1.28 trillion in savings, including $711 billion in health care efficiencies demanded by the law and $569 billion in taxes and fees.
For misconstruing numbers for political gain, George Allen wins the Whopper of the Week, a distinction given by the Washington Guardian to misleading, misinformed, or just plain wrong statements from politicians.
Allen certainly wasn’t alone in misstating facts. Plenty of other House and Senate races around the nation also featured some stretched truths:
- New Jersey Democratic congressional candidate Shelley Adler claimed her opponent, GOP Rep. Jon Runyan, “voted to redefine rape.” Adler never stated what exactly her opponent was trying to change the definition to, and regardless, Runyan never cast such a vote. The legislation in question instead was an attempt to lower federal funding for abortions.
- Republican Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown apologized after he said his Democratic rival, Elizabeth Warren, used paid actors in a political ad. The ad touted Warren’s legal work during an asbestos lawsuit. The “actors” in question were actually people who had lost family members due to asbestos-related diseases.
- The GOP’s Senate candidate in Indiana, Richard Mourdock, has been relentlessly attacking his opponent on Twitter – or so he thought. Mourdock has been tweeting attacks against @joedonnelly, but that account appears to be a regular citizen. His Democratic opponent, Rep. Joe Donnelly, has been using the account @JoeforIndiana.
- In Connecticut, Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon claimed in an ad that her opponent, current Rep. Chris Murphy has taken a $1 million salary while in Congress. “Salary” usually refers to an annual amount. But the million-dollar figure is actually Murphy’s combined salary over the past six years. It’s possible that McMahon’s campaign looked at House disclosure records, which do show Murphy spending $1 million on “personnel compensation” during 2011 – but that was for his 20 office staff.