Fact Check: President Obama's State of the Union 2010

A look at the president's claims in his address to Congress.

January 27, 2010, 6:55 PM

Jan. 27, 2010— -- President Obama made economy the focal point of his first State of the Union address, but he also touched upon a variety of other issues, from foreign policy to health care.

ABC News takes a look at some of the claims in President Obama's State of the Union address tonight to verify whether they are true.

The president has assailed the Supreme Court's decision on campaign financing, and tonight said, "The Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign companies -- to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities."

Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Web site from the St. Petersburg Times, did some research when Obama first made the claim in his weekly radio address last weekend and found that it was barely true. Obama's statements on whether foreign companies can spend money in U.S. political campaigns "overstated the ruling's immediate impact."

Current federal law prevents "a partnership, association, corporation, organization, or other combination of persons organized under the laws of or having its principal place of business in a foreign country" from making, "directly or indirectly," a donation or expenditure "in connection with a federal, state, or local election," to a political party committee or "for an electioneering communication."

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was seen shaking his head tonight as Obama made the pointed attack.

"That's why -- for the first time in history -- my administration posts our White House visitors online. And that's why we've excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions," the president said tonight.

It is true that the Obama administration became the first to implement a policy disclosing visitors to the White House, but the claim on lobbyists isn't quite right.

Obama signed an executive order in January 2009 barring lobbyists who became members of the administration from working on matters they lobbied on for two years or in agencies they lobbied during the previous two years.

But the president waived the rule for Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn, who was a registered lobbyist for the defense contractor Raytheon before being appointed in January.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk was a lobbyist for investment bank Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., and law and lobbying firm Vinson & Elkins LLP in Austin, Texas.

The Obama administration has granted waivers for additional officials who had previously worked as lobbyists. In February, the administration signed waivers for Jocelyn Frye, former general counsel at the National Partnership for Women & Families, and Cecilia Muñoz, the former senior vice president for the National Council of La Raza, allowing them to work on issues for which they lobbied.

Obama tonight touted his health care overhaul proposal and the cost savings that would result from it.

"Our approach would bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades," the president said, citing numbers from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The CBO estimated that the Senate health care bill passed on Christmas Eve would reduce the federal deficit by $132 billion over the 2010-2019 period. It said initially that the bill would cut the deficit roughly about $1 trillion in the next two decades but then revised the original numbers and said the deficit reduction under the bill could actually be half of the more than $1 trillion forecast for 2020 to 2029.

The president praised his administration's tax cuts amid a chorus of boos from Republicans.

"Let me repeat: we cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college," the president said tonight.

"As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas, and food, and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers. And we haven't raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime," he added.

What the president was referring to is the Making Work Pay tax credit, as part of which working individuals would receive a maximum of $400 and couples filing jointly $800 on their 2009 and 2010 tax returns.

But it is difficult to determine whether the tax cuts specifically affected families per se or individuals.

In making this statement today, the president was following up on his promise from his address to Congress last February, when he promised that "95 percent of working households in America will receive a tax cut."

Obama heralded the $787 billion stimulus plan as saving millions of American jobs.

"Because of the steps we took, there are about 2 million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed; 200,000 work in construction and clean energy, 300,000 are teachers and other education workers," the president said tonight. "Tens of thousands are cops, firefighters, correctional officers and first responders. And we are on track to add another one and a half million jobs to this total by the end of the year."

The White House projects that the stimulus has helped "save or create" 2 million jobs, a number not too far from that estimated by the CBO.

But the figures that the president was citing for workers and teachers are from a different assessment. Those numbers are determined based on responses from recipients of the stimulus money, and those haven't always been accurate. For example, last November, Recovery.gov claimed that in Arizona's 15th congressional district, 30 jobs had been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. The one problem that was spotted later: There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona.

ABC News' Lisa Chinn contributed to this report.