Rachel Weisel, factcheck.org: McCain's new radio ad, in Spanish, aims to show Florida would benefit from the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which he supports. But every number in the ad is wrong, except one, a prediction of job gains taken from a group favoring the trade deal. And even that number is rounded upward so generously as to flunk third-grade arithmetic. ...
The false figures begin with the ad's claim that "three-quarters of Florida's exports are with Latin America." That's wrong. According to the trade statistics generator from the U.S. Department of Commerce, all of Florida's international exports totaled close to $45 billion dollars in 2007, and the state's exports to Latin America AND the Caribbean last year equaled nearly $24 billion. That means 53 percent of Florida's exports go to the region, much closer to half than three-quarters. Exports to Latin America by itself would be even smaller.
This also means the ad's assertion that "last year, Florida's exports to Latin America reached almost 45 billion dollars" is false. As we just pointed out, that was the figure for the state's exports to all countries, not just Latin America.
Finally, the ad trips up when it claims: "Colombia is Florida's third most important export market." While we don't know how to measure the "importance" of a market, we can quantify the dollar value of exports sent to each. And by that metric, Colombia ranks fifth – not third – in Florida exports, according to figures from the Commerce Department, as well as from the Census Bureau. But McCain should know this already, because he said it himself on May 20, in an article he wrote for Miami's Latin Business Chronicle.
McCain, Latin Business Chronicle, May 20, 2008: Colombia today stands as Florida's fifth largest export market – Florida exported $2.1 billion worth of goods there last year – and now the Colombians are offering to drop their barriers to American goods. (More)LSB: Three-quarters or half, a third or a fifth – when you're talking about tens of billions of dollars the importance of the trading relationship and its economic impact on the region is already enormous – beyond what most of us can truly comprehend anyway, – so why inflate the numbers unnecessarily? These numbers are simple to verify, especially when six weeks earlier you used the correct information in an article McCain's campaign wrote – so why inflate the numbers when you know that the media (and bloggers) are fact checking everything you say? Confused (ala Sunni or Shia) or lying? After 7+ years of this behavior from the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, this is beyond worrisome.