The Week In Conservative Attack Ads

propublica-darkmoney-813On Monday we learned that just two conservative nonprofits have spent more on television ads in the presidential race than every super PAC combined. ProPublica’s tally of advertising data shows that Americans for Prosperity and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS have aired a combined $59.9 million in “ads mentioning a candidate for president.”

There is plenty of action further down the ticket as well. Of the 14 ads Bridge Project fact checked in the last week, just two targeted President Obama. Eight came from Crossroads GPS, three from the 60 Plus Association (on which more below), two from AFP, and one from the Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. AFP’s ads (one in the Wisconsin Senate race, the other an explicit recommendation against voting for Obama) focused on debt and the health care law. The debt – and dishonest claims about its sources – were the focus of three of Crossroads GPS’ ads, while multiple ads disingenuously accused senators of voting to tax small businesses. A pair of Crossroads GPS ads in the Virginia Senate contest misrepresented Tim Kaine’s record as governor and his stance on defense spending.

Read more after the jump.

Crossroads GPS: “Forgot”

Crossroads GPS once again attempts to portray Heidi Heitkamp as corrupt, this time in an ad that relies on citations from a right-wing radio host’s website and a Rupert Murdoch-owned editorial page. Crossroads claims Heitkamp engaged in a “pay to play” scheme with “an out-of-state trial lawyer,” but the reality is both less interesting and less insidious than Crossroads suggests. Heitkamp and several other state attorneys general negotiated a multi-state settlement with tobacco companies following years of litigation conducted by private law firms. Those firms did not charge up front for thousands of hours and millions in costs, in exchange for a percentage of any payout they succeeded in winning for the states. Heitkamp’s office did not pay attorney Jack McConnell for his work on the settlement, but he receives a portion of the percentage the states agreed to pay his firm. And while GPS’ biased source claims she ducked questions about the matter, Heitkamp was quite willing to speak to reporters at an actual newspaper in the state.

Read more after the jump.

Americans For Prosperity: “Stop Wasteful Spending”

An ad from Americans for Prosperity declares that Washington could “learn a lot from Wisconsin” about “how to tighten their belts,” presumably a reference to Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union “budget repair” bill. The ad criticizes Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) over the national debt, citing her support for the Affordable Care Act – which, in fact, reduces deficits. In reality, the main drivers of the debt are Bush policies, including tax breaks for the wealthy that Baldwin opposed, and revenue losses from the Great Recession.

Read more after the jump.

Gaffney: ATR’s Norquist Is “Working For A Bunch Of Islamists” And “Fragging His Own Team”

On the August 15 edition of his radio show, Center for Security Policy founder and president Frank Gaffney made the following comments about Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist’s support for cuts to defense spending:

And Grover, obviously, is less concerned about the national security, shall we say. I believe that he’s been working for a bunch of Islamists for a long time, which may further explain what he’s doing here. But at the very minimum he’s got his eye exclusively on the taxes issue. And Jim, I guess what I’m really worried about is, to the extent you have somebody in Republican circles fragging his own team, as Grover Norquist is doing, it can only benefit the opponents and the people who are trying to bring about this train wreck. And maybe that, again, is in the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood – I certainly don’t think it’s in the interests of the United States.

Americans For Prosperity: “Has President Obama Earned Your Vote?”

Americans for Prosperity softens its usually harsh tone with an ad that features former Obama supporters explaining why they are disappointed with the president’s performance. However, the ad still features several misleading statements that echo common attacks on President Obama’s record from AFP and other conservative groups.

Read more after the jump.

Crossroads GPS: “With A T”

Crossroads GPS is running an ad in Wisconsin, titled “With A T,” emphasizing the trillions of dollars added to the national debt since Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) took office. But while Crossroads focuses on Baldwin’s support for the “failed” Recovery Act, which helped prevent an even more devastating economic collapse, President Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy and the recession fueled the increase in debt over the last decade. As a member of the House, Baldwin voted against the tax cuts Bush passed in 2001 and 2003.

Read more after the jump.

Crossroads GPS: “Cost”

A Crossroads GPS ad attacks Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine for supporting the sequestration defense cuts, but Kaine has made it clear that he wants to find a deal to avoid the cuts and has even laid out a specific proposal. In reality, the deal Kaine supported was a bipartisan plan to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default on our loans – a deal that also created a committee to propose a deficit reduction strategy and imposed sequestration as an incentive to avoid failure. That panel ultimately failed because its Republican members refused to consider tax increases, even after Democrats offered several concessions on spending cuts.

Read more after the jump.

Crossroads GPS: “Doing”

Even though Ohio’s unemployment rate has fallen for 11 straight months, dropping more than 3 percentage points from its recession-driven high, Crossroads GPS suggests that the state’s economy is getting worse and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is responsible. To support its case, the conservative group distorts the facts about two policies Brown supports – health care reform and ending tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans – and attacks him for supposedly backing an energy bill he ultimately opposed out of concern for Ohio jobs.

Read more after the jump.

Crossroads GPS: “Pledged”

An ad from Crossroads GPS continues the group’s quest to distort Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine’s record as the state’s governor. The truth is that amid a highly political fight over how to fix Virginia’s transportation issues, Kaine proposed to raise revenue while Republicans wanted to borrow more money. When the recession hit, Virginia’s revenues dropped off, but Kaine cut billions and finished each two-year budget cycle with the books balanced. And Kaine didn’t, as the ad states, pledge “no new taxes” – he pledged to keep tax increases designed to fund transportation upgrades from being used to plug other budgetary holes.

Read more after the jump.

Crossroads GPS: “Cost You”

Crossroads GPS starts its latest attack on Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) by asking why the debt has increased since Jon Tester took office, and then provides all the wrong answers. Contrary to the ad’s claims, Bush policies and the recession have driven the increase in debt since Tester took office, and the Affordable Care Act actually reduces deficits. Crossroads also misrepresents Tester’s vote to extend middle-class tax cuts as a ‘tax hike’ on small businesses.

Read more after the jump.