The Week In Conservative Attack Ads

After last week’s wave of House ads, conservative outside groups focused most of their attention on the Senate this week. Of the 14 ads we fact-checked, eight of them targeted Senate hopefuls (five from Karl Rove’s Crossroads groups and three from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce), compared to only two hitting House candidates (both from the Congressional Leadership Fund). We also answered presidential ads from Restore Our Future, Americans for Job Security, and American Future Fund. Finally, Americans for Prosperity joined the conservative campaign to oust three Florida Supreme Court justices.

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Crossroads GPS: “Stamp”

An ad from Crossroads GPS complains that Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) is a “rubber stamp” for spending, citing the Wall Street bailout, the Recovery Act, and the Affordable Care Act. The ad doesn’t acknowledge, however that the bipartisan bank bailout and the stimulus both rescued the economy from an even more severe downturn, while the Affordable Care Act reduces the deficit.

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Gingrich: Obama “Is A One-Sided Apologist For Islamic Extremists While He Is Attacking Christianity”

From a September 25, 2012, appearance by Newt Gingrich on Fox News’ On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:

GINGRICH: For 10 days after the Benghazi attack, the Obama administration denied it was a terrorist attack.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN (HOST): That’s a different issue.


VAN SUSTEREN: That is a profoundly different issue.

GINGRICH: But after Carney that morning said, ‘Okay everybody now concedes it’s a terrorist act,’ the same afternoon, Obama went back to the, ‘Oh, it’s really caused by the film.’ I think it’s because he wasn’t coordinating.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he was talking about the film today, which was sort of interesting. He’s talking about the video before the U.N. in his speech and talking about how, you know, we don’t insult the—we should not tolerate insulting religions, yet there was no mention of the fact that Ahmadinejad is going to be speaking tomorrow on the holiest day of the Jewish faith, Yom Kippur, so that he spoke about the insult to the Muslim world with this video, but he neglected to talk about the insult to Jews, while he’s dissing the prime minister of Israel.

GINGRICH: Well, it’s worse—From an American perspective, it’s worse than that. Obama spent I think three paragraphs on a nutcake film that nobody had seen. Meanwhile, in the same city as Cardinal Dolan, who has openly said the Obama administration’s waging war on the Catholic church. Now why is Obama fixated on appeasing Muslims while attacking Catholics? And why is that not a topic that ought to be on every network talk show? I mean here’s a president who is a one-sided apologist for Islamic extremists while he is attacking Christianity in his own country. It’s pretty bizarre.

American Future Fund: “Promises”

American Future Fund highlights examples of President Obama making similar statements in 2008 and 2012, as if it’s somehow discrediting that, after a term marked by Republican obstructionism, the president would still have any of the same goals that he campaigned on four years ago. To drive the point home, AFF closes with Obama’s statement in 2009 that “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.” However, the ad leaves out crucial context: Obama was responding to a question about efforts to rescue the economy, and he suggested that he would lose if voters did not see the economy “starting to make some progress.” Three years later, the economy has added 4.6 million private-sector jobs over 30 consecutive months of growth.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “Failed To Protect Medicare”

The Chamber of Commerce’s attack on Bill Nelson’s Affordable Care Act vote holds up better in the vacuum the ad presents than it does in the real world. In reality, the law doesn’t cut Medicare benefits and extends the life of the program by eight years. Also in reality, Nelson is running against a congressman who not only voted for the same Medicare savings, but supported the Republican Study Committee’s “Paul Ryan budget on steroids.”

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Americans for Prosperity: “You Be The Judge – Healthcare Freedom Amendment”

An ad from Americans for Prosperity blames the Florida Supreme Court for ‘denying’ Floridians the opportunity to vote against the Affordable Care Act, which AFP falsely claims will “cost trillions” and allow bureaucrats to cut Medicare. But the ad, which follows in the wake of the GOP’s decision to try to remove three Florida Supreme Court justices, omits the fact that the case before the court dealt with an attempt to place misleading, partisan language describing the health care law on the state’s 2010 ballot.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “Heidi Heitkamp – More Government Isn’t The Solution”

The Chamber of Commerce subtly suggests that former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp is a Washington insider who helped pass health care reform, without mentioning that her opponent has been in Congress for two years. The subtext might not be so interesting if the ad weren’t centered around Medicare spending reductions. Congressman Rick Berg voted for those same measures twice, while Heitkamp’s voted for them zero times. And while the Chamber misrepresents the Medicare and tax impacts of the Affordable Care Act, that’s no surprise; the group spent $100 million lobbying against it earlier in President Obama’s term.

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Restore Our Future: “Kindergarten”

An ad from pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future complains about high federal debt and the slow economic recovery, asking if America is going “forward” or “backward.” Restore Our Future fails to note, however, that 4.6 million new jobs have been created over 30 consecutive months of private-sector growth, or that GOP-favored public-sector downsizing is dragging down the recovery. In addition, it’s Bush-era policies plus the global recession that set the U.S. on a path towards an explosion of the federal debt.

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Americans For Job Security: “Running”

Americans for Job Security portrays the economy as still mired in recession, using a woman’s voiceover to suggest that President Obama has failed “to turn the economy around.” But while the economy has yet to dig out of the massive, nearly unprecedented hole created by the 2007-08 financial crisis, it has certainly turned around. The economy was hemorrhaging nearly a million jobs each month when President Bush handed over to Obama, and today the economy has been adding jobs for 30 months – two and a half years straight. Just as the ad’s depiction of the recent past is inaccurate, its insinuations about our immediate future are not supported by the evidence.

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Rep. Southerland: President Obama “Believes In Redistribution, And I Think That Is Evil”

From an interview Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL) gave to Newsmax:

SOUTHERLAND: What I believe the governor was trying to get across, as I listened to his video, is that we want a system of earned success where people are rewarded for their effort, they’re rewarded for their merit, they’re rewarded for their sacrifice and their hard work. And I think that that is clearly the fairest system ever known by mankind. Not a system where we have, you know, economic— we talk about economic fairness, where the government determines fair. I think what is more fair, and what is more moral, than a system of earned success? And I think that’s what the governor was alluding to. And clearly, Barack Obama, and you look at his body of work, he does not believe in that. He believes in redistribution, and I think that is evil, and I think it is wrong. And I think it’s glaring that he’s now getting more bold with his statements, because I think he knows there’s a great chance he could lose this election.

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