American Crossroads: “Backward”

President Obama’s opponents have spent more than three years blaming him for the economic mess the Bush administration left behind, but an ad from Karl Rove’s American Crossroads is particularly disingenuous. Taking aim at the Obama campaign’s slogan “Forward,” Crossroads cherry-picks several statistics to claim the country has moved “backward” under the president. However, the economic picture they paint only reflects the magnitude of the recession that started in late 2007, almost a year before Obama was elected. In addition to whitewashing the dismal Bush record, Crossroads conveniently ignores significant evidence of progress, such as the 4.5 million private-sector jobs added over 29 consecutive months of growth.

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Americans For Prosperity: “Wasteful Spending”

Cherry-picking details from news reports, Americans For Prosperity bills the Recovery Act as a wasteful boondoggle funneling money to foreign projects instead of creating American jobs. In reality, Recovery Act sustained millions of American jobs and boosted the economy, while a closer look reveals that AFP’s stories about stimulus money going to Mexico, Finland, and China quickly fall apart

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Crossroads GPS: “Hole”

Accusing Berkley of “voting for tax hikes” that will worsen Nevada’s high unemployment rate and struggling housing market, Crossroads GPS offers no evidence stronger than a pre-recession vote from 2007 on a never-enacted budget that proposed to let the Bush-era tax cuts expire. The ad also hits Berkley on a vote for a clean energy bill — the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also never enacted – which it claims would cost American families $1,600 a year. But that figure (as the very article Crossroads cites kindly explains) isn’t an estimate of ACES; it’s for a generic cap-and-trade program. CBO’s estimate for the actual legislation Berkley voted on was closer to $175 per household per year, and it found that the bill could actually save low-income households money. Finally, the ad blames Berkley for supporting a 2009 budget that supposedly “pushed deficits sky high,” a nonsensical accusation given that the deficit was already projected to skyrocket before President Obama took office thanks to a variety of Bush-era policies.

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Crossroads GPS: “Quote Leadership”

Crossroads GPS’ attacks Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) for supporting the “failed stimulus,” citing “19,000 jobs lost in Missouri since 2009.” However, a previous 2010 ad decrying “almost 100,000 Missouri jobs lost” undermines Crossroads’ case that Democratic policies are destroying jobs. In fact, the Recovery Act is responsible for millions of jobs nationwide, and Missouri’s unemployment rate has fallen by over 2 percentage points since the recession officially ended in June 2009. The ad’s other claims about “costly Obamacare,” prescription drug expenses, and federal deficits are similarly misleading.

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Crossroads GPS: “Balloon”

Crossroads GPS attacks President Obama and Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA) for supporting policies that inflated the debt. However, the Affordable Care Act will actually lower deficits, while the Recovery Act and auto bailout saved millions of jobs. In reality, the main drivers of our debt are Bush administration policies, including the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, and the massive recession that President Obama inherited upon taking office.

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