The Week In Conservative Attack Ads

Including a stray late-Friday-afternoon spot that didn’t make it into our roundup from last week, Bridge Project fact-checked 10 conservative ads this week. Eight of those were from the usual players – the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which focused on House races, Crossroads GPS, which took on its usual Senate targets, and American Crossroads, with a presidential ad. The remaining two came from the National Rifle Association and American Unity PAC, more minor players on the electioneering ad scene.

Rhetorically, this week saw a heavy focus on supposed threats to small business jobs, with six of the ads mentioning small businesses specifically. But most of the conservative claims about “small business” rely on distortions – for example, the conservative definition of a small business often includes large corporations and wealthy individuals rather than the mom-and-pop businesses the term conjures for most people. And the health care law, often cited as a source of crippling new taxes on small business, actually offers tax credits that will help those small businesses provide their employees with health insurance.

Gunning For A Republican President


This week’s ad from the NRA, a $1.5 million buy the group says it’s airing in Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Wisconsin, is a citation- and fact-free attack on President Obama – although he’s not named in the version of the ad we saw. “They’re attacking our Second Amendment rights,” the ad warns, before urging viewers to vote for Romney, who signed an assault weapons ban as governor of Massachusetts. But despite the ad’s heavy hinting about the president’s hostility toward gun owners, Obama has affirmed the U.S.’ “strong tradition of gun ownership,” and the only gun laws he’s signed while in office have expanded gun owners’ carrying rights.

A Pro-LGBT Republican Super PAC Attacks A Pro-LGBT Candidate

American Unity PAC, a super PAC that has so far been a minor player in the election, rolled out an ad late last week hitting California House candidate Raul Ruiz. Launched earlier this year with funding from billionaire Paul Singer, the PAC’s unusual focus is on nudging Republican candidates with a good track record on LGBT issues towards full endorsement of marriage equality. But American Unity PAC’s anti-Ruiz ad doesn’t mention marriage, or any LGBT issue whatsoever. Instead, it peddles conservative talking points that mislead on the Affordable Care Act. Ruiz has voiced full support for marriage equality, while his Republican opponent, Rep. Mary Bono Mack, has stopped short of doing so.