July 27, 2014
Bowling Green Daily News
When political candidates make a TV ad, they should have their facts straight.
Twice in U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’ first wave of ads, we have watched her run two blatantly untrue, misleading ads against her opponent, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.
In one ad, Grimes sits with a man identified as retired coal miner, Don Disney of Cloverlick, who looks into the camera as though he is speaking to McConnell and says, “I want to know how you could have voted to raise my Medicare costs by $6,000. How are my wife and I supposed to afford that?” Then Disney and Grimes pretend to wait for an answer.
The problem is the ad isn’t accurate. McConnell voted for a motion to proceed on the Ryan budget in 2011 regarding Medicare, which would have allowed it to the floor for further debate and amendments. It was not a vote on final passage. It was a preliminary vote that even the Washington Post wrote was “mostly symbolic” because it had no chance of succeeding in the Democratic Senate. The plan passed in the Republican-controlled House. The motion ultimately failed 57-40.
The second lie Grimes and her rookie campaign staff should have researched is that even if the bill passed, people such as Disney wouldn’t have been affected. The bill only applied to people 55 years or younger. Disney is 75 years old.
Many other major news outlets have called these assertions untrue as well.
The Washington Post Fact Checker called ads of this nature regarding Medicare “laughable” and “discredited” and have called on Democratic candidates such as Grimes to “drop the repeated Medicare references.” They also gave the Grimes claim their toughest rating of Four Pinocchios. The Washington Post also said this ad is as “phony as a three-dollar bill.”
The Hill out of Washington, D.C., says “similar claims in other Democratic ads have been debunked by independent fact-checkers.”
WHAS calls the Grimes ad misleading. It also cites that the proposed changes in the Ryan budget would not have applied to current retirees such as Disney.
The Lexington Herald-Leader called Grimes a “throwback to (President) Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.”
The Associated Press said “Don Disney would see no changes,” and the AP also stated McConnell didn’t cast the vote the Grimes ad attacks him for. They also called her ad claim “shaky.”
These are all credible news sources. Some are more aligned with liberal views, but they did their research on Grimes and Mr. Disney’s claims and rightfully called her campaign out for making these false claims. Grimes said she stands by the ad.
In standing by the ad, Grimes is telling Kentuckians the ad is correct. This has all the makings of a rookie campaign operation.
It’s also worth noting that when Grimes was asked by Pure Politics what plan she would like to see to shore up the Medicare program for future generations, Grimes moved on to another question. Another reporter from The Associated Press asked the same question as Grimes was leaving, but she didn’t respond then either.
Here we are a year into her campaign and less than four months to the election and she has no Medicare plan of her own.
Grimes’ second ad – which some news organizations, including ours, take issue with – inaccurately blames McConnell for 7,000 lost coal jobs. In the ad, unemployed coal miner David Stanley asks McConnell about comments McConnell made to The Beattyville Enterprise regarding bringing jobs to Kentucky. Stanley says, “Mr. McConnell, in the last two years, we’ve lost almost half of our coal jobs in eastern Kentucky. Why did you say it’s not your job to bring jobs to Kentucky?”
Bringing jobs to Kentucky is primarily a local and state responsibility. More important, the ad is untrue. McConnell didn’t cost eastern Kentucky those jobs.
This ad is laughable considering she is attending fundraisers with people such as U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who says “coal makes us sick.” Another of Grimes’ fundraising buddies is Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, who has called coal “the fuel from hell.” Let’s not forget about her friend, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who Grimes has brought to Kentucky. Warren is on record as being anti-coal. It should also be mentioned that many Hollywood liberals who are anti-coal have given the Grimes campaign the maximum contribution, including liberal activist and Obama supporter George Soros.
Grimes believes McConnell lost these jobs. Responsibility for what some have contended is a war on coal grows out of regulations via Obama’s EPA.
It is telling when the Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett says that it is “unfair and untrue to blame McConnell for the loss of coal jobs in eastern Kentucky. I can say with great confidence that Sen. McConnell and his staff have done everything they can to support Kentucky’s coal miners and coal production, but these efforts have been stopped at every turn in the United States Senate by Sen. Harry Reid, who currently sets the Senate’s agenda.”
Bissett said the senator and his staff are constantly asking the association what more they can do for them. Bissett is certainly in the best position to know who is helping the coal industry. He has made it clear McConnell is the one looking out for coal and the fault for these job losses lies with Reid and Obama, Grimes’ allies.
Reality Check has found that the “claim needs some clarification.”
WHAS reported Tuesday that, “And like Grimes’ first ad, the question itself is questionable.”
On Sept. 24, 2013, Joesph Gerth of The Courier-Journal wrote that McConnell has a long history of opposing regulations on coal mining. This was after Grimes tried to blame McConnell for Obama’s new anti-coal EPA regulations. Gerth wrote, “But McConnell, the highest-ranking Republican in the Senate, has a long history of opposing regulations on coal mining, and in fact, pushed for an amendment in 2011 that would have prohibited the EPA from issuing new rules on greenhouses gases.”
Louisville environmental activist Sarah Lynn Cunningham called Grimes’ attack on McConnell “laughable” and couldn’t think of a single time McConnell has sided against coal.
The ad has been rated half-true by Politifact and FactCheck.org stated last month it “couldn’t find any public statements from Grimes regarding coal prior to her announcing her Senate candidacy, nor did her campaign provide any when asked.”
Grimes’ pal Harry Reid is waging the war on coal, not McConnell. This year, Reid blocked McConnell from passing his Coal Country Production Act. McConnell asked for unanimous consent to pass his bill, SB 2414, which would require the administration to meet benchmarks before the EPA implemented a carbon reduction plan for power plants, but Reid objected.
Grimes promised the people of this state that when she went to Washington, D.C., to a fundraiser Reid attended that she was going to confront him about his war on coal. She broke her promise, and during an 11 minute speech didn’t even mention the issue.
She is being dishonest with voters.
Kentucky voters are intelligent. They see through these phony ads and the pattern of dodging questions. They also see the same people you hold fundraisers with in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York are the one’s waging the war on coal, not McConnell. These ads show a very inexperienced candidate who stands by these ads even after they’ve been discredited by various news organizations.
Alison Lundergan Grimes is certainly not ready for prime time.