The following is a transcript of WFTV political analyst Dr. Rick Foglesong’s “Reality Check” segment that aired on Channel 9 on July 5, 2012.
Political ads come in two forms: Candidate ads and third party ads. In the former, we know who funded them and whether the candidate approved them. With third-party ads, we don’t know these things, and they are predictably more negative.
I assessed one such ad attacking democratic U.S Sen. Bill Nelson. The ad was sponsored by the group Americans for Prosperity, run by the conservative Koch brothers from Kansas, who are oil and gas billionaires.
The ad uses the theme, “Stop the spending.” Its main claims against Nelson are these:
Was the $800 billion stimulus plan, in fact, wasteful spending? Not according to the nonpartisan congressional budget office. It says the stimulus boosted employment by somewhere between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs, compared with what employment would have been otherwise.
Likewise, is the President Barack Obama health care plan wasteful spending? Again, not according to the Congressional Budget Office. By 2021, the CBO says, Obama’s plan will increase the number of Americans with health insurance by about 34 million, while cutting the federal budget deficit an estimated $210 billion.
Although the CBO findings amount to estimates, they are at least based on thoughtful research by experts with no political leaning or agenda. The same cannot always be said for third-party ads. And viewers should take notice.