Reality Check: Obama's 'we've heard it all before' ad



ORLANDO, Fla. - The following is a transcript of WFTV political analyst Dr. Rick Foglesong’s “Reality Check” segment that aired on Channel 9 on June 20, 2012.

Watch out. The ad wars have begun in the presidential race, and truth and fairness are at-risk.

An example is the, "We've heard it all before," ad from President Barack Obama’s campaign. You may have watched it on Channel 9, as it has aired throughout Florida and in swing states across the country.

As candidate for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Mitt Romney declared, "I know what it takes to create jobs," just as he's saying now. But it didn't work then, and it won't work now, according to the ad.

Is this rap against Romney fair?

No. It twists statistics to create a distorted view of the Romney record. By any fair assessment, things got marginally better in Massachusetts under Romney. Not a lot better, but a little better. About the same as the U.S. economy under Obama.

Consider the ad's main claims: 

Yes, Massachusetts ranked 47th in the nation in job creation under Gov. Romney. But that was a four-year average, and the state's ranking actually improved from 50th when he took office to 28th when he left.

Yes, Massachusetts lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs under Gov. Romney. But, that hemorrhage began long before he became governor and lessened on his watch. I could go on.

Here's the message: there are half-truths like those in this ad, and whole truths. In assessing the candidates, voters should strive for the whole truth. And attack ads aren't much help in that effort, because they mostly offer half-truths.