In WSJ op-ed, Rove misled about Obama ad

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Karl Rove stated that an ad for Barack Obama "says he was raised with 'values straight from the Kansas heartland,' though he grew up in Hawaii." But Obama does not suggest in the ad that he was raised in Kansas; rather, he explicitly notes his mother and grandparents "grew up" there. Rove also asserted that Obama claims in the ad "to have passed three bills, but fails to mention that two were in the Illinois state Senate." However, Obama does not suggest that the bills referenced in the ad were passed by the U.S. Senate, and the ad displays the years in which the bills were passed.

In a July 3 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Fox News contributor Karl Rove wrote that Sen. Barack Obama's "ads show he's aware of his vulnerability on two fronts: his liberal values and his meager achievements. Yet he should be more cautious with these weaknesses. His bio ad says he was raised with 'values straight from the Kansas heartland,' though he grew up in Hawaii." However, in the ad, Obama does not in any way suggest that he was raised in Kansas; rather, he explicitly refers to his upbringing by his mother and grandparents, who he notes "grew up" in Kansas. Obama stated: "I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents. We didn't have much money, but they taught me values straight from the Kansas heartland where they grew up" [emphasis added]. Further, Rove wrote that Obama "claims to have passed three bills, but fails to mention that two were in the Illinois state Senate." Yet Obama does not suggest that the bills he references in the ad were passed by the U.S. Senate. To the contrary, the ad displays the dates the bills were passed, which were both well before Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate.

In Obama's bio ad, "The Country I Love," Obama states of his mother and grandparents:

OBAMA: I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents. We didn't have much money, but they taught me values straight from the Kansas heartland where they grew up. Accountability and self-reliance. Love of country. Working hard without making excuses. Treating your neighbor as you'd like to be treated. It's what guided me as I worked my way up, taking jobs and loans to make it through college.

A Kansas City Star article stated that Obama's "maternal grandfather, Stanley Dunham, attended El Dorado high school [in El Dorado, Kansas] and married the candidate's grandmother, Madelyn Payne, a young woman from nearby Augusta, in the 1930s. Dunham would go on to serve in World War II while his wife worked on a defense assembly line. She gave birth to Obama's mother at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. They later moved to Hawaii, where their daughter would marry Kenyan Barack Obama Sr. -- who lead a largely absentee life in the future presidential candidate's upbringing."

While Rove wrote that Obama "claims to have passed three bills, but fails to mention that two were in the Illinois state Senate," on-screen text in the ad indicates that he helped pass those bills well before he joined the U.S. Senate in January 2005. In 1997, Obama was a main co-sponsor of the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (Illinois Public Act 90-0017). Text in Obama's ad states that he "Moved people from welfare to work." Underneath those words read the date "6/19/97." Additionally, Obama co-sponsored a bill that created the Illinois state earned income tax credit program for low-income individuals and families (Illinois Public Act 91-0700). Text in the ad states that Obama "cut taxes for working families." Underneath those words read the date "5/11/00."

From the ad:

Obama Ad

Obama Ad 2

From Rove's July 3 Wall Street Journal op-ed:

But early television may not be as smart as it appears. Is it wise for Mr. Obama to spend almost as much on ads in three weeks in July as he raised in May? His fund raising peaked in February. June's fund-raising numbers, due in mid-July, will show whether his current pace of spending can be sustained. And TV becomes less effective in a general election, since so much free media attention is focused on the presidential candidates, whose actions have a larger impact than ads.

Mr. Obama's ads show he's aware of his vulnerability on two fronts: his liberal values and his meager achievements. Yet he should be more cautious with these weaknesses. His bio ad says he was raised with "values straight from the Kansas heartland," though he grew up in Hawaii. He claims to have passed three bills, but fails to mention that two were in the Illinois state Senate and that he didn't vote on the third in the U.S. Senate. His new ad praises welfare reform, yet he opposed the legislation when a Republican Congress passed and President Clinton signed it.

Mr. Obama may be overreaching by running ads in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana, Nebraska, Montana, Alaska and North Dakota -- states Republicans won by comfortable margins in recent years. It would require a shift of between one-sixth and over one-quarter of the vote to win any of them. Shifts that large rarely happen.

Network/Outlet
Wall Street Journal
Person
Karl Rove
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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