Monday, September 11, 2006

Fact Check On Bob Corker's Attack Ad

Bob Corker just can't tell the truth. Just like he did against his Republican counterparts Van Hilleary and Ed Bryant, Corker is now running negative attack ads lying about Congressman Ford and his record.

Here is what Corker's new lying ad says:

On Screen: Who’s he kidding?

Voiceover: Congressman Ford voted against reauthorizing the Patriot Act which protects us from terrorists.

On Screen: Congressman Ford Voted: Against the Patriot Act
Voiceover: He voted to cut defense spending by over 16%. Just who does he think is going to provide our security?

On Screen: Congressman Ford Voted: Cut Defense Spending 16%

Voiceover: And get this: Congressman Ford even voted to let liberal judges release felons from jail because of overcrowding.

On Screen: Congressman Ford Voted: Release Felons from Jail

Voiceover: Harold Ford. Ten years in Congress. Tennessee’s most liberal member.

On Screen: Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. Ten Years. Most Liberal.

Corker Voiceover: I’m Bob Corker and I’ve approved this message

Now for the facts:

FACT: Ford Opposed Own Party And Voted For Reauthorization Of The Patriot Act Currently On The Books.

  • Ford Voted To Make Patriot Act Permanent. Harold Ford, Jr. voted to make the Patriot Act Permanent. Congressman Ford voted against the majority of his own party to reauthorize the Patriot Act. The final reauthorization bill Congressman Ford supported included the national security provisions of previous piecemeal PATRIOT Act reauthorizations, and included significant improvements in protection of civil liberties for businesses, individuals, and libraries. [Vote 20, 3/7/06]

  • Congressional Quarterly reported on this vote, “House Republicans Tuesday stood behind a Senate-negotiated deal with the White House that enabled Congress to break a months-long impasse and reauthorize the 2001 anti-terrorism law.” [House Vote 20, 3/7/06; CQ Legal Affairs, 3/7/06]

  • Ford Voted For Original Patriot Act. Congressman Ford voted for PATRIOT Act of 2001 [Vote 398, 10/24/01]

FACT: Harold Ford Voted To Implement The Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, Something The Bush Administration Has Yet To Do.

  • Ford Voted For Bipartisan Terrorism Prevention Bill. Congressman Ford voted for the Conference Report of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, a bipartisan reform act that genuinely reformed the intelligence community, as well as the intelligence-related activities of the United States Government. [Vote 544, 12/7/04]

  • Ford Voted To Implement Recommendations Of 9/11 Commission. Congressman Ford voted YES on the Menendez Amendment to merge two bills endorsed by the 9/11 Commission. The amendment established a National Intelligence Director and made improvements in intelligence activities, modified laws relating to intelligence community management, established diplomatic means and provided foreign aid to combat terrorism, provided an integrated screening system and improved counter-terrorist travel intelligence, enhanced transportation security, and provided resources to improve national preparedness and assist local first responders. House Republicans, however, defeated those reforms in a strict party line vote. [Vote 510, 10/8/04]

FACT: Ford Voted For Strongest Defense Budget Offered During Debate.

  • Ford Voted To Add $15 Billion In Defense Spending. During the 2000 debate over the federal defense spending, which Corker cites in his ad, Congressman Ford actually voted for the strongest possible defense budget offered. Ford’s budget would have provided $15 billion MORE for defense spending than the defense budget that eventually passed. [Vote 72, 3/23/00]

FACT: Ford has been an Unwavering Supporter of the War on Terror and the Troops Fighting It.

  • Ford Voted For $5 Trillion In Defense Spending. Congressman Ford has supported over $5 trillion in funding for the Defense, Homeland Security, and intelligence agencies since 9/11 and introduced legislation to improve our efforts in the war on terror. He has supported every funding and appropriations bill requested by this Administration to fund the War on Terror. [H.R. 1559, 4/3/2003; H.R. 3289, 10/31/2003; H.R. 5122 05/11/06; H.R. 2863, 6/20/2005, Passed 398-19; H.R. 4613, 6/22/2004; H.R. 2360, 10/6/2005; H.R. 3673, 09/08/2005; H.R. 1815, 05/25/2005; H.R. 1817, 05/18/2005; H.R. 2360, 5/17/2005; H.R. 1268, 5/5/2005; H.R. 1268, 03/16/2005; H.R. 4567, 10/9/2004; H.R. 4200, 10/09/2004; H.R. 4567; H.R. 1588, 11/07/2003; H.R. 2658, 9/24/2003; H.R. 2555, 9/24/2003; H.R. 2555, 9/10/2003; H.R. 2555, 6/24/2003; H.R. 5010, 10/10/2002; H.R. 4547, 07/24/02; H.R. 4775, 7/23/2002, Passed 397-32; H.R. 1383, introduced 3/17/2005]

FACT: Ford Opposed Unconstitutional Bill Brought By Disgraced, Indicted DeLay.

  • Ford Opposed Unconstitutional DeLay Bill. The bill cited by Corker was a partisan gimmick pushed by disgraced and indicted former Congressman Tom DeLay. The bill was so blatantly unconstitutional that even the GOP Senate would not bring it to the floor for debate. [HR 3718, Introduced 4/23/98; CQ Weekly 5/23/98]

FACT: Ford A Strong Supporter Of Tough Sentencing Laws

  • Ford Voted For “Truth In Sentencing.” Congressman Ford supported a “Truth in Sentencing” amendment to provide additional funding to states to ensure that they would have the resources to keep murders, rapists and child molesters in jail for their full sentence. [Vote 212, 6/16/99]

  • Ford Supported Stronger Sentences For Violent Offenders. Ford voted to amend the federal sentencing guidelines enhance sentences for violent offenders by at least five levels above level previously provided if the crime was committed against a child. [Vote 214, 6/16/99]

  • Ford Voted To Require Felons Serve At Least 85% Of Sentence. Ford voted to support states that require convicted felons to serve at least 85% of their prison sentence and to encourage other state to adopt similar requirements. [Vote 339, 7/29/97]

FACT: Ford Fights Bush Administration To Keep Cops On The Street.

  • Congressman Ford has fought the Bush Administration’s attempts to cut COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services). “Ford said he questioned the administration's commitment to supporting programs that work, citing a 90 percent, or $477 million, cut to the community-oriented police, or COPS, program that has put 2,351 officers and sheriff's deputies on Tennessee streets.” [Memphis Commercial Appeal, 2/9/05]

  • Ford Repeatedly Votes In Defense Of COPS Program. Congressman Ford has repeatedly voted to fully fund the COPS program, despite efforts by the Bush Administration to gut it. [HR 1279, 5/11/05; HR 2670, 8/5/99; HR 2862, 6/14/05; HR 4754, 7/7/04; HR 2500, 7/17/01]

FACT: Independent Analysis Finds “Liberal” Attack Doesn’t Hold Water

  • WBIR Finds Last Corker Attack Ad Lacked Credibility. In the latest installment of its “Heart of the Matter” series, WBIR finds that Bob Corker’s latest attack ad lacks credibility. On Corker’s claim that Harold Ford Jr. is a liberal, WBIR notes that last year Ford “voted more conservatively than 92 percent of his fellow Democrats in the house.” [WBIR, 9/6/06]

  • Jackson Sun Says GOP Attacks Aren’t True; Ford Is “Moderate To Conservative.” The Jackson Sun notes that GOP attacks on Ford’s so-called “liberal” voting record are “an exaggeration.” “Ford is hardly a Nancy Pelosi liberal,” the Sun, writes. Instead, he is “more in the mold of another congressman from West Tennessee, John Tanner, D-Union City. He is, in fact, a moderate to conservative Democrat.” [Jackson Sun, Editorial, 3/5/06]

  • Daughtrey: GOP Attacks Are Wrong; Ford Is “Right Of Center.” Tennessean Columnist Larry Daughtrey writes, “The Republican strategy is painfully plain: Scream Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! clouding over a 10-year congressional record that is, in truth, a good deal right of center.” [Nashville Tennessean, 8/6/06]

FACT: Corker’s Own Source Labels Ford A Centrist; Independent Sources, Republicans Agree

  • National Journal Cites Ford As Example Of A Centrist. “These are the members at the ideological center of the Senate and the House, according to National Journal's 2005 vote ratings. The members with composite scores closest to 50 are at the exact center of each chamber [including] Harold Ford Jr.” [National Journal, 2/24/06]

  • Congress Daily: Ford A “Moderate.” “Ford, who is black, has compiled a moderate record and demonstrated an ability to appeal to votes across racial lines.” [Congress Daily, 8/5/05]

  • CQ: Ford “Clearly A Centrist.” Thee nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly notes, “in his ideas and voting record, Ford is much more clearly revealed to be a centrist. He is one of the few black members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of his party’s most fiscally conservative members, and also the pro-business New Democrat Coalition.” [CQ Weekly, 8/15/05]

  • CQ: Ford “In The Middle.” In their yearly profile of Members of Congress, CQ writes of Ford, “By both circumstance and political temperament, Ford is a man in the middle” [CQ Politics In America Profile, April 2005]

  • White House Press Secretary Tony Snow Says Ford Crosses The Aisle. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said, “Guys like Evan Bayh, guys like Joe Lieberman, Harold Ford on the House side, these are people who know how to reach -- cross both sides of the aisle. They're solid men.” [“The O’Reilly Factor,” 11/08/04]

  • Bryant: Ford Serves In “Bipartisan Fashion.” Conservative former Congressman Ed Bryant, who ran in the GOP primary, once noted, “Harold has really made an effort to reach out and serve in a bipartisan fashion.” [Memphis Commercial Appeal, 11/9/98]


  • Corker Called Public Safety The “Single Most Important Responsibility of Government.” During the mayoral campaign, Corker said, “Public safety is the single most important responsibility of government.” [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 2/25/01]

  • Corker Let Chattanooga Down With 911 Debacle, 31,000 Calls Went Unanswered. Shortly after the 2001 mayoral campaign, Corker made improving the city’s disastrous 911 system, and reducing its dropped call, rate a goal. Instead, Corker never allocated additional funds to hire 911 staff and fix the problem. As a result, unanswered calls rose from 8.8% in 2001 to nearly 14.9% in 2004 – an increase of 70%. By 2005, the problem was so bad almost 31,000 calls, or 16.9 percent, of all 911 calls made within city limits went unanswered – an increase of 92% from 2001. [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 3/30/06, 4/1/06; AP, 3/31/06]

  • Situation Only Deteriorated Under Corker. “According to a review of 911 call data by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the rate of unanswered calls rose from 8.8 percent of all 911 calls in 2001, the first year Mr. Corker was mayor, to 14.9 percent in 2004, his last full year as mayor.” [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 9/8/06]

  • Former Chattanooga Police Chief Linked 911 Problems To Corker. Earlier this year, former Chattanooga police chief Jimmy Dotson noted that he had repeatedly requested more communications officers from the Corker administration, only to be rebuffed. “I asked for communications officers in every budget, especially under the Corker administration, and each time it was denied,” Dotson said. “(We) spent many, many, many hours battling the Corker administration asking for communications officers.” [AP, 3/30/06; Chattanooga Times Free Press, 3/30/06]

  • Independent Report Confirms Corker’s Failures To Blame. Corker’s failure of leadership was confirmed last week by the Hamilton County 9-1-1 Board's release of an independent study that concluded that, for three straight years, Corker rejected police request for 16 additional personnel and that this “inadequate staffing” led to “inadequate 9-1-1 answer times and the inability to comply with NFPA standards” for being able to quickly dispatch emergency calls. [Maximus Consulting, 8/23/06]

  • Corker Forced Cuts In 911 Service, Despite Warning That “Service To Citizens Will Suffer.” According to a November 2004 report by Lt. Tara Pedigo, who has since retired from the Police Department, she was ordered to cut overtime and minimum shift manpower for the 9-1-1 response center. Pedigo warned that manpower per shift would be reduced from 13 to 9 or 10 employees per shift. “I expressed my concerns that the abandoned call rate will undoubtedly increase, service to citizens will suffer, and officer safety could be jeopardized,” Pedigo said. [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 7/27/06 and 8/25/06; Pedigo Email, 11/30/04]

  • Corker Cut Overtime by 90%. Corker cut police communications overtime 90% in December of 2004. [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 9/8/06]


  • WBIR Finds Last Corker Attack Ad Lacked Credibility. In the latest installment of its “Heart of the Matter” series, WBIR finds that Bob Corker’s latest attack ad lacks credibility. WBIR finds that Corker’s claims on the estate tax, Patriot Act and government spending are either misleading or lack context. As for the claim that Harold Ford Jr. is a liberal, WBIR notes last year Ford “voted more conservatively than 92 percent of his fellow Democrats in the house.” WBIR concludes, “The bottom line is that this ad spends most of its time campaigning against Democrats in general and has very little to say about Corker's position on the issues. It's mostly talking points with very little time spent on his race against Ford.” [WBIR, 9/6/06]

  • Tennessean: Corker Creating “Character Issue” By Sticking With False Claim. A Nashville Tennessean editorial read, “The Corker campaign turned what should have been a one-day story into a character issue by sticking with the flawed assertion even after it was exposed. Corker’s original ad claimed that both of his GOP opponents, Van Hilleary and Ed Bryant, voted while in Congress to increase their pay. That’s not true…. Corker should pull the ad and admit it is misleading. Otherwise, all the assertions in his campaign, regardless of how long it lasts, could draw not just scrutiny but skepticism.” [Nashville Tennessean, Editorial, 7/27/06]

  • McElroy: Corker’s “Lie” A “Twisted Manipulation Of Facts.” Knoxville News editor Jack McElroy slammed Corker’s false primary ads. “Truth be told,” he wrote, Corker’s “campaign ad does tell a lie…. Only by the most twisted manipulation of facts - and certainly not with a straight face - can [Corker’s] assertion be made.” Knoxville News Sentinel, 7/23/06]

  • Daughtrey: Corker’s Reputation “Shredded.” Nashville Tennessean columnist Larry Daughtrey noted that Corker’s “bogus” attack ads could cost him in the general election. ”The result [of Corker’s attacks] is that thousands of Republican dollars are being spent this week to label the likely Republican Senate nominee as a liar…. He looks like a nominee who will be dead broke and trying to restore a shredded reputation.” [Nashville Tennessean, Daughtrey Column, 7/30/06]

  • Annenberg Fact Check: Corker Ad “Nonsense,” “Grossly Misleading.” FactCheck.Org slammed Corker’s primary ad, calling it “nonsense” and “grossly misleading.” [Annenberg Fact Check, 7/28/06]

Why can't Bob just tell the truth.

Quit lying Bob!