ICYMI: New NRA ad "is a stretch to say the least" [Cincinnati Enquirer]

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Key Points:

  • “The theme of the ad -- that Strickland is out for power and money because he once embraced gun rights and has now backed away from those positions — is a stretch to say the least.”

  • “Portman voted against two measures along those lines, including a bipartisan bill to ban gun sales to roughly 109,000 people who are on two lists: The no-fly list, which prevents those individuals from boarding commercial planes flying to or from the United States; and a so-called “selectee list,” which triggers extra scrutiny at airports before flying.”

  • “It’s not accurate to call CAP a ‘radical anti-gun group.’”

Ad Watch: NRA says Strickland 'sold out'
Cincinnati Enquirer, Deirdre Shesgreen
July 1, 2016
http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/blogs/2016/07/01/ad-watch-nra-says-strickland-sold-out/86591806/

Another week in Ohio’s blockbuster Senate race brought another onslaught of TV ads from outside groups trying to influence the Buckeye State contest.

From now until Election Day, Politics Extra will be keeping track of the ad wars—trying to help readers figure out who is paying for the latest spots and provide context and fact-checking for the claims tossed around on TV.

This week, at least three groups swamped the airwaves in the contest between incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat. All three efforts target Strickland.

Freedom Partners Action Fund kicked off the week with a $2.7 million TV and digital ad buy in Ohio attacking Strickland. Freedom Partners is part of billionaire Charles Koch’s conservative political network.

On Wednesday, Fighting for Ohio Fund PAC launched a $1.5 million statewide broadcast and cable ad blitz against Strickland. Fighting for Ohio is a Super PAC created by a long-time Portman political adviser, Barry Bennett, and now run by other Portman allies.

The PAC can take and spend unlimited donations, and so far, campaign finance reports show the biggest donors include: Paul Singer, a New York hedge fund manager and billionaire GOP power broker, who donated $250,000; Kenneth Griffin, a Chicago-based hedge fund manager who donated $250,000; and Linda McMahon, a former World Wrestling Entertainment executive and failed Senate candidate, who gave $100,000.

At the end of the week came a doozy from the National Rifle Association. Here’s our analysis of that spot:

Ad title: “Power and Money”

Who is paying for it: The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action

How much is it costing: More than $1 million

Where it’s running: statewide on cable TV

Watch it yourself: http://qlnk.io/ql/577131a5e4b05a8f5ba81266

Script: “Some people want power. Others want money. Ted Strickland wants both. When he wanted power, he said the right things. Needed our votes. Even traded on our name to help anti-gun John Kerry. When he needed money, he sold out. Became president of a radical anti-gun group. His Words: ‘It was a dream job, paid me more money than I’ve ever made in my life.’ Ted Strickland; out for power, out for money, out…for himself.

Fact check: First, a little context: The NRA ad attacking Strickland comes after last month’s massacre at an Orlando night club, where a gunman proclaiming allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group killed 49 people. That sparked a contentious battle in Congress over gun control, specifically an effort by Democrats to bar some suspected terrorists on certain government watch lists from purchasing firearms.

Portman voted against two measures along those lines, including a bipartisan bill to ban gun sales to roughly 109,000 people who are on two lists: The no-fly list, which prevents those individuals from boarding commercial planes flying to or from the United States; and a so-called “selectee list,” which triggers extra scrutiny at airports before flying.

The NRA opposed that bill and another broader Democratic-authored proposal. In both cases, Portman supported Republican-crafted alternatives that would have set up a judicial review process to keep a person on a terror watch list from buying a gun. Strickland said he would have supported the stricter measures.

Now, is the ad true? The theme of the ad -- that Strickland is out for power and money because he once embraced gun rights and has now backed away from those positions — s a stretch to say the least. Plenty of lawmakers change their views on major issues, and there's no evidence that Strickland's shift was a money or power grab.

Let's parse it a bit more. “When he wanted power, he said the right things. Needed our votes. Even traded on our name to help anti-gun John Kerry.”

It’s true that Strickland once touted his A+ rating from NRA. He earned that score not just by saying "the right things,” but by voting with the NRA. When he was in Congress, for example, Strickland voted against a ban on semi-automatic weapons and opposed the Brady Bill, which required background checks for gun buyers and a five-day waiting period for purchases.

Now to this assertion: “When he needed money, he sold out. Became president of a radical anti-gun group.”

That’s a reference to Strickland’s role at the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based liberal advocacy group he worked for starting in March 2014.

It’s not accurate to call CAP a “radical anti-gun group.” First, the center works on a wide array of issues, from health care to immigration. It’s true the group has supported stricter gun-control measures, but it’s not the primary focus of the group’s work.

As evidence for its “radical” label, the NRA points to a December 2015 “Framework for Action” on the center’s website, a policy paper listing 28 ideas for reducing gun violence. One of the proposals calls for “monthly background checks to ensure continued eligibility for individuals who have been issued concealed-carry permits.”

On the polarizing issue of guns, that is certainly a controversial idea. But just as the NRA sees that as “radical,” many gun-control advocates see the NRA as extremist, particularly the group’s recent opposition to banning suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms.

###

For Immediate Release: July 1, 2016
Contact: David Bergstein or Liz Margolis, press@TedStrickland.com

Join Team Ted