Karl Roves' American Crossroads super PAC began airing a new ad in Virginia Wednesday attacking former Gov. and Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Tim Kaine.
The 34-second ad, which will air for two weeks at a cost of $1.6 million, goes after Kaine for being a self-serving politician for taking over as head of the Democratic National Committee at President Barack Obama's request during his last year as governor. The ad contends that Kaine was motivated more by personal ambition than what was good for Virginia.
“Tim Kaine is an unfortunate example of what’s wrong in Washington – politicians who put their own personal agendas ahead of the people they represent,” said Nate Hodson, American Crossroads director of state and regional media relations. “We can’t fix the broken economy and national debt by electing a self-serving liberal politician like Tim Kaine who is more concerned with advancing his own partisan career than representing Virginians.”
Not so fast, says the Kaine campaign, which points out that American Crossroads two previous ads against the former governor have been "debunked and criticized" by newspapers, editorial boards and fact checkers.
In the first ad that ran last November, American Crossroads claimed that under Kaine Virginia had "a big deficit." The Associated Press and others called this claim "erroneous" because Virginia, like most other states, are required by state law to have a balanced budget - i.e. deficit spending is not allowed.
"Another day, another false attack ad by Karl Rove to help bail out George Allen's campaign," said Kaine campaign communications director Brandi Hoffine. "Both Tim Kaine and George Allen have served in party leadership posts, but there's a big difference. As Governor, Tim Kaine put partisanship aside, and worked together with Republicans to find common ground. The result? At the end of his term, Virginia was ranked as best state for business four years in a row, best managed state, best state in which to raise a child, attracted numerous Fortune 500 companies, had a significantly lower unemployment rate than the national average, and made major investments in higher education. As Senator, George Allen toed the party line, turning a record surplus into a massive deficit, voting against pay-as-you-go legislation and supporting the policies that led to near economic collapse. So, this is a debate we're happy to have any day."
One of the biggest false claims the latest American Crossroads ad contains is that Kaine supported $500 million in spending cuts to Medicare under Obama's Affordable Care Act, which has become a major GOP talking point. It was even used against Kaine by state Del. Mike Watson, R-Williamsburg, in a response to a Kaine visit to WIlliamsburg a couple of weeks back to discuss Social Security and Medicare with a gorup of senior citizens.
PolitiFact has determined that the Affordable Care Act, refered to by many Republicans as "Obamacare," does not cut Medicare, but attempts to control the growth in future federal spending on the program.
Another interesting tidbit in the ad is the underlying asserstion that Kaine shouldn't have taken the job as DNC chair while serving as governor.
But he's not the first recent sitting Virginia governor to head a national party. In 2000 President-elect George W. Bush asked Gov. Jim Gilmore to head the Republican National Committee.
Many media outlets at the time wrote pieces that showed Rove himself was the actng force behind Gilmore's appointment.
As the New York Times reported on Feb. 18, 2001:
“As part of his broader political portfolio, Mr. Rove essentially controls the Republican National Committee. It was at his behest that Mr. Bush installed Gov. James S. Gilmore III of Virginia as the party chairman. ‘Karl called and said, “We think it would be a good thing to do if you'd like to do it,”’ Mr. Gilmore recalled.”