“Ad Watch” is an ongoing series that examines and fact-checks current TV campaign ads in Montana. Today, it looks at a new ad from the campaign of U.S. Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont. The ad is the first from Walsh to attack U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, the Republican front-runner for Walsh’s Senate seat.
Four other candidates are running for the seat: Democrats John Bohlinger and Dirk Adams, and Republicans Champ Edmunds and Susan Cundiff.
This 30-second spot by Democratic U.S. Sen. John Walsh began airing on Montana TV stations this week.
Script: Walsh: “I’m John Walsh, and I approved this message”
Narrator: “Congressman Daines has gotten comfortable with Washington double-speak. He attacks John Walsh, but his ad fails to mention that Daines himself has voted twice to increase the debt ceiling. More jobs? Daines worked for years in China, helping an American company build factories there, at the same time Daines’ company was firing thousands of American workers here. Congressman Daines, some free advice: Montanans don’t trust dishonest politicians.”
Analysis: This ad cites two examples that allegedly show Daines has somehow misled voters on two issues: Debt-ceiling votes and his business track record. Whether these examples amount to “double-speak” is certainly open to interpretation. Here are the facts behind these claims:
Daines criticized Walsh for voting in February to raise the federal debt ceiling, extending it until March 2015, without any strings attached — a vote that Walsh did cast (while Daines voted “no”). It’s also true that an earlier Daines TV ad including this criticism did not mention that Daines has voted twice to increase the debt ceiling. Daines says his votes to increase the debt ceiling in 2013 were linked with efforts to reform spending.
His January 2013 vote to raise the debt ceiling for five months was tied to bill requiring Congress to pass a budget before members would get paid. His October 2013 vote ended the 16-day shutdown of the federal government and raised the debt ceiling until February, with Senate and House leaders promising to attempt to work out a longer-range spending plan.
The second example refers to Daines’ employment with consumer-products giant Proctor & Gamble. In the early 1990s, Daines worked as a manager for P&G in China, helping oversee the marketing of P&G products in Southeast Asia and the opening of factories in China to serve those new markets. At the same time, in 1993, P&G announced a corporate-wide restructuring that would cut 4,000 jobs in the United States. The company said it hoped most of the job reductions would be through attrition, transfers and early retirements.
Daines, a 30-year-old mid-level manager in China, wasn’t involved in the executive decision-making at corporate headquarters in Cincinnati. Former P&G CEO Robert McDonald also said in 2010 that the corporation’s expansion into China has supported U.S.-based jobs in the company — although the company’s U.S. workforce
is still several thousand people smaller than it was in 1993.
— Mike Dennison
Gazette State Bureau