Last week, Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS added to their barrage of false, negative ads with a new spot attacking Tim Kaine for ‘massive spending,' citing two examples. Let's set aside that Politifact and FactCheck.org have already ruled that both examples Crossroads cites are false, distorted claims. Because as it turns out, Crossroads seems to agree that their ad's claims are untrue. Yesterday, when the organization was pressed by Politifact on their back-up, a spokesman claimed the ad never intended to imply Governor Kaine supported these projects. Apparently voters are supposed to disregard the fact that their ad gives exactly that impression.
Kaine certainly was a supporter of the stimulus, but we wondered if he ever specifically supported the ants or statehouse projects listed in the Crossroads ad. Brandi Hoffine, a spokeswoman with the Kaine campaign said he did not.
Nate Hodson, a spokesman for Crossroads GPS said the ad is not claiming that Kaine lobbied for stimulus support for the ants funding or the Kansas statehouse renovations.
We’d love to hold Crossroads accountable for their distortions, but like Virginia voters, we don’t know who is funding these ads. That’s why Governor Kaine offered George Allen two deals in this race to limit the influence of secret money. While Governor Kaine will continue to run a positive campaign focused on sharing his strategies for economic growth, Allen is continuing to rely on secret donors to bail out his reelection campaign. It’s tough to blame him – with a record of fiscal irresponsibility that saddled Virginians with more debt and higher deficits, George Allen will be counting on all the help he can get from special interest groups he protected during his last six years in Washington.
See below for our original fact check on this ad.
CROSSROADS CLAIM: Tim Kaine left Virginia for Washington and was a cheerleader for massive spending.
REALITY: Tim Kaine served a full four years as governor and helped make Virginia the Best State for Business all four years while cutting more than $5 billion in spending.
AP: Kaine Cut Nearly $6 Billion And Balanced The Budget. The Associated Press reported, “While the recession depleted revenues, Kaine and the General Assembly cut nearly $6 billion and never finished a fiscal year with insufficient funds…” [Associated Press, 11/10/11]
Forbes Ranked Virginia “Best State For Business” For All Four Years Of Kaine’s Term. The Virginian-Pilot reported, “Forbes.com has ranked Virginia the ‘best state for business’ for the fourth consecutive year, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's office said Wednesday.” [The Virginian-Pilot, 9/24/09]
Virginia Was Named Top State For Business By CNBC In 2007 And 2009. [CNBC.com, 2007, 2009]
• CNBC: Virginia “Has What It Takes” To Emerge From “An Economy Turned Upside Down.”CNBC reported, “It has been a year of seismic shifts in American business and in the competitive landscape. An economy turned upside-down. What state has what it takes to emerge from all that? America's top state for business 2009, Virginia.” [CNBC, Street Signs, 7/23/09]
Virginia Was Graded Best Managed State According To Governing Magazine. PolitiFact reported, “We wondered if Kaine had his facts right. We turned to Governing magazine. Since 1999, it has been publishing a report by the non-partisan Pew Center on the States that grades each state on the strength of its management. Under Kaine in 2008, Virginia was one of three states to earn an ‘A-’ grade, topping the rankings…” [PolitiFact Virginia, 4/7/11]
2009 Pew Study Praised Virginia Budgeting During The Recession, Saying Virginia Was “Better Positioned To Weather Bad Times.” The Pew Center on the States issued a report in February 2009 titled, "Trade-off Time: How Four States Continue to Deliver," which praised Virginia as one of four states leading the nation in making wise budget decisions during the recession. The report specifically praised Virginia Performs -- a program created by Governor Mark Warner and expanded by Governor Kaine -- for allowing Virginia “to systematically tackle the state’s budget crisis and increase agency productivity.” As a result of Virginia’s budgeting and management practices, the report stated that the Commonwealth "will be better positioned to weather bad times.” [Trade-off Time: How Four States Continue To Deliver, The Pew Center On The States, 2/11/09]
Washington Post: “During Most Severe Economic Downturn Since The 1930s,” Kaine’s “Performance Did The State Proud.”In an editorial, the Washington Post reported, During his four-year term as Governor, “Mr. Kaine's formidable talents, intellectual, political and otherwise, were put to the test” by “the most severe economic downturn since the 1930s.” According to the Post, “Mr. Kaine rose to the occasion. . . . And even in cutting hundreds of jobs and $7 billion from the state's budget, he did so with an eye to preserving the safety net for its most vulnerable citizens. Virginia's financial and budgetary travails have been no worse than those of other states, but its future is almost certainly brighter than most. His performance did the state proud.” [The Washington Post, 1/10/10]
REALITY: George Allen is the true expert in massive spending.
Allen Took America's Largest Budget Surplus And Turned It Into A Massive Federal Deficit. The Washington Post reported, “When Bush took office in January 2001, the government was forecasting a $5.6 trillion budget surplus between then and 2011.” As CNN put it: “[T]he federal budget surplus for fiscal year 2000 amounted to at least $230 billion, making it the largest in U.S. history.” The Washington Post continued, “Instead, it is now expecting to accumulate an extra $3 trillion in debt -- including a record $415 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.” [CNN, 9/27/2000; Washington Post, 10/8/04]
Allen Helped Turn A Surplus Into A Deficit In His Very First Full Fiscal Year In The Senate. [Office of Management And Budget, Historical Data]
PolitiFact: As Governor, Allen Increased Spending Over 40 Percent; His Claim That He Reined In Spending Rated “False.”In September 2011, PolitiFact Virginia wrote, “Allen endorsed $6 billion in additional spending when he was governor -- a 40.7 percent increase. But looking at overall spending may be unfair. Slightly more than half of outlays during Allen’s years came from the non-general fund, over which a governor has limited control. The fund consists of earmarked revenues such as college tuition and federal highway grants. A better gauge comes from examining the general fund, which supports public education, health programs and public safety. It’s mostly supported by state income and sales taxes. The general fund was almost $6.8 billion when Allen took office. At the end of his term, he proposed a $9.9 billion general fund budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1998. That means Allen endorsed $3.1 billion in additional general fund spending when he was governor -- a 45.6.percent rise. . . . Our ruling: Allen takes credit for ‘reining in state spending’ when he was governor. . . . We rate the statement False.” [PolitiFact Virginia, 9/12/11]
CROSSROADS CLAIM: "But it actually wasted money studying ants in Africa."
REALITY: Politifact already rated this claim Mostly False last time Crossroads tried it.
PolitiFact Has Already Rated Crossroads GPS’s Claims On Ants “Mostly False.” [PolitiFact NH9/29/10]
REALITY: Tim Kaine has never voted for a Washington earmark while George Allen voted for more than 50,000 earmarks in Washington.
Allen Had An “Appropriations Request” Button On His Senate Website. According to Government Executive Magazine, Allen had an “Appropriations Request” button on his website. [Government Executive Magazine, 5/1/06]
March 2006: Allen Said, “Every Single Earmark I’ve Gotten, I’m Proud Of;” Allen Said Legislators Who Attach Earmarks Should Be Identified.PolitiFact reported, “Allen clearly sought pork for Virginia. ‘Every single earmark I’ve gotten, I’m proud of,’ he told a town hall meeting in Chesterfield County on March 20, 2006, according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch article. Allen said then that legislators who attach earmarks to appropriations bills should be identified.” [PolitiFact, 4/18/12]
A Few Months Later, Allen Refused To Identify Earmarks He Requested In Fiscal 2006. PolitiFact reported, “A few months later, Allen and other members of Virginia's congressional delegation refused cooperate with a Times-Dispatch reporter’s request to identify the earmarks they requested during fiscal 2006.” [PolitiFact, 4/18/12]
Allen Voted For Budgets That Contained 52,319 Earmarks Worth $121.8 Billion. PolitiFact reported, “Allen, as a senator, voted on the budgets from fiscal years 2002 to 2006. The 2007 budget did not pass until the end late January of that year, a few weeks after Allen left the Senate. He was defeated the previous fall by Democrat Jim Webb. The five budgets Allen voted on included 52,319 earmarks valued at $121.8 billion, according to the Citizens Against Government Waste. Hansen said that Radtke’s campaign, seeking to be conservative in its claim, chopped off about 25 percent the Citizens’ numbers and estimated Allen voted for 40,000 earmarks valued at $90 billion.” [Politifact Virginia,4/18/12]
Allen Voted For An $800,000 Project Involving Red Imported Fire Ants In Mississippi. [Citizens Against Government Waste, 2002 Pig Book; Vote 339, 11/15/01]
Allen Voted For $1,300,000 For “Berry Research” In Alaska. [Citizens Against Government Waste, 2006 Pig Book; Vote 282, 11/3/05]
Allen Voted For $1,000,000 For A “DNA Study Of Bears” In Montana. [Citizens Against Government Waste, 2003 Pig Book; Vote 34, 2/13/03]
CROSSROADS CLAIM: "Really…How? To upgrade politicians’ offices?"
REALITY: Politifact ruled this charge Mostly False. The funds mentioned were borrowed at a reduced interest rate by Kansas to finance a long planned renovation of the 140-year-old state house.
PolitiFact Has Already Rated Crossroads GPS’s Claims On Office Upgrades “Mostly False.”[PolitiFact NH 9/29/10]
REALITY: Kaine cut his executive office budget as governor and his own salary while George Allen voted to raise his pay four times.
Kaine Cut His Own Salary 5% And Announced Over $1.4 Million In Cuts To The Executive Office Budget. According to a press release from the Office of Governor Kaine, “Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced staff reductions and other spending cuts to the Executive office budget, including the Cabinet. The cuts total more than $900,000 for the remainder of fiscal year 2009 and increase to $1.4 million on an annual basis- or 10%- in fiscal year 2010. Combined with reductions made in October of 2007 and February of 2008, including a 5% reduction in the Governor's salary, budget cuts to the Governor's office budget now amount to more than $1.9 million annually. The resulting reductions in the personal residence budget total 10%. Last month, the Governor ordered his staff to scrub the budget for his office and the Governor's Mansion for items to eliminate. The directive was clear: No item was too small to cut.” [Office Of Governor Kaine Press Release, 10/8/08]
Jeff Schapiro: “By Giving Up Frills And Then Some, Kaine Is Cutting Spending Over The Next 21 Months In His Office And Those Of His Cabinet Secretaries.” Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote, “There'll be no hanging out around the water cooler at Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's office - because there won't be a water cooler. By giving up frills and then some, Kaine is cutting spending over the next 21 months in his office and those of his Cabinet secretaries, and at the Executive Mansion, by $1.4 million. Because of the sagging economy, Kaine previously trimmed his budget $667,000. That included a voluntary 5 percent cut in his $175,000-a-year salary. His office budget is $4.9 million. Eight jobs have been eliminated, but only two workers have been laid off. The other jobs were vacant. Kaine and the Cabinet have a combined staff of 110. Other cutbacks include dropping water-cooler and coffee service, weekday subscriptions to two daily newspapers, reduced cell phone service for staff and less travel by Kaine and first lady Anne Holton. Also, there will be less official entertainment, contributing to lower laundry bills and a reduction in the Executive Mansion grocery bill of almost 25 percent.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/9/08]
Four Times, Allen Voted To Give Himself A Pay Raise. Since 2001, Allen has voted to give himself a pay raise at least four times. [Vote 406, 10/23/03; Vote 410, 10/23/03; AP, 10/23/03; Vote 242, 11/13/02; AP, 11/13/02; Vote 360,12/7/01]
CROSSROADS CLAIM: Stimulus failed miserably.
REALITY: Bob McDonnell and other Republicans have admitted the Recovery Act helped avert massive shortfalls in state budgets.
McDonnell Said Stimulus Helped Us In The Short Run And Said President Obama Deserved Some Credit. The Washington Post reported, “Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) wandered off script somewhat Sunday as a surrogate for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, conceding that President Obama’s stimulus measures helped his state weather the economic crisis. . . . ‘Did it help us in the short run with health care and education and spending to balance the budget? Sure,’ . . . During his CNN appearance, when asked whether Obama deserved ‘just a tiny bit of credit’ for helping the economy, McDonnell said: ‘Well, sure. I think there are national policies that have had some impact.’” [The Washington Post, 6/3/12]
REALITY: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stemmed the tide of job losses, created 3.3 million jobs, and pulled the country back from the economic collapse George Allen helped create.
U.S. Has Created More Jobs In Last Two Years, Than Were Created In The Entire Time Allen Was In The U.S. Senate.The U.S. has added more private sector jobs in the last two years – 3.9 million -- than were added during Allen’s entire tenure in the Senate. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]
Washington Post: “CBO’s Own Analysis Found That The Package Added As Many As 3.3 Million Jobs To The Economy.” Reporting on the congressional testimony of CBO Director, Douglas Elmendorf, the Washington Post reported, “CBO’s own analysis found that the package added as many as 3.3 million jobs to the economy during the second quarter of 2010, and may have prevented the nation from lapsing back into recession.” [Washington Post, 6/6/12]
CBO Director “Emphatic About The Value Of The 2009 Stimulus;” 80 Percent Of Economists Agree That Stimulus Lowered Unemployment. The Washington Post wrote, “Did the stimulus work? Certainly not according to Republicans, who regularly blast President Obama’s ‘failed’ economic policies on the campaign trail… But on Wednesday, under questioning from skeptical Republicans, the director of the nonpartisan (and widely respected) Congressional Budget Office was emphatic about the value of the 2009 stimulus. And, he said, the vast majority of economists agree. In a survey conducted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, 80 percent of economic experts agreed that, because of the stimulus, the U.S. unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been otherwise. ‘Only 4 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed,’ CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf told the House Budget Committee. ‘That,’ he added, ‘is a distinct minority.’” [Washington Post, 6/6/12]
PolitiFact: Stimulus Provided A Tax Cut For 95% Of Working Families. PolitiFact reported, “[W]e wanted to check Obama's statement that he cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. . . . Because the stimulus act did give that broad-based tax cut to workers, we rate Obama's statement True.” [PolitiFact, 1/27/10]