Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Enquirer Exposes Chabot's New Misleading Ad - Gameshow

From the Enquirer:

Looking at Cranley's 'Game Show'
Ad Watch
BY GREGORY KORTE | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
ABOUT THE AD

"Game Show," a 30-second ad from the National Republican Campaign Committee for the 1st Congressional district race between Republican incumbent Steve Chabot and Democrat John Cranley. The ad started running Tuesday.

SCRIPT

Announcer: "Who was the biggest spender on City Council? The Cincinnati Enquirer says John Cranley. Cranley 'spent the most' and had the council's highest payroll. And with that record of spending our tax dollars, it's no surprise John Cranley voted in support of higher taxes and tax rates eight times. After all, somebody has to pay for Cranley's big spending. And John Cranley seems to think it should be you. The National Republican Congressional Committee paid for and is responsible for the content of this message."

STRATEGY

It's a tried-and-true page from the Republican playbook, painting Democrats as profligate spenders and tax-hiking liberals. Cranley, a Democratic Cincinnati councilman, is challenging incumbent Republican Steve Chabot for Congress.

FACT CHECK

The "biggest spender" claim is an accurate representation of a 2003 Enquirer story, "Council Members Cut Budgets, But Not Their Own." The previous year, Cranley spent $98,393 on his council office, ranking him first among the council nine. Most of that went to payroll; Cranley had three full-time employees when most members had only two. All the council offices combined account for about 0.1 percent of the city budget.

Chabot, by comparison, has the second-highest payroll in the region's six-member House delegation, with a projected $935,519 annual payroll, according to first-quarter salary data obtained by Legistorm, a non-partisan provider of congressional information.

The claim that Cranley voted to raise taxes eight times is less tenable. Of the eight votes cited in the GOP ad, two were on resolutions expressing the city's opposition to state tax policies, three were non-binding votes asking future City Councils to reduce taxes (including one proposal counted twice - once when Republicans proposed it and again when the city manager wrote a report saying it was a bad idea), and one was an objection to an Over-the-Rhine liquor license - which had nothing to do with taxes or spending.

That leaves only two votes on ordinances to raise taxes, both in 2002: a 37 percent increase in the hotel tax (a tax the hotel industry actively lobbied for in order to expand the convention center), and the application of the city's earnings tax to visiting athletes and entertainers (known as the "jock tax").

RESPONSE

"It's another false, misleading, and hypocritical ad paid for by Chabot's Washington friends to deflect attention from their fiscal failures," the Cranley campaign said in a written statement. "The fact is, while Chabot and the Republican-controlled Congress turned record surpluses to record deficits in Washington, Finance Chairman Cranley turned multi-million-dollar deficits into balanced budgets, held the line on city spending, and cut property tax rates for five consecutive years with bipartisan support."

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