The Week In Conservative Attack Ads

We checked 26 new attack ads in the last week, including a trio that appeared late last Friday afternoon. The heavy volume makes sense given that the campaign is entering the home stretch, and it was powered by 15 new U.S. Chamber of Commerce ads, all of them in House races. Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS (3 ads) and American Crossroads (2) combined to come in a distant second, and the remaining six came from the arch-conservative Club for Growth, the anti-immigration obsessives at NumbersUSA, the Iowa-based American Future Fund, Restore Our Future, and the abortion-focused Susan B. Anthony List’s new “Women Speak Out PAC.”

Jobs Data Invalidates Conservative Talking Points

A pair of new data points from the Bureau of Labor Statistics should curb two of the most common pieces of misdirection in ads about the economy. First, the September jobs report released today reported that the unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent. That isn’t just good news for the American economy, it’s good news for fans of honest politicking: It renders moot the talking points about how long the rate has been over 8 percent, which has been one of the primary ways conservative groups distract attention from the fact that a decade of their economic policies created the worst recession in 70 years.

Second, the BLS announced preliminary estimates of their annual benchmark revisions, to be finalized in February. Their historical jobs data for the year won’t be revised officially until the number is final, but they estimate the economy added 368,000 more overall jobs — and 453,000 more private-sector jobs — than previously thought in the year ending March 2012. Coupled with the 200,000 new jobs from today’s BLS report (counting revisions to the last two months), that means that President Obama has overseen a net gain in jobs, even if you count the first several months of 2009 against him (which conservative groups insist upon doing even though he inherited an economy that was in ongoing collapse from the financial crisis). The American Crossroads ad we checked this week should be the last time they can get away with pretending the president is responsible for the massive layoffs early in his term.

It’s also worth noting that at this same point in his first term, President Bush had overseen a net loss of 1.5 million private-sector jobs, while President Obama’s official private-sector net total is 514,000 gained— and if the benchmark revisions are accurate, he’s overseen just shy of a million private-sector job gains on net:


Chamber Of Commerce Gears Up

The 15 new Chamber ads we checked were all in House races, and nearly all focused on health care and taxes. Seven of them went after California Democrats, six targeted New Yorkers, and two were aimed at Illinois. According to the Chamber, the Affordable Care Act is going to destroy the economy with taxes, unless the Democrats do it first by ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest. Neither of these claims holds any water when you move past the scary voices and vague rhetoric and actually sift the facts. But it’s no surprise the Chamber would be so happy to mislead about the health care law — after all, it received $100 million from giant insurance companies in 2009-10 to fight against reform.