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GOP, Dems' ads take quotes out of context

By Derrick DePledge

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 09:32 p.m. HST, Oct 21, 2010



The Republican Governors Association released a new television ad yesterday that depicts Neil Abercrombie, the Democratic candidate for governor, as out of touch with Hawaii for voting to raise taxes and take from Social Security during his two decades in Congress.

"Neil Abercrombie says that people in Hawaii 'are not interested in how politicians will balance the budget,'" the ad states. "Really, Mr. Abercrombie? Maybe people in Washington don't care how you handled the federal budget ... by printing money, raising taxes and increasing the deficit. But in Hawaii, we do care."

The ad uses Abercrombie's statement in his recovery and reinvestment plan that people "are not interested in how politicians will balance the budget," but does not include what followed: "What they really want to know is how we will do the things we need to do with the budget we have."



"REALLY?"

» Paid for by: Republican Governors Association

» Where it's running: Local TV

» Claims: Uses a statement by former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie that people "are not interested in how politicians will balance the budget" to portray the Democrat as out of touch with Hawaii. Claims he handled the federal budget by "printing money, raising taxes and increasing the deficit." Refers to votes during his two decades in Congress to raise taxes and take from Social Security.

"KNOCKOUT PUNCH"

» Paid for by: Democratic Governors Association

» Where it's running: So far, online only

» Claims: Uses a statement by Lt. Gov. James Aiona that Hawaii could deliver a "knockout punch" in President Obama's home state to suggest that the Republican would be an obstacle to the president on job creation, health care reform and public education.

While Abercrombie did vote to raise taxes several times through 20 years in Congress, the Social Security claim is based on a 1999 vote against a Republican amendment to a $1.3 billion federal spending bill. The amendment was intended to prevent Social Security surpluses from being used to finance the spending bill. Most Democrats voted against the amendment, which failed.

"The people of Hawaii appreciate Neil Abercrombie's 35 years of service, but the way he handled the federal budget in Washington won't work in Hawaii," said RGA spokesman Chris Schrimpf.

Laurie Au, a spokeswoman for the Abercrombie campaign, said the former congressman has sought to protect Social Security benefits and has opposed Republican plans to privatize Social Security.

"The mainland Republican Party is a master at devising messages that distort facts and instill fear in voters," she said in a statement. "The people of Hawaii deserve better."

The RGA has been sponsoring ads to help Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona since August. The ads are not coordinated with the Aiona campaign.

The Democratic Governors Association, meanwhile, released its first ad to help Abercrombie. The spot, which was not coordinated with the Abercrombie campaign, takes a statement from Aiona that Hawaii could deliver a "knockout punch" in President Barack Obama's home state to suggest Aiona would be an obstacle to Obama's policy agenda.

"President Obama is working hard to create jobs, improve health care and educate our children," the ad states. "But what is Duke Aiona's plan? 'Knockout punch.' Really?"

Aiona made the comment at a fundraising event in Palo Alto, Calif., last year, telling donors of the symbolic value of Republicans retaining the governorship in Obama's home state.

While governors have some ability to challenge federal policies, the fate of Obama's agenda is determined more by Congress.

The ad is a recognition that the president is more popular here than in many states. A poll released yesterday for The Hill, a Washington, D.C., newspaper that covers Congress, had Obama's job approval in Hawaii at 64 percent.

Most polls have had Obama's national job approval rating in 40s.

"Our opponents' latest attack ad takes one line out of a speech about a balanced, two-party system in state government in a desperate attempt to avoid the fact that Neil Abercrombie wants to apply his Washington brand of politics and values to increase the cost of living here in Hawaii," said Aiona campaign spokesman Travis Taylor.






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