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VIDEO REPORT: Testing the Truth of 9-11 Political Attack Ads

By: Rachelle Baillon Email
By: Rachelle Baillon Email

Thursday, October 25, 2012--6:15p.m.
MADISON--It may be a sign of just how close and contentious this U.S. Senate race is that the topic of 9-11 is now considered fair game for attack ads. "Tammy Baldwin had the opportunity to vote to honor the victims of 9-11 and she voted against it," reads the narrator in one ad for Tommy Thompson.

The ad isn't wrong: in fact, in September of 2006 Representative Baldwin did vote against a resolution recognizing the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks. But the document wasn't just about 9-11 victims: it also had a passage recognizing laws like the Patriot Act, among others.

Factcheck.org calls the Thompson ad out, saying the 2006 Capital Times article cited on screen--actually quotes the congresswoman as saying she voted against the resolution because it was endorsing the Patriot Act--and other things--that she said her constituents oppose.

The Baldwin camp released an ad of their own, defending the congresswoman's record: "Time and again Tammy Baldwin has supported honoring victims of 9-11," says a voice-over. That statement is actually true. We checked her voting history on the Library of Congress website, and Baldwin has supported 9-11 resolutions on several occasions.

However, her ad also goes on the attack against Thompson:
"He got a government contract to provide health care to 9-11 first responders but Tommy took advantage, leaving them without the care they were promised," the narrator reads. The 2008 USA Today article cited on screen does provide anecdotal evidence of some 9-11 recovery workers getting slower care from a company Thompson was president of. However, the article also quotes experts as saying there wasn't enough time for the handover. It also says things like strict privacy laws may have made it difficult to transfer patient information, which it says could have contributed to the situation.


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