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Leading up to the November election, 7NEWS and TheDenverChannel.com will check the accuracy of political ads.Do the ads contain facts or fiction?7NEWS checked the "facts or fiction" of a political ad paid for by Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies. It attacks the financial implications of Sen. Michael Bennet's, D-Colo., voting record. The ad is entitled: "Bennet Calendar."First, you need to know what Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies stands for. It's a non-profit organization that doesn't have to disclose who contributes. One of its founders is former President Bush advisor Karl Rove. Based on its website, Crossroads GPS is a conservative group, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising against six Democratic Senate candidates: Bennet, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., current Kentucky attorney general Jack Conway, Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. and current Missouri secretary of state Robin Carnahan.According to its website: "Crossroads GPS is dedicated to the belief that most Americans dont support the big-government agenda being forced upon them by Washington -- and that most people, if equipped with the facts and a road map for action, will work to restore the core principles and values on which this country was founded."AD: "Michael Bennet's spending spree; since his appointment, Bennet has voted to spend $2.5 billion every single day." (Fine print: "U.S. Senate records, through 8/5/10.")FACT, BUT MISLEADING. Bennet was sworn-in on Jan. 22, 2009. There have 560 days between then and the day noted on the bottom of the screen (8/5/10). If you add up the dollars in the next part of the ad, which in part, refer to the stimulus bill, spending for military in Iraq and Afghanistan and cash for clunkers, it adds up to $1.305 trillion. If you divide $1.305 trillion by 560 days in office, you get $2.33 billion. While Bennet never approved one bill that approved the spending of $2.33 billion each day, the collection of bills he's supported breaks down to that much.
AD: "Spending billions of your tax dollars on everything, from the failed stimulus, billions in government pork, even cash for clunkers."FACT: As stated above, Bennet voted in favor of bills that cost billions of tax dollars. However, the statement makes an OPINION that the stimulus failed.There is a variety of fine print at this part of the political ad. The first visual claim is that Bennet "Spent $787 billion" on Feb. 13, 2009 (fine print: H.R. 1, Roll Call Vote #64, 2/13/09). H.R. 1 is the stimulus bill. The final cost was $787 billion.Bennet did sponsor an amendment to spend the money paid back from the stimulus to pay down the deficit and not on more spending. That legislation would have reduced the cost of the stimulus by $150 billion.The second visual claim is that Bennet "Spent $410 Billion" on March 10, 2009 (fine print: H.R. 1105, Roll Call Vote #96, 3/10/09). This bill dealt with appropriations money for government, such as the departments of the Interior, Water, Labor, etc., as well as funding for the Department of Defense and the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.The next visual claim is that Bennet "Spent $106 Billion" on June 18, 2009 (fine print: H.R. 2346, Roll Call Vote #210 6/18/09). The piece of legislation added money to the budget through Sept. 2009. It also provided funding for Cash for Clunkers, the program that allowed drivers a federal rebate for trading in your junker vehicle.The final visual claim of this section stated that Bennet "Spent $2 Billion" on Aug. 6, 2009 (fine print: H.R. 3435, Roll Call Vote #270 8/6/09). This bill was to provide additional funding to extend the Cash for Clunkers program.
AD: "And to pay for some of it. Bennet voted twice in 35 days to increase the national debt." The visual claims at this part of the ad shows that Bennet voted for $290 billion on Dec. 24, 2009: "Voted to Increase Debt" (fine print: H.R. 4314, Vote #397, 12/24/09). The second claim shows that Bennet voted for $1.9 trillion on Jan. 28, 2010: "Increased Debt Again" (fine print: H.J. Res 45, Vote #13, 1/28/10).
FACT: H.R. 4314 was to allow continued financing of government operations. Essentially, the bill kept the government running, but required the approval of increasing the public debt from $12.104 trillion to $12.394 trillion. That vote was in Dec. 2009, then the next month, Bennet voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 45, the "Pay As You Go Act," which raised the limit of public debt from $12.394 trillion to $14.294 trillion.
AD: "Bennet's way? Spend more. Borrow more. And then raise our taxes." There are three visual references at this point:1. March 10, 2010 "Spent $34 Billion" (fine print, H.R. 4213, Roll Call Vote #48, 3/10/10).In part, this piece of legislation extended unemployment benefits.2. March 17, 2010 "Spent $18 Billion" (fine print - H.R. 2847, Roll Call Vote #66, 3/17/10).This bill provided tax credits to certain employers, who hired or retained employees in 2010, but only if those employees met specific criteria.3. May 27, 2010 "Spent $58.8 Billion" (fine print: - H.R. 4899, Roll Call Vote #176, 5/27/10).This legislation is for emergency funding to add to the budget for 2010.
AD: "Michael Bennet's spending spree; Call Senator Bennet; stop the spending." (Fine print: "Paid for by Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies"). The video shows the text, "Vote No on S. Amdt. 4594, Call: (866) 455-9866."
OPINION As stated at the beginning of the article, Crossroads GPS is a conservative group that has paid for attack ads against six Democratic candidates nationwide. S. Amdt. stands for Senate amendment 4594, which would allow for greater availability to credit for small businesses. The phone number on screen is Bennet's Senate office.