KUSA - Among the many early ads in Colorado's Senate race, one that recently launched stands out.
We've debunked attacks from the left and the right in recent Truth Tests, but Americans for Prosperity launched something new this cycle: a positive ad designed to boost Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) who is running for a seat in the US Senate.
9NEWS will hold those who run political ads on our networks accountable for what they say. You can find the entire collection of Truth Tests here: http://on9news.tv/1n55HYw. To learn more about how political ads and fact-checking work on 9NEWS, please read these answers to our common questions and comments.
TRUTH TEST: Ad spins issues to prop up Gardner. 9NEWS at 5 p.m. 05/16/14.
The AFP ad tells you to thank Congressman Gardner, presumably by electing him to replace Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado.)
AFP can't ask you to vote for Gardner in the ad, because it is technically an "issue" advertisement.
In this case the issue seems to be something like: "we could use more politicians like Cory Gardner."
CLAIM: "Colorado needs someone who looks out for our interests and stands up to Washington special interests."
You need to consider the source of a piece of rhetoric like this. This knock on special interests comes from a special interest.
It's a practice we've called out before when other dark money groups on the liberal side have played this same game.
The next thing this ad does is bring up one of AFP's interests, a specific project the group lobbies for.
CLAIM: Congressman Cory Gardner supports building the Keystone pipeline.
The claim is referencing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline expansion project.
Gardner supports the project and he's voted for it in Congress.
CLAIM: Keystone XL will create new, high paying energy jobs.
When we asked AFP about this claim. the group pointed out that the Keystone XL pipeline would create thousands of construction jobs, which it would.
Figures on how many vary wildly as advocates tend to include jobs to support the construction project, while detractors focus only on the jobs that would directly work on building it/
That argument misses the point in the context of this ad's claim, because the jobs to build the pipeline would only last for a couple of years while it's under construction.
The AFP ad touts "energy jobs," leading you to believe the finished pipeline needs lots of workers, and it just doesn't.
Keystone XL would create only a relative handful of those jobs.
In a study of the impact of the project, the State Department says only 50 workers will keep Keystone XL going once it's built: 35 full timers and 15 temps.
It's likely none of those jobs will be in Colorado. The route doesn't come within a hundred miles of Colorado's borders.
CLAIM: Cory Gardner is focused on spending less and spending smarter.
VERDICT: TRUE / OPINION
Calling Gardner's vision for spending "smarter" is opinion, conservatives and liberals could fight all day over that.
However, it's true that Gardner focuses on spending less. He talks about reining in federal spending all the time and makes it a key theme of his campaign.
CLAIM: Cory Gardner voted to balance the budget.
AFP's ad references Gardner's vote for the Ryan budget this year.
It's true that plan was projected to balance spending and revenue in ten years.
The ad includes a visual claim that Gardner "balanced" the budget, implying that the Ryan plan in question became law. It didn't and it's not going to.
The Ryan plan is controversial. Conservatives see it as a sensible approach to curbing a growing national debt. Liberals see it as recklessly endangering the social safety net and other government programs.
CLAIM: Cory Gardner stood against Obamacare.
Gardner voted more than 50 times to repeal Obamacare or scrap parts of it, a figure that his campaign and the Udall campaign both tell 9NEWS they agree with.
BOTTOM LINE: This ad doesn't make any false claims about Gardner's positions, but the ad has an agenda on some controversial issues.
Americans for Prosperity does some spinning to make its views seem like common sense.