Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Politifact labels 'mostly false' McConnell's TV ad replying to Grimes' 'half true' spot on women's issues

Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning service of the Tampa Bay Times, determined that Sen. Mitch McConnell's latest television commercial is "mostly false." The ad features his wife, former labor secretary Elaine Chao, responding to Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes' ad asking why he voted twice against the Violence Against Women Act and "equal pay for women."

In his response ad, a narrator says McConnell "voted for even stronger protections" than in the version he voted against in 2012 and 2013. Democrats included three new components -- "protection for LGBT people, immigrants and American Indian women who are abused on the tribal land by non-natives," Politifact notes.

Republicans rejected those, and "offered their own versions" of the legislation that included mandatory minimum sentences. "However, advocates of domestic violence awareness were specifically against the inclusion of these provisions," Politifact notes. They "worried that long mandatory minimums would 'keep victims who were assaulted by someone they know from reporting' and would create other issues in sentencing."

"McConnell’s campaign also noted that the Republican amendments required that 30 percent of the grant money given to states and localities to train and assist law enforcement in combating violence against women must be set aside for sexual assault," Politifact reports. "The Democratic bill put the figure at 20 percent, but this was more a shift in priorities than anything."

Politifact's ruling boiled down to this: "McConnell could argue that the mandatory minimum sentences Republicans required in their alternative made for a 'stronger' bill, but advocates of domestic abuse awareness opposed this measure as unnecessary. And the Republican measure was absent several protections for certain groups that were included in the bill Obama signed. McConnell is within his right to oppose those provisions, but it makes it hard for him to prove that he supported 'stronger' legislation."

As for the Grimes ad to which McConnell is responding, Politifact rated it half true, "given McConnell's history of voting for the act at times." His ad notes that he was an original sponsor of the act -- one of only three Republicans, Politifact noted. He didn't sponsor the first version that passed, but voted for it as part of another bill. He voted against the final version, which included provisions added by the House, including "a much more controversial assault-weapons ban," Politifact says. It also cites an analysis of the ad by FactCheck, which was reported in this blog last week.

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