Ad Checks: Restoring America's lastest batch of 4 ads go after Beshear on jobs, pardons, energy

10/17/2011 09:24 AM

The Republican group Restoring America flooded Kentucky’s airwaves with four new ads starting Monday — one responding to criticisms of Republican candidate David Williams and the other three that go after Gov. Steve Beshear on pardons, jobs and energy.

Funding for the outside group comes from a corporation of the same name, thereby shielding from public view the people bankrolling it. But the group has continued its strategy of launching multiple ads at the same time — an unusual move as campaigns usually like to hit on a single message to allow it to sink in.

Here is a breakdown of some of the key claims in each of the latest ads:

“Missing”

Theme: The ad zooms in on an empty podium with Beshear’s name on it to underscore how Beshear has declined to participate in debates earlier in the campaign. Beshear has passed on appearing at many joint appearances with Williams and independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith, but did participate in a debate last week sponsored by the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and League of Women Voters.

Claims:

  • “Kentucky lost more than 100,000 jobs” since Beshear took office.

Kentucky did lose 92,000 jobs between Beshear’s inauguration in December 2007 and February 2010, but the total number of employed Kentuckians has come back to being 6,000 short of where it was four years ago, according to August 2011 figures at the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.

  • “Why did you create a plan that will drive up energy costs and kill jobs?” the narrator asks the empty podium. The ad cites Beshear’s energy strategy plan released in 2008. That strategy includes a wide array of energy proposals. But the ad seems to focus on its inclusion of alternative renewable energy sources because it also cites a May 5, 2010 report by the Heritage Foundation. That report makes the point that renewable energy still costs way more than coal-fired electricity. However, Beshear’s plan never calls for replacing coal with renewable energy — just supplementing it.

*Where are the jobs? *

Theme: Probably doesn’t need too much explanation based on the name.

Claims:

  • It again uses the “100,000 jobs lost” claim, which only tells part of the story given that the total employment numbers are currently 6,000 jobs shy of December 2007 levels.

  • The ad says many of the jobs Beshear claims to have created haven’t materialized. That’s true. Reporting by Pure Politics last month , followed by other news outlets, confirmed that less than a third of the jobs Beshear has announced through press releases have so far been filled. Beshear says that’s because many of those are long-term promises.

Pardons

Theme: That Beshear is out of step with Kentucky values by providing partial pardons to certain released convicted felons, allowing them to vote and run for office.

Claim:
That among those Beshear gave partial pardons to were 14 rapists, 8 convicted murderers and 23 people who served time for sexual abuse.
All of those numbers come from a July 29, 2008, Associated Press article:

Gov. Steve Beshear has granted partial pardons to at least eight convicted murderers and 14 rapists over the past five months, allowing them to vote and run for office.
Kentucky Department of Corrections records provided to The Associated Press show that Beshear also granted partial pardons to 23 people convicted of felony sexual abuse.
Beshear has taken action on behalf of 747 released convicts since March, when he streamlined the process for felons seeking to have their civil rights restored.
“Those whose rights have been restored have served their time and paid their debt to society,” Beshear said in a written statement. “The primary goal of the corrections system is to rehabilitate those who have committed crimes and return them as contributing members to society.”

Great Again

Theme: Responds to Beshear campaign ads that criticize Williams for government spending, including a plasma television as part of legislative office renovations in 2006. It also touts Williams’ plan to revamp the state’s tax code.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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