Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

Four weeks to go: Heading down the home stretch

Alan Grayson says his opponent Daniel Webster wants to make divorce illegal in a stinging new ad.

Four weeks to go, and the month opened with a flood of Falses. From Bible verses to solar panels, lost jobs to lost Medicare benefits, all False – or worse.

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson was the highlight last week, the focus of two PolitiFact Florida rulings. His attack ad, "Taliban Dan Webster," took aim at women voters" support for the former Florida House speaker by invoking the spooky refrain, "Submit to me."

But we tracked down the source of Webster"s comment, and it was the opposite of what the ad shows. Speaking of Bible verses for husbands, Webster actually said: "Don't pick the ones that say, 'she should submit to me.' "For Grayson, the Orlando-area Democrat who suggested former vice president Dick Cheney might be a vampire and compared the health-care system to a holocaust, the refrain in the "Taliban Dan" ad was badly out of context.

Our second ruling on the same ad rated a Half True. About 20 years ago, Webster did propose a law to create a voluntary "covenant marriage" that would have allowed divorce only on grounds of adultery. The proposal went nowhere.

Other highlights from the week: 

  • We rapped Republican Steven Southerland for a False on his description of 6,000 jobs lost in the North Florida Congressional district "with no apparent end in sight.” Southerland, facing incumbent U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd, may be an experienced small businessman, but there"s a difference between the  number of jobless and the number of jobs lost.
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  • We also tagged former New York Gov. George Pataki, now speaking for a group that"s trying to repeal the health care reform law, with a False. He mistakenly described a "Gator Aid" proposal for Floridians in Medicare Advantage, saying they get to remain in the program when no other states" seniors can. But that idea was nixed in the final version of the law that Obama signed.
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  • Finally, state Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander claimed that manufacturing of solar panels uses as much energy as the panels are likely to generate in their use. But the source of information he relied on directly contradicted his claim. That earned him a Pants on Fire ruling.

 Stay tuned: We"re down to the home stretch in this election year.