Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

PolitiFact sniffs out distortions in GOP video

To track the stimulus money, the Republicans relied on a bloodhound named Ellie Mae.

In a tongue-in-cheek Web ad from House Republican leader John Boehner, the GOP "releases the dogs on the money trail" to find jobs created by the Obama-backed economic stimulus package.

The stimulus was supposed to be all about jobs, according to the folksy narration by Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., "but after five months and billions in debt on our kids and grandkids, where are the jobs?"

The job-sniffing GOP bloodhound Ellie Mae cites two specific stimulus expenditures to make its point, but we find Ellie Mae's sniffer was a bit off in both cases.

First comes the claim, "In Wisconsin, the stimulus paid for a bridge to a bar called Rusty's Backwater Saloon. They've got great burgers, but no new jobs." We talked to folks in Wisconsin and found that the stimulus-backed bridge in question is not merely for Rusty's benefit. We ruled the claim Barely True.

Next, we checked out the claim that "in North Carolina, they used stimulus money to hire one new state worker. His job, apply for more stimulus funds from the taxpayers by the way of the federal government."

It's a catchy phrase, but not accurate. While the city of Washington, N.C., has a stimulus coordinator, it's paid through city funds, not the stimulus. And Washington got a grant for a new worker whose job entails — in part — trying to get federal grant money to offset the cost of a new police station. But it's unlikely they'll be seeking stimulus funds. We ruled that one False .