Friday, November 21st, 2014

Fact-checking Alan Grayson's 'Taliban Dan Webster' ad

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Alan Grayson tries to defend his ad, "Taliban Dan Webster" in an interview with MSNBC.

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson -- the man who described the Republican Party's health care plan as "die quickly" and who later equated the health care system to an American holocaust, who suggested former vice president Dick Cheney was a vampire who could turn into a bat and fly away at a moment's notice, and who said putting Republicans in charge of government was akin to making members of al-Qaida pilots -- is making another series of eye-catching claims.

Grayson, an Orlando-area Democrat facing a difficult re-election fight against former Florida House speaker Daniel Webster, launched a stinging television attack Sept. 25, 2010. The title of his advertisement? "Taliban Daniel Webster."

The meat of the ad is a back-and-forth between a female narrator and Webster, speaking his own words. Here's the transcript:

Female narrator: (Speaking over images of terrorists holding guns and people burning the American flag) "Religious fanatics try to take away our freedom in Afghanistan, in Iran and right here in Central Florida."

Webster: (Black-and-white video, dressed in a suit, holding a microphone) "Wives submit yourself to your own husband."

Female narrator: "Daniel Webster wants to impose his radical fundamentalism on us." Background type: Daniel Webster wants to MAKE DIVORCE ILLEGAL.

Webster: "You should submit to me. That's in the Bible."

Female narrator: "Webster tried to deny battered women medical care and the right to divorce their abusers."

Webster: "Submit to me."

Female narrator: "He wants to force raped women to bear the child."

Webster: "Submit to me."

Female narrator: "Taliban Daniel Webster. Hands off our bodies. And our laws."

The ad is fertile ground for fact-checkers. PolitiFact Florida found that Grayson used some heavy-handed editing to take Webster's words out of context. We rated a claim that "Daniel Webster thinks wives should submit to their husbands" as False.

We also rated a claim that Webster wants to make divorce illegal, even for abused women, Half True.