Ad Watch: Familiar themes in new Obama spots
President Barack Obama released several new campaign ads this week assailing Mitt Romney. Two of the claims are familiar to PolitiFact.
In the ad "Come and Go," the Obama campaign says Romney was a "corporate raider" at the private equity firm Bain Capital and drew on that experience when he became governor of Massachusetts.
"As governor, he did the same thing, outsourcing state jobs to India," the ad claims.
Here’s what PolitiFact’s national team found: The Democratic-controlled Massachusetts legislature in 2004 sent Romney a budget with an amendment that would prohibit state contracts with companies that outsource the work to other countries.
At the time, Massachusetts had a $160,000 contract with Citigroup to process debit cards for food stamps. Citigroup outsourced its customer service call center to India. Massachusetts was hardly unique; a 2005 study by the General Accounting Office found 43 states had contracts that outsourced work.
Romney vetoed the amendment, noting that outsourcing jobs saved the state money and even if those positions returned to the United States, they would not necessarily be located in Massachusetts, which did not have many call centers. The bottom line, he said, was that the bill would cost his state and provide little or no benefit.
Romney didn’t instigate a policy of sending jobs overseas, but allowed a policy to continue. PolitiFact rated the claim that Romney outsourced state jobs to India Half True.
In an ad called "First Law," Obama reminds viewers that the first bill he signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. The law extended the statute of limitations of filing a lawsuit on wage discrimination to 180 days after each new paycheck that exhibits discrimination.
"President Obama knows it’s wrong that women being paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men isn’t just unfair – it hurts families," the ad said. "So the first law he signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help ensure that women are paid the same as men for doing the exact same work."
PolitiFact Virginia recently rated a similar claim by Tim Kaine, when he said in a fundraising letter that "women currently earn -- here in Virginia, only 79 cents to each dollar earned by men."
Obama’s campaign commercial and Kaine’s staff cited the same data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which is based on annual salaries earned by men and women. But gender pay is a complicated subject and there are many reasons -- in addition to discrimination -- why a gap exists: Studies show women tend to work fewer hours than men, they tend to choose lower paying professions than men and they tend to take more off than men to care for children.
We rated Kaine’s statement Mostly True, because his statement lacked context and created a an impression that women are being paid much more than men when their qualifications, occupations and work hours are the same.
Obama’s ad goes as step further by claiming straight out that women are "being paid 77-cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men."