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We conclude our trifecta of Truth-O-Meter rulings on a February fund-raising letter sent by Texas GOP chair Cathie Adams. She levelled six charges against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White including these pops: "He supports the ‘ObamaCare’ socialized medicine plan, as well as ‘Cap and Trade’ legislation that would kill thousands of Texas jobs."
Socialist? Job-killer? We decided to test the politically potent charges. (We deal with the rest of Adams' letter in separate Truth-O-Meter items.)
On Adams’ claim that White supports the "‘ObamaCare’ socialized medicine plan," the Republican Party initially referred us to an August article in the El Paso Times. The story makes no reference to "Obamacare" or "socialized medicine." Instead it quotes White saying he backs President Barack Obama’s goals of allowing people to keep their current doctors and insurance plans and expanding the availability of health coverage while containing costs.
The article also quotes White referring to his support for employers, employees and public-private partnerships to enable affordable basic health care. His campaign says White was among advocates who persuaded state lawmakers to permit "3-share" partnerships.
White also has called for expanding the enrollment of children in Medicaid, which serves the poor, and the federally supported Children's Health Insurance Program, which serves the working poor.
Surprisingly, considering White was a Senate candidate through much of last year, White's campaign says he has not voiced support for any particular health-care plan before Congress.
For Adams’ statement about White supporting a cap-and-trade approach to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the party pointed us to an article published in December's Texas Monthly magazine. Cap-and-trade plans typically try to ratchet down air pollution by making a set number of pollution allowances available. Companies can then trade or sell the allowances if their facilities pollute less than they're allowed.
The article doesn't reveal White’s position on the cap-and-trade idea. Rather, it quotes a press release from a Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman speculating about something White's campaign spokeswoman, Katy Bacon, told the Austin American-Statesman in September: That White had advised Obama on energy topics.
The GOP spokesman said: "President Obama has proposed massive tax hikes on Texas energy companies and a cap-and-trade scheme that would raise energy prices on Texas families. Is this the result of the ‘advice’ Mayor White’s spokesperson referred to today? Texas voters deserve to know exactly which aspects of President Obama’s energy scheme White supports."
Earlier, White told the American-Statesman he didn't consider the cap-and-trade plan narrowly approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in June "an effective piece of legislation for accomplishing its goals at a reasonable consumer cost... I’ve shared some of those thoughts with senators, of how we could have an energy policy that’s sustainable and also affordable."
Last week, White said he's never endorsed a cap-and-trade proposal, preferring approaches that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by encouraging utilities to use more natural gas and renewable energy. "The closer somebody comes to that approach, the more I support it," White said.
White also has called for Texas to follow states including California, New York and Massachusetts in adopting state-level low-emission vehicle standards so that "we help drive down the cost of more fuel-efficient, lower-emission vehicles for all people in our country. Texas is the biggest state not to have adopted these standards. And I think the auto makers will see the writing on the wall if we do so."
Any politico can appreciate why Republicans want to portray White as favoring "socialized medicine" and cap-and-trade legislation critics say would slam the state's economy.
But in the absence of confirming facts, these sizzlers read like ridiculous smears.
We rate Adams' statement Pants on Fire.
The El Paso Times, "Houston mayor vows to create jobs, fix health care," Aug. 18, 2009 (Nexis search)
E-mail, Katy Bacon, press secretary, Bill White campaign, March 4, 2010
E-mail, Brian Walsh, communications director, National Republican Senatorial Committee, Sept. 21, 2009
Interviews, Bill White, June 2008, September 2009, March 8, 2010
Republican Party of Texas, "Bill White’s Record," received March 3, 2010
Texas Monthly, "The Great White Hope," December 2009 accessed March 6, 2010
Bill White gubernatorial campaign, "Issues, Health Care," accessed March 9, 2010
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