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Congressional redistricting in Ohio has left two veteran incumbents, Dennis Kucinich and Marcy Kaptur, facing each other in an increasingly tense Democratic primary.
Kucinich used his opening remarks in a recent debate at the City Club in Cleveland to challenge Kaptur over a TV ad that he said misrepresented his voting record on job creation, veterans' care and prescription drug benefits for seniors.
PolitiFact Ohio took a look and found that the 30-second ad, titled "No," does make three statements about Kucinich's record.
We'll examine them in separate items, starting with the first claim: "When Marcy Kaptur brought home $42 million for new manufacturing jobs, Dennis Kucinich voted no."
For that claim, the ad cites as its source the roll call vote of Dec. 16, 2009, on HR 3326, the Defense Appropriations Act for fiscal 2010.
We asked Kaptur's office how she supported her claim of obtaining "$42 million for new manufacturing jobs."
Her staff listed 19 projects which she sponsored or co-sponsored that were included in the military spending bill, which passed on the roll call by a vote of 395 to 34, with five members not voting. Kaptur voted yes; Kucinich voted no.
The 19 projects are all directed spending, or earmarks, for Ohio. We confirmed them on the LegiStorm database using information from the group Taxpayers for Common Sense.
They were sponsored by Kaptur alone or with other members of the Ohio delegation, including Republicans and Democrats. Kucinich co-sponsored one of the appropriations, $2 million for research on renewable hydrocarbon fuels for military applications, at the Edison Materials Technology Center in Toledo.
The earmarks totaled more than $59 million in our count.
"We used a conservative estimate," Kaptur spokesman Steve Fought said.
In response, Kucinich campaign spokesman Andy Juniewicz noted something else about the military spending act.
"The principal provisions of that bill included $127.3 billion in additional defense spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.
Though the measure also included "a host of other, non-defense-related expenditures," he said, Kucinich voted against it as a long-time opponent of the wars.
"He has urged for years that those wars be ended and the troops brought home, and that the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent there be re-directed to support crucial domestic needs, including re-building the nation's infrastructure, improving education, and meeting the health care needs of the uninsured and under-insured," Juniewicz said. "For Kaptur to misrepresent his anti-war vote as a vote against new manufacturing jobs in Northern Ohio is, plainly and deliberately, dishonest."
Kaptur's campaign called it "a matter of how you characterize the votes."
"Those projects were in that bill, and Kucinich voted against them, including one of the projects he had sponsored," Fought said. "He wants to characterize it as an anti-war vote and not an anti-jobs vote.
"In Congress you don't get to cherry pick on legislation. He wants to have it both ways. It's a matter of whether you take responsibility for your final vote or not."
We think characterization is an issue on both sides.
Kaptur’s statement is partially accurate. Kucinich did vote against the legislation containing the earmarks. But there are important details missing from the claim.
While the measures sponsored by Kaptur were, in fact, appropriations for work to be done on projects in Ohio, her campaign omits important information by characterizing earmarks in the defense budget simply as money "for new manufacturing jobs."
Also, legislators frequently face the dilemma of having to vote against programs they would normally support because they are so opposed to other provisions in the same piece of legislation.
Kaptur and Kucinich are longtime colleagues in the House. As such, Kaptur certainly is well aware of Kucinich’s steadfast opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His vote in this case is consistent with that position.
Characterizing his vote as opposition to spending on programs that could create jobs is simply misleading.
On the Truth-O-Meter, Kaptur’s claim rates Half True.
The Plain Dealer, "Tension between congressional candidates Kucinich, Kaptur on full display at City Club debate," Feb. 20, 2012
Marcy Kaptur campaign, "No," Feb. 20, 2012
House of Representatives, Defense Appropriations Act 2010, Dec. 16, 2009
GovTrack.us, H.R. 3326: Department of Defense Appropriations Act 2010
Legistorm, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Earmarks database
Email from Kucinich campaign spokesman Andy Juniewicz, Feb. 19, 2012
Email from Kaptur campaign spokesman Steve Fought, Feb. 21 and 22, 2012
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