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A new ad from Connie Mack says his Republican rival George LeMieux is a liberal -- and "once a liberal, always a liberal."
The ammunition: LeMieux’s votes during his brief time in the U.S. Senate. Former Gov. Charlie Crist appointed LeMieux to serve out the term of Mel Martinez, who resigned. LeMieux served from September 2009 to January 2011.
Mack and LeMieux are competing for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate to go against Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson. (Mack is now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Fort Myers.)
Mack’s ad shows President Barack Obama, mixing the president’s remarks with narration about LeMieux. It goes like this:
Obama: "Two Republican senators, Sens. George Voinovich and George LeMieux … because of their decision, this jobs bill will finally pass. "
Narrator: "George LeMieux was one of only two liberal Republicans who voted for Barack Obama’s liberal jobs bill that failed to help our economy. "
Obama: "Sens. George Voinovich and George LeMieux .. and because of their decision, this jobs bill will finally pass, and I want to thank them. "
Narrator: "George LeMieux: once a liberal, always a liberal. " (The ad closes with LeMieux huddling with Crist.)
We’re going to take out the Mack campaign’s "liberal" adjectives and focus on the facts of the matter: Was LeMieux one of two Republicans who voted for Obama's jobs bill?
The bill in question is the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 (H.R. 5297), which Obama signed into law on Sept. 27, 2010.
As the name suggests, the law was aimed at getting money to small businesses and stimulating the economy. The law made about $30 billion available to small business, primarily through the Small Business Administration and its lending program for community banks. The law also included $12 billion worth of tax breaks for small business, mostly by changing tax rules on business expenses.
Opponents of the law said at the time that the lending program was similar to the Troubled Asset Relief Progam, or TARP. "It had the mini-TARP in there, with no real help to small businesses, as far as I'm concerned," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told the Washington Post in 2010.
LeMieux and Voinovich were two Republican senators who voted with Democrats to move the bill through the Senate. The Mack campaign pointed us to these votes when we asked for evidence for their ad.
LeMieux and Voinovich cited widespread unemployment in their respective states (Florida and Ohio) as reasons to support the bill.
Back then, LeMieux answered questions about his support on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:
"Well, there's not been much I could agree on with the Democrats in Congress, because most of it's been job-killing. But this bill that (Sen.) Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and I worked on together is actually going to help small businesses in Florida. You know, Joe, that we've got nearly 2 million in Florida. They're suffering, and this bill will cut taxes by $12 billion for small businesses and increase lending to your local community bank, so that they can give dollars to small businesses and put people back to work. Doesn't raise the deficit, doesn't raise the debt, doesn't raise taxes. It made a lot of sense to me."
LeMieux spokesman Anna Nix responded with similar comments when we asked her on May 15, 2012, about the attack ad.
Mack’s ad puts a lot of spin on the basic facts when it says, "George LeMieux was one of only two liberal Republicans who voted for Barack Obama’s liberal jobs bill that failed to help our economy. " Certainly that "liberal" tag is what gives the ad its bite.
Here, we’re simply checking whether LeMieux was one of two Republican senators who voted for a jobs bill supported by the president. That is the case. We rate that statement True.
Connie Mack campaign, via YouTube, Liberal LeMieux, May 14, 2012
Connie Mack campaign, Mack Campaign Launches TV-Ready Web Ad, May 14, 2012
The White House, Remarks by the President on Small Business Jobs Bill, Sept. 15, 2010
The White House, Remarks by the President on the Economy, July 23 2010
U.S. Senate, On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture on H.R. 5297), Sept. 16, 2010
U.S. Senate, On Passage of the Bill (Passage of H.R. 5297, As Amended), Sept. 16, 2010
THOMAS, Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, Sept. 27, 2010
U.S. Small Business Administration, Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, accessed My 15, 2010
Congressional Budget Office, H.R. 5297, Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, Aug. 9, 2010
Congressional Budget Office, Questions Regarding the CBO Cost Estimate for H.R. 5297 (Public Law 111-240), The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, Oct. 13, 2011
Morning Joe, interview with Sen. George LeMieux, Sept. 15, 2010, accessed May 15, 2012 via Nexis
The Washington Post, Senate passes small-business aid, Sept. 17, 2010, accessed via Nexis
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