There are few voting blocs as coveted as the proverbial middle class.
Politicians often boast about how their economic strategies are good for the middle class. Or they’ll say their opponent’s tax plans are bad for the middle class.
A new ad by the Congressional Leadership Fund goes a step further while making a claim about Dan McCready, the Democrat facing Republican Mark Harris in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.
The ad, citing a recent Charlotte Observer editorial, criticizes McCready for dodging questions in a recent forum. The narrator then pivots.
"But McCready did admit he opposes middle class tax cuts," the narrator says.
As the narrator speaks, the ad displays an image of a story about McCready that McClatchy newspapers published on June 5.
Does the article back up the claim that McCready said he opposes tax cuts for the middle class? Not really.
McCready was referring to his overall opposition to the tax plan. In fact, McCready says in the story he opposes the tax plan because it didn’t do enough to help the middle class.
"It took steps in the right direction, particularly in making American business more competitive," but "did not cut taxes enough for the middle class," McCready is quoted as saying.
The Trump tax cuts
Contacted by PolitiFact, a spokesman for the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) noted that McCready opposed the tax plan approved by Republicans last year. Thus, the spokesman posited, McCready opposed tax cuts for the middle class.
PolitiFact has written extensively about the tax plan, noting that most Americans will see cuts in the next few years.
According to the Tax Policy Center, a project of the Urban Institute and Brookings, 90 percent of middle-income households would pay less in 2018. However, those savings largely disappear by 2027, except for the top 1 percent of earners.
The CLF claim is similar to one made recently by Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican from Nevada. He claimed his opponent, Democrat Jacky Rosen, promised to "repeal (the) middle-class tax cut."
Political groups like to paint opponents with a broad brush. Just because a candidate doesn’t support a bill doesn’t mean they oppose everything the bill does.
McCready has repeatedly said he supports tax cuts for the middle class. He hopes to re-tool the Trump tax plan rather than repeal it, said Aaron Simpson, McCready’s deputy campaign manager.
"The first thing Dan would have done differently is make sure the tax cuts to the middle class is permanent. In addition, he believes we should have focused more on small business tax relief and making it easier to raise a family," Simpson said in an email to PolitiFact.
"But we needed to do much more of that: Give less of the tax cuts to the Warren Buffetts and Koch Brothers of the world and more to the hardworking teachers and firefighters that deserve a lot better here in North Carolina," McCready said.
The Congressional Leadership Fund ad says McCready admitted he opposes middle class tax cuts. They cited a story about the tax plan passed last year. In it, McCready specifically says the tax plan didn’t do enough to help the middle class. And McCready has repeatedly said he likes the middle class tax cuts in the Trump plan. We rate this claim False.
This story was produced by the North Carolina Fact-Checking Project, a partnership of McClatchy Carolinas, the Duke University Reporters’ Lab and PolitiFact. The NC Local News Lab Fund and the International Center for Journalists provide support for the project, which shares fact-checks with newsrooms statewide.
Video by the Congressional Leadership Fund Super PAC.
Email correspondence with Michael Byerly, spokesman for the CLF.
Email correspondence with Aaron Simpson, deputy campaign manager for Dan McCready.
Story by McClatchy DC, "A Democrat who talks like a Republican could steal a major NC race from the GOP," published June 5, 2018.
Fact checks by PolitiFact, "NC Sen. Tillis says plan won't raise taxes on Americans earning $30K-$70K a year," published Nov. 30, 2017; "Middle-class tax cuts as weapon in Nevada Senate race," April 24, 2018.
Facebook post by Dan McCready, "Where I stand: tax reform," published Dec. 2, 2017.
Video of the "Campaign 2018 NC9 Debate," posted by C-Span.org on Oct. 10, 2018.
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