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The ad alludes to a 2020 NPR story that called Fetterman a self-described democratic socialist.
That story contains a correction stating that that description was wrong.
We found no other evidence that Fetterman has described himself that way.
Six weeks before Pennsylvania’s primary elections, a super PAC formed to support Democratic U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb attacked the other leading Democratic hopeful, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, by saying he identifies as a democratic socialist.
"Who can Democrats trust in the race for Senate? Connor Lamb's a former prosecutor and Marine," the narrator says in Penn Progress’ 30-second TV ad, released April 5. "John Fetterman’s a self-described democratic socialist … Republicans think they’d crush socialist Fetterman. With all that's at stake, Fetterman’s a risk we can't afford."
Penn Progress has not produced evidence that Fetterman called himself a democratic socialist. One TV station took down the ad after Fetterman’s lawyers called on it to do so.
The ad cites NPR for this claim. On Nov. 28, 2020, NPR broadcast a story about Fetterman in which the reporter called Fetterman a "self-described democratic socialist."
On Dec. 6, 2021, NPR attached a correction: "This story wrongly states that Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is a ‘self-described democratic socialist.’ He is not."
The same day the super PAC’s ad was released, lawyers for Fetterman and his campaign called on television stations to take down the ad, calling it false and defamatory. "Fetterman has never described himself as a ‘democratic socialist,’" their letter said.
The letter referred to the NPR story and the correction. Fetterman’s campaign announced the same day that a Philadelphia TV station had taken down the ad.
We reached out to Penn Progress but did not hear back.
Politico reporter Holly Otterbein tweeted that she asked the group for evidence to back its claim.
Otterbein wrote that the PAC referred her to a 2016 article in Public Opinion, a Pennsylvania newspaper, and a 2021 article in Forbes that called Fetterman a self-described democratic socialist, but no articles in which he’s quoted calling himself one. Both articles used the phrase, "self-described democratic socialist." On April 6, the Forbes article was updated: "Correction: This story had incorrectly identified Fetterman as a ‘democratic socialist’ — he is not."
Politico reported in December that Lamb referred to Fetterman as a socialist, but Lamb’s campaign did not provide any evidence.
On April 3, after a debate that Fetterman did not attend, Lamb said, according to the Washington Post: "The socialist label sticks on John because of the policies he actually has advocated and the people like Bernie Sanders that he has actively campaigned with."
Fetterman endorsed Sanders in Sanders’ 2016 presidential run.
In 2016, an interviewer asked Fetterman: "You are very progressive, I think — I could be wrong but you label yourself as a democratic socialist?"
Fetterman replied: "No, I don’t label myself a democratic socialist, but I certainly ran the most progressive campaign in my race this past spring."
The major Republican candidates are commentator Kathy Barnette, real estate developer Jeff Bartos, Philadelphia attorney George Bochetto, former hedge fund CEO Dave Mccormick, physician and TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz and Carla Sands, who served as President Donald Trump's ambassador to Denmark.
The primaries are May 17.
A super PAC supporting Lamb said "Fetterman's a self-described democratic socialist."
Media reports that made this assertion now carry corrections. We found no evidence that Fetterman described himself that way. And he has declared that he has never described himself that way.
We rate the claim False.
Editor's note, April 7: After publication, a spokesperson for Penn Progress emailed us with the links to NPR, Forbes and Public Opinion articles, which we had noted, as well as other media references that called Fetterman a self-described democratic socialist. None of the references showed Fetterman calling himself one. Our ruling remains the same.
RELATED: Pennsylvania fact-checks
AdImpact.com, Penn Progress "Who Can Dems Trust?" ad, April 5, 2022
Twitter, Holly Otterbein tweet, April 5, 2022
Forbes, "John Fetterman Launches Campaign For U.S. Senate In Pennsylvania," Feb. 8, 2021
Bloomberg Government, "Super PAC Lobs First Attack in Pennsylvania Democratic Primary," April 5, 2022
Politico, "Super PAC signals Pennsylvania primary could get rough," March 21, 2022
Public Opinion, "Mayor John Fetterman to speak to local Democrats," Sept. 16, 2016
Daily Kos, "Fetterman campaign demands takedown of ads calling him a 'democratic socialist,’" April 5, 2022
Politico, "Manchin and Sinema get star billing in Pa. Senate race," Dec. 7, 2021
YouTube, Rebel HQ post of John Fetterman interview, Oct. 4, 2016
Washington Post, "The Trailer: 'Socialism.' 'Beijing Dave.' In primary stretch, Pennsylvania's Senate contenders go after the front-runners," April 5, 2022
NPR, "What's Next For Pennsylvania's John Fetterman," Nov. 28, 2020
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