Marco Rubio Senate ad targets stimulus, Charlie Crist, Kendrick Meek

9:37 PM, Oct 19, 2010   |    comments
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TRUTH TEST HEADQUARTERS, Florida - With his poll numbers strengthening and time before the election waning, U.S. Senate hopeful Marco Rubio is staying the course and avoiding some of the nasty mud-slinging plaguing other campaigns this election season.

In a recent ad, Republican Rubio tries to separate himself from his Democratic opponent Kendrick Meek and unaffiliated foe Charlie Crist by attacking the controversial stimulus bill.

10 News' Truth Test aims to sort through the spin to separate fact from fiction and this week, issues corresponding grades for Rubio's recent ad, "Backwards."

Scroll down to watch Rubio's "Backwards" ad
PREVIOUS: Truth Test on Rick Scott
PREVIOUS: Truth Test on Kendrick Meek
PREVIOUS: Truth Test on Charlie Crist 
PREVIOUS: Truth Test on Alex Sink 
PREVIOUS: Truth Test on Rail Referendum

Claim 1: "The stimulus (is) billions in spending."
The most recent estimate from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office indicates the Stimulus has cost about $526 billion so far and will total $816 billion in spending over 10 years.
Grade: A 

Claim 2: "(The stimulus meant) mountains of foreign debt."
The United States has maintained national debt since 1791.  About 66 percent of that is "debt held by public," or foreign sources.  That's a higher rate than it has been over the past decade, but not the highest ever.  However, the $9 trillion in foreign debt is a record number. 
Grade: A 

Claim 3: "(The stimulus featured) countless regulations that Congress didn't even read."
It is probably a safe guess to say someone in Congress read every regulation in the stimulus bill.  It is also probably safe to guess that many members did not.  However, this claim is near-impossible to fact-check.
Grade: Opinion

Claim 4: "The only thing missing (from the stimulus is) jobs."
This is similar to a claim Rick Scott flunked when he faced The Truth Test. Rubio's campaign cites 200,000 job-losses since the stimulus bill was passed.

But while the national unemployment rate has climbed from 7.7 percent to 9.6 percent since the stimulus bill was passed, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) indicated in Feb. 2010 that the stimulus was responsible for halting the free-falling job-loss numbers.

Reuters reports the CBO "counts stimulus jobs as positions funded by the money, even if the person worked at the company beforehand. Several private-sector economic-analysis firms say the stimulus has saved or created more than 1 million jobs."

According to Bureau of Labor statistics, there were 110,961,000 private-sector jobs in January 2009. The downward trend continued until Dec. 2009 when there were just 107,107,000 jobs. But private sector jobs have climbed every month since then, rebounding to 107,970,000 in preliminary Sept. 2010 numbers.
Grade: F

Claim 5: "Washington has it backwards.  Politicians don't create jobs."
The "backwards" claim is opinion, but we find politicians can, in fact, create jobs.  Government is the single-largest employer in the nation and public jobs make up hundreds of thousands of jobs in Florida too.

Additionally, Rubio's attempt to cast himself as an "outsider" is misleading.  Merriam-Webster defines "politician" as "a person experienced in the art or science of government."  With eight years experience in the Florida House, Rubio most definitely qualifies as a politician.
Grade: F

Claim 6: "Government spending won't create prosperity."
Republicans believe the spending is out of control; many Democrats would argue it was necessary in a recession.
Grade: Opinion

Claim 7: "We have to stop stimulus, balance the budget, and keep the tax cuts...because getting America back to work starts with getting Washington out of the way."
Even though Rubio now calls the Bush tax cuts "existing tax code," their value remains one of the most debated issues this election season.
Grade: Opinion

Claim 1 - A
Claim 2 - A
Claim 3 - Opinion
Claim 4 - F
Claim 5 - F
Claim 6 - Opinion
Claim 7 - Opinion

10 News doesn't endorse candidates or campaigns but awards points to Rubio for making his platform clear. However, The Truth Test finds he takes too many liberties with some of his anti-government/anti-stimulus claims.

10 News doesn't endorse candidates or campaigns but awards points to Rubio for making his platform clear. However, The Truth Test finds he takes too many liberties with some of his anti-government/anti-stimulus claims.

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Noah Pransky, 10 News

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