Now a secret-money outside spending group tied to Karl Rove, the man perhaps most responsible for the Bush presidency, is running a new attack suggesting that Kerrey had somehow acted inappropriately because he expressed his opinion.
War hero Bob Kerrey, after retiring from the Senate in 2001, is running to reclaim his old seat this November. The “issue advocacy” ad, titled “Disturbing,” says:
Bob Kerrey supported the Wall Street bailout while serving on the board of a company that tried to exploit it. Kerrey’s company tried a bureaucratic ploy to get bailout funds, but the ploy failed. These schemes were called a “disturbing trend” by an independent watchdog, violating the spirit fo the law to jump on the gravy train. For Bailout Bob Kerrey, it’s Wall Street ways, not Nebraska values. Tell him, support balanced budgets, not bailouts.
Watch the spot:
Nearly everything in this ad is disingenuous. The ad strongly implies that Kerrey had had something to do with the enactment of TARP. He was not a senator at the time, nor a lobbyist. The ad’s only citation for the argument is the 2008 Politico article in which Kerrey spoke positively about the bailout after the fact.
The insurance company mentioned in the ad — Genworth — was one that Kerrey advised, but did not control. It allegedly tried to buy a struggling bank to qualify for bailout funds — a move that even the watchdog concedes was totally legal. The group cited in the ad — the Project On Government Oversight — wrote to Congress: “We do not accuse these companies of wrongdoing in acquiring other financial institutions.”
If the secret funders behind Crossroads GPS bothered to look at the record, when Kerrey left the Senate in 2000, the budget was indeed balanced. Kerrey was the deciding vote in the Senate in 1993 for President Clinton’s budget reconciliation act, which set the nation on the path of deficit reduction (his yes vote, combined with the vice president’s, allowed Democrats to pass the bill without a single Republican supporter). In fact, he left a roughly $236 billion dollar surplus.
It was “Bailout Bush” and “Bailout Rove” who turned that the budget surplus into a $1.2 trillion deficit. What is “disturbing” is that Crossroads GPS is using money from undisclosed donors to run ads aimed at misleading voters.