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Another McCain Ad Dissected by FactCheck.org

FactCheck.org released another analysis of one of Sen. John McCain’s recent TV attack ads against Sen. Barack Obama late Tuesday. This time, the non-partisan fact-checking Website concludes the ad, titled “Troop Funding,” makes several statements that “are literally true but paint an incomplete picture.” Among the charges is a claim that Obama “never held a single Senate hearing on Afghanistan — which is true, but not really fair.

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{"type":"text","text":"Obama, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on European Affairs, hasn’t held any Afghanistan hearings. The full Senate Foreign Relations Committee, however, has held three hearings on Afghanistan during the past two years, and Obama attended one of them.  "}

McCain’s ad fails to mention that his own record is no better. Although he’s the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, he missed all seven of the hearings that his panel held on Afghanistan during the same two years, according to ABCNews.com. (We looked through the transcripts of the hearings from Federal News Service to confirm ABC’s report, and we found statements that showed McCain was not present at two of the hearings, statements from other senators speaking on McCain’s behalf at two more hearings, and no mention of McCain whatsoever at the other three.)

In the ad, Obama’s image appears on-screen with text that reads, “Against Troop Funding” — which would imply what it says, that Obama opposes funding the troops — while the announcer says he “voted against funding our troops.” The analysis notes this statement is true. Obama did vote against troop funding — once. But there is more to the story.

Prior to the sole 2007 vote cited by the McCain campaign as justification for this ad, Obama voted for all war-funding bills that had come before the Senate since 2005, when he was sworn in. So did all other Senate Democrats, except for a few absences. As recently as April 2007, Obama voted in favor of funding U.S. troops again, but this time Democrats added a non-binding call to withdraw them from Iraq. McCain (who was absent for the vote) resident Bush did veto it, and McCain Based on those facts, it would be literally true to say that “McCain urged a veto of funding for our troops.” But that would be oversimplified to the point of being seriously misleading, which is exactly the problem with McCain’s ad.

[

](http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=71d2666f-44da-4976-b218-6772dc37d7eb&Region_id=&Issue_2)As we noted yesterday, McCain’s track record for providing the public with accurate information in his campaign ads — which air almost exclusively in swing states, where they can be most effective — is not all that good. This is now the sixth McCain ad in the last month cited by the FactCheck.org for spreading false or misleading information. If this is part of McCain’s strategy, it’s hard to see how he can reconcile this with his frequent pledge to run an “honorable campaign.” On the bright side, the good folks over at FactCheck.org probably don’t have to worry about job security between now and November.

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