Fact Check: Romney Ad 'Mischaracterizes' Gingrich on Abortion, Freddie Mac

Wednesday, 21 Dec 2011 02:53 PM

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An ad run by a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney levels a series of charges against GOP rival Newt Gingrich including a “pretty sleazy mischaracterization” of Gingrich’s stand on abortion, The Washington Post concluded in a fact check.

In fact, they even admitted that the ad was so egregiously inaccurate – especially in its false claim that Gingrich backed publicly funded abortions – that Romney’s backers should pull the ad.

The ad by the pro-Romney Restore Our Future charges, among other things, that as Speaker of the House Gingrich supported “taxpayer funding of some abortions,” that he was paid $30,000 an hour by Freddie Mac, and that he was the only Speaker of the House in history to be reprimanded.

The pro-Romney ad earned “4 Pinocchios” from the Post for its falsehoods, the highest level of deception.

The Post found that there was “no evidence [Gingrich] was actually paid $30,000 an hour.”

On the issue of taxpayer funded abortions, “Gingrich was simply reiterating the text of the so-called Hyde Amendment at the time, which banned public funding of abortions except in cases of rape and incest or to save the life of the mother.”

Gingrich has a long record of being pro-life and has always opposed publicly funded abortions.

“In other words, this ad has a pretty sleazy mischaracterization of Gingrich’s anti-abortion position, clearly designed to alienate the religious right in Iowa,” the Post wrote.

“Do we need to note that just months before Gingrich made these remarks, Romney had run for a Senate seat in Massachusetts pledging to protect the abortion rights enshrined in the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling?”

As to the claim that Gingrich is the only Speaker of the House to be reprimanded, the Post noted that House Speaker Jim Wright, D-Texas, resigned before he could be reprimanded, adding it’s a “stretch to suggest that Gingrich is the only speaker to have landed in ethics trouble.”

The Post noted that Romney has criticized Super PACs, saying “campaign finance law has made a mockery of our political campaign season.”

The paper then offered Romney some advice:

“There is an easy way for him to deal with this issue—publicly demand that his Super PAC stop running such misleading ads. While he claimed that communicating with the Super PAC would land him in the ‘big house,’ there is nothing to stop him from denouncing such ads as unbecoming to his campaign.

“The ad overall might merit three Pinocchios but the abortion language is so underhanded that it really discredits the entire ad.”

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