A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

ARRA Under Attack, Again

The belated attacks on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 keep on coming. For the second time in less than a week, the American Issues Project has released a television ad criticizing the stimulus legislation recently signed by President Obama. In our article "GOP Stimulus Myths," we discussed the group’s first anti-stimulus ad that contained misleading claims about "pork and pet projects" in the legislation, as well as a one-sided characterization of a Congressional Budget Office analysis. These claims are repeated in AIP’s newest advertisement.

However, the new ad focuses primarily on comments made on the Senate floor by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) responding to some of the backlash to the stimulus legislation. The ad begins with a 16-second clip of Schumer saying: "Let me say this, to all of the chattering class that so much focuses on those little tiny, yes, porky amendments – the American people really don’t care." One version of the clip has garnered 251,783 views on YouTube as of Feb. 26. While Schumer certainly did make that statement (the video proves that he did), we’ll point out that AIP ignores the fact that the senator was trying, however awkwardly, to make a larger point. And he was talking about pork that was taken out of the bill. Here is Schumer’s statement in context:

Schumer, Feb. 10: I wish to make one other point before I conclude. Many on the other side point to one little provision or another. They say, well, there is money for STD; there is money for the Mall. Well, we took those out, but make no mistake about it, if we took them out, they still weren’t going to vote for the bill. They were excuses. Let me say this to all of the chattering class that so much focuses on those little tiny, yes, porky amendments. The American people don’t care. The American people care far more that there is a proposal in the bill — this one I pushed — that gives a $2,500 credit to families who pay tuition to put their kids through college. Great relief. They care far more about that than about some small provision in the bill that shouldn’t be there, because the tax relief from tuition costs they are going to get means far more to them. They care more about a provision that keeps the teachers in their schools. They care far more about the provisions that will build roads and bridges and employ people in their communities. So to all of us, particularly on my side, let’s not fall for the bait. Let’s not make this a bill that is mostly things such as refurbishing the Mall or sexually transmitted diseases which should be out of the bill. It is a bill about jobs. It is a bill about tax cuts to the middle class. It is a bill about infrastructure. The American people know that. They know they are hurting. They know we have reached out, and they know we have to act.

The ad is slated to air on FOX News, CNN, CNN Headline News, CNBC and FOX Business Network, according to AIP.