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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Liberal Groups Criticize GOP Over Stimulus, Redux

The liberal advocacy group Americans United for Change (along with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees labor union) released a new ad attacking Republicans for not supporting President Obama’s economic stimulus plan. Here is our review of an earlier ad from Americans United for Change. Here is the new one:

The main message of the ad is that Republicans said "no" to Obama’s plan, and, therefore, said "no" to "3.5 million jobs" and "no" to "tax cuts for 95 percent of working Americans" — benefits of the stimulus package touted by Democrats. But more jobs and tax cuts aren’t the reasons Republicans gave for voting against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Those pictured in the ad actually criticized Obama’s plan for spending. In fact, an alternative Republican stimulus plan called for tax cuts, too. And Republicans had their own lofty job creation figures (though, as we explained, the figures were based on their own, quite questionable calculations).

Americans United for Change does deserve credit for cleaning up its language in saying the stimulus would provide "tax cuts for 95 percent of working Americans." This refers to a "making work pay" tax credit available to American workers. The group’s earlier ad had erroneously broadened the benefit to all "Americans."

But about those "3.5 million jobs." As we’ve discussed a few times before, that number is far from certain, and at least one economist who provided a 3.5 million estimate has since downgraded it to 2.2 million jobs.

The ad ends by asking whom Republican leaders are listening to and then shows a clip of radio personality Rush Limbaugh saying that he wants Obama "to fail." It’s true that Limbaugh is enjoying rock-star status in the GOP these days: He keynoted the Conservative Political Action Committee’s recent convention in D.C., and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele apologized to Limbaugh over the weekend for dismissing him as an "entertainer." But we found no evidence of the Republican leaders featured in the ad saying they shared this particular sentiment. House Minority Leader John Boehner, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all have expressed a willingness to work with Obama — though their comments came well before the partisan wrangling over the stimulus bill.

A spokesperson for Americans United for Change told The New York Times that the ad would be "broadcast on some cable networks and possibly the Sunday news shows" this week.