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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

A False Hit on Critz

We’ve written about misrepresentations in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s attack on Tim Burns, the GOP candidate in the Pennsylvania 12th. Being equal-opportunity fact-checkers, we can’t let a false attack ad from the National Republican Congressional Committee in this race slip by without mention.

The hit on Democratic nominee Mark Critz says that "Congress and liberals like Mark Critz didn’t listen" when "Americans said no to government-run health care." Now, we could go into all the claims the ad makes about the new health care law, pointing out that it wouldn’t create a "government-run" system and so on. But we have written reams about what the new law does and doesn’t do. (Just type "health care" into our search box if you want to re-visit some of those postings.)

In this case, our dissection is a much simpler task. First, Critz wasn’t in Congress when the health care bill was passed. If he’s elected in May to fill the vacancy left by the late John Murtha, Critz’s former boss, he’ll be a freshman.

Technically, the ad doesn’t say that Critz was a House member, just a "liberal." Exactly how liberal Critz is, though, is highly debatable. He’s pro-gun rights and anti-abortion rights. More important, Critz says he would have voted against the health overhaul bill. While he was silent for some time about his position on the legislation, he came out against it in March, well before this ad began running.

Critz, March 22: While this bill represents significant progress in reforming our broken healthcare system, there were flaws that would’ve kept me from supporting it. This bill was too expensive, particularly because the $940 billion price tag didn’t include the Medicare doctor fix that would prevent reimbursement cuts to physicians who treat Medicare beneficiaries. In Congress I’ll work to fix this bill because this issue is too important. I’ll work hard to strengthen and improve this legislation because that is what’s best for Western Pennsylvania.

Enough said on this one. We have a feeling we’ll be back with more from the Pennsylvania 12th.