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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

A False Hit on Bobby Bright

A new National Republican Congressional Committee ad falsely claims that Rep. Bobby Bright, a freshman Democrat from Alabama, "is supporting" President Obama’s health care legislation. He’s not. The fact is, Bright was one of the few Democrats who voted against it, and he favors changing certain aspects that he calls "deeply flawed."

Bright was strongly opposed to the law and said he was "disappointed" and "saddened" by its passage:

Bright, March 22: I voted against the health care reform bill because our country cannot afford its massive cost, and I am skeptical about the legislation’s ability to bring down the government’s long-term health care obligations. Moreover, for months my constituents have expressed their strong opposition to this bill and I cannot ignore the will of the people I represent.

The ad faults Bright for failing to join Republican calls for repeal of the law. The ad correctly quotes Bright as saying: "I believe it’s premature to discuss repealing a bill that was just passed." At the time, the bill hadn’t even been signed into law.

But opposing repeal of a law isn’t the same thing as supporting it. Bright also said he’s interested in fixing certain "deeply flawed" parts of the bill legislatively:

Bright, March 22: I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure changes are made to the deeply flawed parts of this bill, such as the taxes and individual mandates, while keeping the aspects that enjoy widespread support and will have a positive effect on my constituents.

In any case, Bright’s statement left the door open to supporting a repeal motion in the future, should a serious effort ever materialize. Such a move has no chance of succeeding so long as Democrats control both House and Senate and Obama holds veto power.

Bright is the first Democrat to represent Alabama’s 2nd congressional district in four decades, and Republicans see a chance of reclaiming the seat on Nov. 2.  But there are plenty of legitimate issues to debate without misrepresenting Bright’s true position on health care.