Truth Test: Defining your opponent in the race for US Senate

Monday, September 20th 2004, 10:29 am
By: News On 6

Oklahoma’s US Senate race and how the candidates are trying to define each other as too liberal - or too conservative. Republican Tom Coburn makes the liberal charge against Democrat Brad Carson in a new television ad.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan puts it to the truth test. The first thing to notice on this ad is the end.

Tom Coburn: "I'm Tom Coburn and I approved this message." It's the first attack ad the Coburn campaign has run against Brad Carson. Coburn said last week the tone of his commercials would change - and this ad proves it. Announcer: "Do you recognize this big time liberal? Here are a few hints. He's voted for taxpayer-funded abortions." That passes the truth test - but bears some explanation.

The State Department helps out charities in foreign countries, some of which perform abortions. Carson voted for the abortion funding - but the majority voted against it. It has nothing to do with abortions in this country. Announcer: “Is one of the biggest spenders in all of Congress. Voted against passing welfare reform, twice! And against the Bush tax cuts.” That's true - the Democrat Carson voted against the Republican led welfare reforms and the Bush tax cuts - but both passed without him.

And it's true that a conservative tax watchdog group gave Carson low grades for holding spending down. Announcer: “It's Brad Carson, who may just be the most liberal politician in all of Oklahoma.” Now that's a pretty strong claim - but so subjective - we can't tell if it's true or not.

The Carson campaign takes exception to the ad - a spokesman said “Congressman Carson is one of the most conservative Democrats in the U.S. Congress."

The ad was approved by Coburn and paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee - the first of his "soft money" ads since the primary. You can expect to see more soft money ads from both sides as the election gets closer.

A couple of new ads started Monday for Brad Carson. They attack Coburn. The News on 6 will check the truth behind them in the coming days.