American Crossroads' Attack On Sen. Bennet Is Full Of Distortions

September 03, 2010 4:49 pm ET

The "shadow RNC" — Karl Rove's American Crossroads GPS 527 group — is back with another misleading ad attacking yet another incumbent Democrat.  This time, in their attack against Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), American Crossroads GPS takes aim at the Recovery Act's effect on Coloradans.  Not only does the group get several facts wrong, they mislead viewers on the goals of stimulus projects and fail to point out that without the Recovery Act our economic outlook would be much worse.

American Crossroads' Sen. Michael Bennet Ad

Coloradans are in debt to Washington, deeply in debt.  Big spenders like Michael Bennet are spending an average $2.5 billion a day.  Wasting billions on pork and the failed stimulus program. [On screen: "Research on Ants" "Effects of Cocaine on Monkeys"]  The result?  Over 100,000 Colorado jobs lost, bankruptcies reaching a five year high, and our national debt could break this country.  Now Bennet's admitted, "In my view we have nothing to show for it."  Ya think?  Call, tell Bennet to stop spending. [American Crossroads GPS via YouTube, accessed 9/3/10]

"100,000 Colorado Jobs Lost"

Losing any number of jobs is a matter for concern, but Colorado simply hasn't lost as many as American Crossroads insists.

Stimulus Bill Passed Congress In February 2009.  The Boston Globe reported: "After a frenzied month of legislating, the House and Senate produced an economic stimulus bill estimated yesterday to cost $787 billion, with $281 billion in new tax cuts and the remainder in one-time spending on infrastructure investments, expanded unemployment benefits, and other programs.  It passed both chambers on a largely party-line vote, winning the support of no Republicans in the House and three in the Senate."  [Boston Globe, 2/14/09]

Colorado Has Lost 14,000 Jobs Since February 2009.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Colorado's unemployment rate was 7.3% in February 2009 with a reported 198,884 Coloradans out of a job.  In July 2010, the unemployment rate was 8.0% with a reported 213,304 Coloradans out of work.  [, accessed 9/3/10]

Ant Research & "Cocaine Monkeys"

Ant Research Money Created Jobs And Funded "Big Impact" Study.  In a "Truth Test" article addressing the validity of the American Crossroads ad on Michael Bennet, Denver NBC affiliate 9 News reported:

However, the two examples cited in the commercial don't remotely account for billions in government spending. This is the first time in the Truth Test's decade in existence that it has critiqued "research on ants" and the "effects of cocaine on monkeys." We are pleased to bring you this information, as it was illuminating to us as well.

The first example dealing with ants is in reality a $1.9 million grant to the California Academy of Sciences to send researchers to the Southwest Indian Ocean Islands and east Africa to chronicle some of most exotic of the 22,000 ant species worldwide. The stimulus money created 16 jobs in the process. The principal researcher on the project said, "Consider that the collective weight of all the ants in the world is equal to the weight of all the world's humans. It's a big subject with a big impact. That alone makes ants worthy of scientific study." (Source: [, 9/2/10; in text citation original]

Cocaine Monkey Research Conducted To Determine Best Treatments For Human Cocaine Addiction.  As the Washington Post's Greg Sargent reported:

Turns out, however, that this money is actually being spent on research into how to treat drug addiction in humans. And the Obama administration is going on record forcefully defending the project, sending over a statement pointing out that drug addiction is a rather serious problem and wondering whether GOP critics would prefer that we experiment on humans instead...

This research on cocaine monkeys is meant to determine how the parts of the brain that use glutamate change during and after exposure to cocaine. The idea is that knowing this will help develop more effective treatments for cocaine addiction -- in people, not in monkeys. [Washington Post, 8/5/10]

"Nothing To Show For It"

9News: Bennet Quote Taken Out Of Context.  In a "Truth Test" article addressing the validity of the American Crossroads ad on Michael Bennet, Denver NBC affiliate 9 News reported:

QUOTE: Now Bennet's admitted: "In my view, we have nothing to show for it."

TRUTH: It's true that Bennet said this, but it's taken out of context.

The point Bennet has made regularly on the campaign trail is that, unlike in the Roosevelt era when groups like the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed most famously the Cherry Creek Dam and Red Rocks Amphitheater to help build out of the Great Depression, this country has not done that in its efforts to emerge from the current economic recession.

Posted below is the transcript of what he told The Denver Post on the issue last month and a theme he has also articulated in numerous interviews with 9NEWS.

"On top of everything else, we have a staggering debt of $13 trillion on this country's balance sheet and, in my view, nothing to show for it. We have not invested in our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our wastewater systems, our sewer systems. We haven't even maintained the assets that our parents and grandparents built, much less invest in the infrastructure we're going to need in the 21st century." (Source: Denver Post, July 25, 2010: [, 9/2/10; in text citation original]

The Fact Remains: Without The Stimulus, The Economy Would Be In A Worse State

CBO: The Recovery Act Created Jobs, Lowered Unemployment, And Boosted GDP.  According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, through the second quarter of 2010, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:

  • Raised the level of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent,
  • Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points,
  • Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million, and
  • Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2.0 million to 4.8 million compared with what those amounts would have been otherwise. [CBO, 8/24/10]

Reuters: The Recovery Act May Have "Prevented The Sluggish Economy From Contracting" Between April And June.  According to Reuters

The massive U.S. stimulus package put millions of people to work and boosted national output by hundreds of billions of dollars in the second quarter, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday.

CBO's latest estimate indicates that the stimulus effort, which remains a political hot potato ahead of the November congressional elections, may have prevented the sluggish U.S. economy from contracting between April and June.

CBO said President Barack Obama's stimulus boosted real GDP in the quarter by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent, adding at least $200 billion in economic activity. [Reuters via ABC News, 8/24/10]