Dino Rossi Makes Desperate, Dishonest Attacks On. Sen. Murray

October 23, 2010 3:05 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Dino Rossi, the Republican Senate candidate in Washington, is pulling out all the stops in his uphill climb to unseat Sen. Patty Murray (D). During an interview on Fox News last night, Rossi made two utterly dishonest claims in an attempt to paint Murray as extreme. First, he alleged that Murray was "the deciding vote" on the health care reform law. Then, he declared that Murray is the "most liberal" member of the Senate. 

What I found when I started this campaign — most people didn't know much about Patty Murray. You know, they really didn't know that she'd been there 18 years, so I started running ads that said she'd been there 18 years, or — she's number four in leadership is why you see every picture with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi or — you know, she was the deciding vote for — in favor of the health care bill and the deciding vote against the balanced budget amendment in '95.

And the one that they really didn't know is that she's ranked the most liberal senator in Washington, D.C., by the nonpartisan National Journal. And that's to the left of self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders from Vermont. So as people find this out, we're finding more and more people coming to our side.


Karl Rove's American Crossroads previously labeled Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) the "deciding vote" on health care reform, which would contradict Rossi's assertion if the premise weren't so ridiculous on its face. Sixty senators voted to pass the Affordable Care Act; all of them were equally important. Moreover, Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) — not Murray or Bennet — were the final obstacles to passage.   

Of course, it wouldn't make sense anyway for the "deciding vote" on a contentious bill to come from the most extreme person on either end of the political spectrum.  But, as it turns out, Rossi's contention that Murray is ranked the "most liberal" current member of the Senate is also false. While Murray did top the National Journal's "most liberal" list in 2008, she did not crack the top 10 in the most recent edition (subscription required). In reality, Murray's voting record made her the 19th most liberal senator, and on economic issues she ranked 33rd.