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Reality Check: Conservative group attacks Baldwin in ad

Published On: Sep 20 2012 07:06:36 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 20 2012 07:47:57 PM CDT

A national conservative group has joined the advertising fray in the race for U.S. Senate.

Republican Tommy Thompson hadn't yet been on the airwaves in Madison, so a third party is weighing in for him, using a screaming Tammy Baldwin to drive home its claims.

Crossroads GPS is paying for the ad. It is a 501(c)4 organization, which is a special kind of nonprofit that's allowed to keep its donors a secret. It was started by former George W. Bush strategist Karl Rove and has already spent more than $14 million against Democrats this year.

"Tammy Baldwin is just out of touch with Wisconsin," the announcer says in the TV ad. "She thinks Obamacare didn't go far enough in putting government in control of our health care."

WISC-TV found this is true. Baldwin has always made health care a centerpiece of her campaign platforms for Congress. She also has testified to the fact that she strongly supports a single-payer health care system where the government would pay for care administered by private sources and that she would support a public health care option as part of that plan. Both of those things go farther than the president's health care law, which primarily requires everyone in the country to have health insurance.

"(She) wants Medicare spending cuts decided by unelected bureaucrats," the announcer says.

WISC-TV found this claim needs clarification. There is a provision in the president's health care law, which Baldwin supported, that would put an appointed advisory board in charge of cuts to Medicare. But the board would only be convened if Medicare spending grows at a certain rate, which Congress could prevent, or it could also block the board's changes from taking effect.

"And Baldwin supports more taxes on middle-class families," the announcer says.

WISC-TV found this claim is true. The ad cites a vote from 2011, where Baldwin voted for the "Progressive Caucus" alternative budget in the U.S. House. That budget would have rolled back all of the Bush-era tax cuts, including those on lower tax brackets, and gotten rid of the cap on payroll taxes. Supporters said it would have gotten rid of the deficit by 2021.

Thompson started running an ad in the Madison market on Thursday evening.

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