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Reality Check: Examining Obama General Election Ad

Published On: Jun 26 2008 10:16:34 AM CDT
Updated On: Jun 27 2008 07:34:04 AM CDT

Presidential candidates are trying to get votes by touting their records and policies in campaign ads.

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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama has now joined the airwaves in Wisconsin with a political ad. In the ad, he claims some legislative victories, but a WISC-TV analysis found he might be taking more credit than he deserves.

For the first part of the ad, Obama discusses his family and values, a blue-collar history and patriotism, all things many pundits believe he needs to emphasize to bring in working-class voters.

"That's why I passed laws moving people from welfare to work, cut taxes for working families," he says in the ad.

WISC-TV found that needs clarification. Obama cites laws on which he worked in the Illinois General Assembly.

The first is a bill that changed the Illinois public aid code, a welfare-to-work measure on which Obama was a lead sponsor.

The second bill created an earned income tax credit in the state of Illinois. Obama was not a lead sponsor on the bill but joined colleagues before the bill's passage.

"And (Obama) extended health care for wounded troops who'd been neglected," the ad says.

A WISC-TV analysis found this statement misleading. Obama is talking about the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, which is an overarching bill that authorizes military funding. It was passed by the Senate on Jan. 22, but Obama never voted on it.

Sen. Dick Durbin declared him "necessarily absent." The vote was the same day as the Democratic debate in South Carolina.

Obama's campaign said he authored a part of the bill that had to do with medical treatment of veterans, but he missed the vote.

Sens. John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton also missed the vote.

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