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Reality Check: Magnum Challenging Baldwin's Record

Published On: Oct 27 2004 09:39:35 AM CDT
Updated On: Oct 28 2004 05:55:28 AM CDT

In our Reality Check series, News 3 examines two TV ads from Republican Dave Magnum challenging Democrat Tammy Baldwin on her record.

Magnum has two TV ads dubbed, "Did You Know?" Armed with claims about Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and a clipboard, Magnum goes up to people on the street.

In the TV ad Magnum states, "Did you know that Tammy Baldwin has voted for massive defense cuts?" "No, I didn't but I wouldn't be surprised. That's horrible. That's not keeping us safe," said people in the ad.

However, News 3 found the ad needs clarification. Magnum cites the National Defense Authorization Act of 2003. Baldwin did vote against it, but she voted against increasing defense spending. It was not a vote to cut defense.

"I have had some votes to point out my objections to new weapons systems that I don't believe are warranted in our post-Cold War period, but I support the troops and I have voted time and time again to make sure they are equipped," said Baldwin.

Later in the TV ad, Magnum makes a similar claim.

"Tammy Baldwin voted for massive intelligence cuts before Sept. 11. That is very scary. Why would she do that? That's not helping us at all," Magnum said.

The claim is misleading. Baldwin did vote for an amendment to cut intelligence spending in 1999. However, to say it's "massive" is misleading because intelligence budget numbers are secret.

"Did you know that Tammy Baldwin has never passed a bill or amendment in Congress? Why is she there, what is she doing? What's the point of her being there," Magnum said.

This claim is false. First, Magnum is arguing Baldwin has never written a bill that's become law. That is true, but News 3 found one amendment that Baldwin authored that became law. It requires Immigration and Natural Services to provide legal council for alien children.

"To me the goal is success, achieving a victory for the people I represent. I don't necessarily need to have my name on the marquee," Baldwin said. "I'm not going to have to try to grab onto the tail of somebody else's comet and have that pull me through to re-election."

Baldwin's campaign pointed News 3 to four laws in which Baldwin "co-authored." Her name is not at the top of the bill, but she had a hand in crafting it.

It's also worth pointing out you can have influence over legislation without having your name at the top of the bill. Think about McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform. Only McCain is listed as the author, yet obviously Feingold played a big part in that law.

In the second TV ad, Magnum makes a startling claim.

"Did you know that Tammy Baldwin voted against tax cuts 100 percent of the time," Magnum said.

This statement is false. News 3 found at least five cases and there are others. In addition, Magnum has even admitted he's wrong, sort of.

"Where I come from, I learned rounding in grade school for one thing. Whether it's 100 percent or 99 percent, we can't count on Tammy for tax cuts," Magnum said.

However, Magnum's final claim in his TV ad is true.

"Tammy Baldwin has never passed a bill to cut health care costs," Magnum said.

It's true because no Baldwin bill to cut health care costs has ever become law. However, Baldwin's campaign points to a 2000 bill, in which the congresswoman offers an amendment to expand a children's health care program to low-income families, but it never became law.

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