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Reality Check: Romney Splices Santorum's Words In Recent Ad

Published On: Mar 31 2012 01:32:20 AM CDT   Updated On: Apr 01 2012 03:45:28 AM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

Political attack ads continue to flood the airwaves before Tuesday's Republican presidential primary.

Challenged by his opponents as a flip-flopper, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is trying to make the same claims against challenger Rick Santorum on birth control issues.

"In the Senate, Rick Santorum voted for Planned Parenthood," the Romney TV ad said, showing a clip with Santorum saying, "I support Title X."

WISC-TV found that this needs clarification. First, Title X does not only fund Planned Parenthood. It is a federal family planning grant program, started in 1970 under President Richard Nixon, now totaling $300 million.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization, as little as 13 percent went to Planned Parenthood clinics in 2006. A much larger portion of the funding goes to state and local health departments and community health centers.

Then the ad said, "Now (Santorum) says differently," playing a clip with Santorum saying, "I opposed Title X funding. I've always opposed Title X funding."

WISC-TV found this is misleading. The next few clips shown in the ad are from a CNN debate in February, which are selectively edited.

This is what Santorum actually said next: "But it's included in a large appropriation bill that includes a whole host of other things, including the funding for the National Institutes of Health, the funding for Health and Human Services and a whole host of other departments. It's a multi-billion dollar bill."

The ad makes it seem like Santorum contradicts himself.

"Except he (Santorum) gets caught," the ad said, playing a clip in which Santorum said, "I have a personal moral objection to it. Even though I don't support that I voted for bills that included it."

What isn't shown in the ad is how Santorum explains his decision.

"What I did, because Title X was always pushed through, I did something that no one else did; Congressman Paul didn't. I said, 'If you're going to have Title X funding you're going to have something called Title XX, which is going to provide funding for abstinence-based programs,'" Santorum said in the CNN debate.

To be clear, Santorum didn't propose Title XX. It was started in 1981, but Santorum has supported funding it.

"Rick does this a lot," the ad said, playing a clip in which Santorum said, "It was against the principles I believed in, but, you know, when you're part of the team sometimes you take one for the team."

WISC-TV found this misleading. Viewers are led to believe that this last part of the ad is more about Title X. In fact, in this section Santorum was explaining a vote on the No Child Left Behind bill, a vote that he now says was a mistake.

If you have an idea for a Reality Check, send it to us at realitycheck@channel3000.com.

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