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Reality Check: Santorum Ad Attacks Romney

Published On: Mar 29 2012 08:00:33 AM CDT   Updated On: Mar 29 2012 09:37:36 AM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

After being far outspent in the early days of the Wisconsin presidential primary sprint, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum is firing back against Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney.

"Obama supported the Wall Street bailouts, so did Romney," the announcer says in the ad.

WISC-TV found this is true, although it should be noted that Romney was not in Congress, so he didn't actually cast a vote for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP plan. But since then, he has defended the decision that helped prop up the banks.

"Obama gave us radical 'Obamacare' that was based on 'Romneycare,'" the ad says.

WISC-TV found this needs clarification. The federal affordable care act is widely seen as having the same structure as the statewide health care plan signed into law by Romney while he was governor of Massachusetts, while using different financing measures.

The federal government taxes drug makers and some other health care companies, while Massachusetts leveraged federal funds to pay for its plan.

The ad makes a particular note on the screen that taxpayer-funded abortions are provided in Romney's plan. They are, but not because of his law, which doesn't mention abortions.

A Massachusetts Supreme Court decision in 1981 found that state-provided health care plans were required to cover abortions, so Romney had no choice but to do so.

"Obama is a liberal on social issues. Romney once bragged he's even more liberal than Ted Kennedy on social issues," says the ad.

WISC-TV found this is misleading. Romney ran against Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1994.

The evidence Santorum provides for this claim is Romney writing to a group of gay and lesbian Republicans in 1994, saying he could "be a more effective leader" than Kennedy on gay rights issues, not that he was more liberal than the senator. Romney now says he supports a federal amendment to ban gay marriage.

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

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