(WZZM) - Is Michigan U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow the worst senator Michigan has ever had? That's the bold claim made in her challenger's latest web-only ad. Republican Pete Hoekstra's ad went live on September 10th. Working with www.factcheck.org , WZZM TV "truth tested" several of the ad's claims.
The bold claim that Stabenow is the "worst" senator in Michigan history can't be proven false or correct, since it is an opinion, according to Eugene Kiely of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, the non-profit, non-partisan operators of www.factcheck.org through the University of Pennsylvannia.
The ad, entitled "Meet the Parents" makes a reference to Stabenow having over 70,000 earmarks - the process where a Senator inserts spending for a specific project in their state as part of a larger, overall spending bill. According to Citizens Against Government Waste, a private non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission it is to eliminate waste in the federal government, Stabenow did not insert 70,000 earmarks. Rather, her votes throughout her tenure in the Senate were on budgets that, in total, contained those earmarks, originating from the entire Senate, including Republicans. Therefore, the claim is misleading at best, false at worst.
Hoekstra's commercial also claims $800 billion dollars in stimulus spending "didn't really stimulate anything." That's false. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, "job losses would have been more severe during the recession without the stimulus.
The ad also references Obamacare - calling it the biggest tax increase in history. Factcheck says that is an often-cited, but misleading claim. The Annenberg Center says that while the new health care law may be the biggest historical tax increase in raw dollars, several tax increases just since 1968 were larger as percentages of the economy, or in inflation-adjusted dollars.
13 On Your Side will be fact checking more political ads in Michigan throughout the election season.