News 4 fact-checks Spence campaign ad


by Craig Cheatham / News 4

Posted on September 27, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 12:02 AM

( Republican Dave Spence is running against Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. And in one of his latest ads, Spence repeatedly connects Nixon to President Barack Obama.

The ad asserts, “Nixon pushed Obama’s failed stimulus in Missouri.”

In repeated interviews, including C-SPAN, the source cited in the ad, Governor Nixon did push the stimulus, and celebrated the fact that Missouri claimed to have the first shovel ready stimulus project in the country. So, this claim is true.

The next claim made by the Spence campaign is that Nixon “admitted our kids will bear the burden of that debt.”

In the same C-SPAN interview about the stimulus plan, the governor admitted that Missouri kids and grandkids will pay that debt off.

So, not only is the ad’s claim accurate, it’s also within the context of talking about the stimulus. This claim is also true.

The spence ad continues focusing on the stimulus, saying that 45,000 Missouri jobs were lost under Nixon.

The ad cites the bureau of labor statistics as the source for the claim that 45,000 jobs were lost. We examined the labor statistics data for employment from February 2009 through last month and found that Missouri did lose nearly 45,000 jobs. So, this claim is true.

The final Spence camp claim is, “our economy trailing every state in the Midwest, worst in the region. Barack Obama and Jay Nixon, they failed Missouri, together.”

The ad cleverly picks a line out of an article and uses that as its source, so the reference to what was said in the article is accurate, but Missouri does not have the worst economy in our region. St. Louis University economist Jack Strauss says the Illinois economy is worse by almost any widely accepted measure.

Missouri’s unemployment rate is 7.2 percent, which is much lower than Illinois, and Illinois is also considered one of the most financially troubled states in the country.

Since the stimulus took effect in Missouri, the state unemployment rate has plunged nearly 2 percentage points, a huge drop. During the same period, the unemployment rate in Illinois actually went up.

The campaign ad creates a false impression of the economic situation in Missouri and the stimulus’ apparent impact on Missouri. We could say this claim is misleading, but I’m calling it false.

Friday, we’ll look at an ad from the Nixon campaign.