Lies and embellishments about candidates' military records have practically become common fare this election season. First was Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who never served in Vietnam while in the Marine Reserves, despite saying he did. Then Rep. Mark Kirk claimed he won the Navy Intelligence Officer of the Year award and his website said he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, when in fact he served during the war - not in it.
Enter Robert Bentley, whose new ad for his gubernatorial campaign seems to teeter between a straightforward account of his military service and an attempt to embellish his record.
In the ad, an announcer's voice says that Bentley "put himself through medical school, served his country and healed troops wounded in Vietnam," juxtaposed over a picture of Bentley in military fatigues with the words "Hospital Commander, Vietnam War' beneath them.
Bentley's military service is described on his campaign website: "In 1969, during the Vietnam conflict, Bentley joined the United States Air Force where he was commissioned as a captain, and served as a general medical officer. He was stationed at Pope Air Force Base at Fort Bragg where he became hospital commander near the end of his tenure. While in the service as a general medical officer he treated many military dependants, active duty service members, and wounded soldiers. He is a life member of Vietnam Veterans of American and a member of the American Legion."
According to an AP report, "Some callers to talk radio shows have complained that they thought he served in Vietnam."
AL GOV, Bentley, "Back to Work"
BENTLEY: "Growing up the son of a saw mill worker, I understand what really matters to people. It's faith, it's family, and it's a job." ANNCR: "Robert Bentley put himself through medical school, served his country and healed troops wounded in Vietnam." BENTLEY: "We'll put Alabama back to work, starting with 5,000 good paying jobs, tax cuts for businesses who hire. Until Alabama reaches full employment, I will not take a salary as governor, not a penny. The people of Alabama are hurting. And we need a doctor."
AL GOV, Byrne, "Record"
ANNCR: "What do you really know about Robert Bentley? Legislator Robert Bentley voted to allow this teacher serving a 10-year prison sentence to receive taxpayer-paid benefits totaling $164,000. Bentley refused to oppose double-dipping, allowing legislators to receive payment and taxpayer benefits without doing any work. Politician Robert Bentley voted for taxpayer benefits for a convict in prison, double-dipping for legislators at no-show jobs. Robert Bentley - more liberal than you know"
CA GOV, anti-Whitman (California Working Families) "Spinning"
ANNCR: "When you think of spinning you think of this" (clip of cycling) "or this" (clip of ballet dancing). "But on Wall Street, spinning was a scheme, now illegal, where the well-connected got exclusive access to hot stocks. On the board of Goldman-Sachs, Meg Whitman made a fortune spinning stocks, at the expense of small investors. Then when a judge found she'd exploited her own shareholders to enrich herself, Whitman had to pay back millions. We can't afford a governor who puts herself before us, no matter how she spins it."
CO GOV, pro-Buck, (Americans for Job Security), "Back to Work"
Washington is a cesspool. Filled with political insiders who think more government is the solution. Not Ken Buck. Ken Buck stands up to the insiders in both parties. Ken Buck's conservative plan to get Colorado back to work? No to bailouts. No to debt. No to big government spending. Yes to low taxes for job creation that helps families. Call Ken Buck. Tell him to keep fighting for smaller government and policies that support taxpayers.
FL GOV, McCollum, "Profit Over Principle"
SCOTT IN AD CLIP: "And as CEO, I take responsibility and learned from it." MCCOLLUM: "Rick Scott, let's get real. While your hospitals were profiting from abortions, I voted 100% pro-life. You cashed in helping illegals send American dollars to Mexico. I led the conservative fight to secure our borders, and against amnesty. And while you pocketed $300M by ripping off taxpayers, as attorney general, I recovered record millions from Medicaid fraud. You put profit over principle, and that's wrong."
GA GOV, Barnes, "State Buildings"
ANNCR: "Roy Barnes has a plan to put people to work immediately." BARNES: "I know it won't solve all of our problems, but I can put 10,000 people to work. Electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers--by retrofitting all of the state buildings for energy independence or efficiency. The best part is the energy savings will pay for the improvements." WORKER: "I think a paycheck would be great." ANNCR: "Roy Barnes: No on the job training necessary"
GA GOV, Baker, "Determined"
BAKER: "The future of Georgia will be determined right here. To compete in a new global economy, these kids need more time in school, because there's a lot more to learn. So we'll make kindergarten mandatory, expand after-school activities, bring our school year to the average of the industrialized world - and we'll pay for it by adding bingo to Georgia's lottery. Georgia's kids can beat anybody in the world, if we just give them the education it takes to win"
TN GOV, Ramsay, "Give 'em the Boot"
RAMSEY: "You might be wondering: when I say I'll give Washington the boot, what does that mean? Well, I'll tell you. When they try to force the state government to get bigger, I won't let them do it. When they want to make tax dollars pay for abortion, I'll stand in the way. And when they pass unconstitutional mandates like Obamacare, I'll take them to court. Tennessee needs a governor with common sense, a conservative plan and guts to get the job done." ANNCR: "Ron Ramsey. Governor"
CT SEN, McMahon, "Regular Job"
MCMAHON: "Before I decided to run for the Senate, I had a regular job (WWE clip). Okay, maybe not a regular job. I was the CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment. A soap opera that entertains millions every week, and everyone gets in on the action. That isn't real, but our problems are. Connecticut families are hurting. We're losing jobs because Washington politicians are spending money we don't have. Last year, Connecticut was 47th in job creation. We can do better, we've got to do better. It's time we rein in runaway Washington spending, pass a balanced budget amendment to control that spending long term, and then stop the income tax increases scheduled for the end of this year. We can't stop the spending and fix the mess if we send another big government politician to Washington. It's time to shake things up, it's time for something different. I'm Linda McMahon, and I approve this message."
KS SEN, Moran, "False Attacks"
ANNCR: "Another Tiahrt false attack. He's trying to make you to think Jerry Moran votes with Pelosi. Ridiculous. Jerry fights Pelosi AND Obama. Introduced legislation to repeal Obamacare. Voted against the bailouts and stimulus. And Jerry Moran votes with Republicans over 90% of the time. Don't let Tiahrt's deceptive ads fool you, Jerry is the consistent conservative. And unlike Todd Tiahrt, Jerry actually lives here." MORAN: "I'm Jerry Moran and I approve this message"
MO SEN, "The Show Me State is Next!" (radio)
PURGASON: "Hi, this is state Senator Chuck Purgason, running for the Missouri US Senate seat. To be perfectly blunt, the Washington insiders want you to believe I can't win - bless their little hearts. Yet in Utah, the voters defeated the entrenched Washington insider, the now-former Senator Bill Bennett (sic). And in Nevada, the voters trounced the Washington insider with Sharron Angle, who had no money and her family running her campaign. And how about Kentucky. Rand Paul took their version of Washington insider Roy Blunt to the cleaners. We're the Show-Me State, and these states just showed us how it's done. Now its our turn. If you want a choice in November, you've gotta help me win in the Republican primary on August 3rd." FEMALE ANNCR: "Paid for by Purgason for US Senate. Because integrity does matter." PURGASON: "I'm Chuck Purgason, and I approve this message"
NH SEN, Ayotte, "False"
ANNOUNCER: For his very first ad, Paul Hodes launches a false attack. OFFICER TIM PATTERSON: Kelly Ayotte was a tough Attorney General. FRM. GOVERNOR STEVE MERRILL: For someone with Kelly’s outstanding record of openness, transparency, integrity, these kinds of claims just don’t wash. OFFICER NATHAN BOUDREAU: I think people are trying to score cheap political points. ANNOUNCER: Hodes voted for trillions in new spending and debt, plus pork barrel earmarks. But Kelly Ayotte is a tough conservative who will cut spending. KELLY AYOTTE: I’m Kelly Ayotte and I approved this message.
CT GOV, Malloy, "Connecticut Families"
MALLOY: "This is the street where my six brothers and my sister and I learned how to be kids. Growing up, we had what we needed, a safe neighborhood, parents with secure jobs, and that's just what we need today. As mayor of Stamford, I helped create nearly 5,000 new jobs and brought crime down 63%. As governor, I'll fix the economy by investing in green energy and high-tech companies. These are tough times, no doubt about it. Connecticut families need help. That's why I'm running for governor. I'm Dan Malloy, and I approve this message"