On Monday, the Washington Post published an article from their resident fact checker Glenn Kessler that highlighted an awful campaign ad from Georgia Republican David Perdue. Kessler ‘awarded’ the ad Four Pinocchios, meaning it is a complete and total lie. Perdue is running against Democrat Michelle Nunn for Georgia’s open US Senate seat. Polls show the race is extremely tight, which is especially concerning for Perdue as Georgia is a reliably red state that went overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney in 2012. Also, the seat is currently held by the retiring Saxby Chambliss, a Republican. With the GOP putting on a full-court press to take over the Senate, losing a Republican seat in a red state would put a severe crimp in those plans.
Due to the pressure Nunn is placing on Perdue, his campaign decided to run a pair of ads this month claiming that Nunn and the organization she used to run, the Points of Light Foundation, funneled money to terrorists. Perdue’s campaign is claiming that Nunn and her campaign have already admitted to such, and they are only repeating what her campaign plan states. Of course, her campaign plan says nothing of the sort. What it did point out is that Republican opponents may try to falsely claim that Points of Light gave money to terrorists due to some money being directed to Islamic charity funds. Which is exactly what Perdue is doing.
After the first ad was released by Perdue’s campaign, Neil Bush, son of former President George H. W. Bush and current chairman of Points of Light, called on Perdue to renounce the ad. The younger Bush was furious with Perdue for insinuating that the organization his father started would have anything to do with funding terrorism. Instead of renouncing the ad, Perdue doubled down on it and ran another one against Nunn, adding in additional comments about ‘amnesty’ and claiming that Nunn’s support of immigration reform would bring terrorists like ISIS to our front doors. One would think this made Neil Bush even angrier, considering his dad and mom gave Perdue an endorsement this month.
Below is the second ad:
Media outlets in Georgia have already ripped Perdue and his dishonest ad. Kessler decided to analyze the campaign ad and see how far it deviated from the truth. He found that it was as bad as one could imagine. His research shows that the organization in question that was the recipient of funds that were directed by an organization tied to Points of Light, Islamic Relief USA, has no ties to terrorist organizations. Also, even if it did, Points of Light never actually provided funds directly to IRUSA. Instead, IRUSA received donations directly from eBay sellers via MissionFish, an arm of Points of Light that helped direct funds to charities by providing a list of approved tax-exempt organizations. MissionFish is now actually part of eBay, as Points of Light sold it in 2011.
After giving a detailed account why Perdue’s ad was dead wrong and grossly dishonest, Kessler provided the following conclusion on why he gave the ad Four Pinocchios:
This is a pretty smarmy ad, so one can see why Neil Bush is demanding it be withdrawn. The Perdue campaign tries to give itself cover by saying it was quoting from a Nunn campaign document, when in fact that document simply said this would be an expected campaign attack.
On top of that, the claim that Nunn “funded organizations linked to terrorists” is utterly bogus. She did not fund any such organizations; neither did Points of Lights. Islamic Relief USA has no links to terrorism and in fact has been embraced by the White House — which is why eBay continues to list it as an approved charity.
Atlanta-area journalists have already said it is one of the worst ads they have seen this year. Besides Neil Bush, other Republicans like John McCain have called on Perdue to pull the ad due to Perdue’s claim that the Senate’s immigration bill will make it easier for terrorists to come into the country. Now, Kessler has helped bring it national shame and scorn by labeling it a whopper of a lie. It seems likely that all of the negative attention both ads have received will only hurt Perdue in the long run. If Perdue were a smart man, he’d apologize now for the ads, pull them, and fire his campaign manager.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).