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Keller @ Large: Truth test for TV ads in one of New Hampshire's most intense congressional races

Keller @ Large: Truth test for TV ads in one of New Hampshire's most intense congressional races
Keller @ Large: Truth test for TV ads in one of New Hampshire's most intense congressional races 03:00

BOSTON -- It's a season of intense political races in New Hampshire, and in the First Congressional District incumbent Democrat Chris Pappas is facing a tough challenge from Republican nominee Karoline Leavitt, a former press aide in the Trump White House. So we decided to put some of their most recent TV ads to the Truth Test

"Chris Pappas votes with Pelosi 100% of the time," claims an attack ad from a PAC tied to House GOP leadership. And that's true. But then the ad gets specific: "100% on tax increases, wasteful spending, more debt."

Those assertions are backed up by fine print on-screen citations that mostly refer to Pappas votes for the American Rescue Plan, last year's massive COVID relief package that sent $35.5 million to New Hampshire. The many voters who benefitted from that may not see it as "wasteful."

In a current Pappas attack ad, he zeroes in on Leavitt's position on abortion rights. "Here in New Hampshire, we keep the government out of our homes and out of our doctor's offices. But Karoline Leavitt? If she gets to Congress she'll pass a nationwide abortion ban even in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother."

Why press that issue? In the most recent New Hampshire polling, more voters cited abortion rights as their most important issue than any other, even the economy.

"Chris Pappas is lying about my position on the issue of abortion," said Leavitt last week during an appearance on Jack Heath's "Good Morning New Hampshire" podcast. "I will not vote on this issue on the federal level in Congress, it belongs to the states, so he is lying."

No wonder Leavitt is singing a different tune now than she did on the same program back in May, when she said: "I support the overturning of Roe v. Wade, I am a pro-life Republican and I will always vote that way when I'm elected to Congress."

But we couldn't find documentation of Pappas's claim that Leavitt opposes abortion exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's own opposition research says only that Leavitt supports overturning Roe, which they say "lets states" ban abortion without exception.  

There are 15 states that have either passed or are considering abortion laws that discard those exceptions, which are widely supported by voters. But the federal ban proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham that Pappas is trying to link Leavitt to lately does not do away with the exceptions.

One other thing jumped from the Leavitt ads - she accuses the Democrats of trying to "drive America into socialism" and illustrates the point with a big red hammer and sickle imposed on the screen.

Oops. That's the internationally-known symbol of communism, not socialism. And there's a big difference.

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