Ad Watch: Ose was a ‘hero,’ but many others were, too

Seeking a return to Congress, Sacramento County Republican Doug Ose has released a radio ad branding himself a hero of the taxpayer. Here’s the text of the one-minute radio spot and an analysis by Christopher Cadelago of The Bee Capitol Bureau:

Narrator: Doug Ose. Small-business owner. Fiscal conservative. Ose’s running for Congress to cut spending, replace Obamacare and create jobs for middle-class families.

Ose: President Obama is spending America into bankruptcy. We’re more than $17 trillion in debt. We’ve got to reduce the size of government. Let’s get serious about cutting spending.

Narrator: Americans for Tax Reform called Ose a “hero of the taxpayer” because he’s fought for lower taxes.

Ose: I’ve always stood up for taxpayers. Eliminated the marriage penalty, increasing the child tax credit, cutting the death tax. I’m proud to have voted for one of the largest tax cuts in history.

Narrator: Now Ose is fighting to repeal Obamacare so families can keep their doctors and small businesses can start hiring again.

Ose: Obamacare’s a costly disaster, and I’m 100 percent committed to repealing and replacing it.

Narrator: Doug Ose. A taxpayer hero fighting for us.

Analysis: Ose is running to unseat Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, and the ad is meant to reintroduce him to area voters as a fiscal conservative. One of the ways it aims to do so is by trumpeting Ose as a “hero of the taxpayer,” an award he mentions on the stump and in his first television spot.

While his statement is true, and the ad accurately characterizes his votes, it lacks context. In four years that records show Ose earned the “hero” award, it was given to House members at least 712 times.

The honor was provided annually by Americans for Tax Reform, the anti-tax group led by Grover Norquist. ATR has for years offered a pledge for officials and candidates to sign in which they promise not to raise taxes. A 2008 news release from Ose’s office states he signed the pledge as a first-time candidate in 1998, though ATR did not respond to repeated requests for information after reviewing a list of questions from The Bee.

After winning the seat, Ose was listed as a signer in 1999, and again in 2000 and 2002. He took the pledge when he unsuccessfully sought another seat in 2008.

ATR has ceased issuing scores to lawmakers, but Ose averaged a 90.5 percent score from the group over his six years in Congress. He never scored lower than 85 percent, the apparent threshold for being named a “hero” or “friend.” In that time, for example, former GOP Rep. Wally Herger, R-Chico, averaged a score of 98.25 percent while ex-Rep. John Doolittle, R-Rocklin, scored 87.5 percent. Lawmakers with low scores were considered “enemies” of the taxpayer.

Ose earned the “hero” award at least four times, and possibly as many as six.


(X) True

Somewhat misleading

Mostly misleading

Outright lie