Politics & Government

Dole campaign ad omits some details

What the ad says


Clip from an earlier ad attacking Dole: “‘I'm telling you Liddy Dole is 93.' ‘93?'”

Narrator: “Does Kay Hagan think we believe that? Elizabeth Dole's got firepower. She just received the Best of Congress award. She saved our military bases and thousands of jobs – saved our farmers – and gave sheriffs tools to fight illegal immigration.”

Person on a park bench: “She's dedicated her life to helping us.”

Dole: “I'm Elizabeth Dole, and I approved this message.”


The ad begins with a clip from an anti-Dole ad. It moves to a profile image of Dole and then images of people involved with the military, farming and law enforcement.

What the record shows

Anti-Dole ad: The opening clip is from an ad paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, an independent group legally prohibited from coordinating with Kay Hagan's campaign. It is not a Hagan ad, though Hagan has made the same criticism.

Dole at 93: The “93” criticism refers to an annual study conducted since 2005 by the Congressional data service Knowlegis. The study ranks members of Congress on their power.

After scoring in the middle of the pack the first two years, Dole's rating plummeted to 93rd when Republicans became the minority in the Senate in 2007. Her rating was also low due to fewer mentions in the news media and service on less powerful committees on banking and armed services. Dole's campaign says those committees are important to North Carolina, home to a number of banks and military bases.

Best of Congress: Working Mother magazine named Dole one of the “Best of Congress” in August. The award is not a general look at effectiveness. It measures lawmakers' support for issues important to working mothers, including medical leave, and their support for “family-friendly” policies in their own offices. Fifty lawmakers applied for the award. The magazine gave it to 24 of them.

Military bases: The U.S. Department of Defense announced a round of base closings and other changes in 2005 as part of a regular program begun at the end of the Cold War. The multi-year process is designed to be insulated from political pressure.

Some N.C. leaders had feared the loss of thousands of jobs – something that never materialized. A number of politicians, including Dole and Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, have claimed credit for North Carolina's relative success, but there is no way to quantify how much each helped.

Farmers: In 2004, Congress and President Bush approved a buyout of the Depression-era system of price supports – or quotas – for tobacco leaf. Cigarette companies financed the buyout, passing on the costs to consumers.

The buyout is designed to put $9.6 billion into the pockets of quota owners and growers over 10 years. Some farmers have used the money to reinvest in the crop, while others chose to change crops or retire.

Dole supported the buyout during her 2002 campaign and was a vocal advocate in Congress, along with other senators from tobacco-growing states.

Sheriffs: Since 1996, the federal government has offered a pilot program for sheriff's deputies to investigate illegal immigration.

Though immigration enforcement is typically handled by the federal government, the goal of the program is to start deportation proceedings on illegal immigrants who are arrested for crimes like drunken driving and other nonimmigration offenses.

In North Carolina, a handful of sheriff's offices, including Mecklenburg and Wake counties, have signed up for the program, which Dole has promoted.

The federal government pays for the cost of training deputies in immigration enforcement and grants sheriff's offices access to immigration records.

Is the ad accurate?

The ad implies incorrectly that Hagan's campaign sponsored the ad attacking Dole. It also omits any detail on the “Best of Congress” award, and there is no way to quantify her role in helping the state's military bases. Otherwise, it is accurate.