New Defenders Ads: "George" and "Abe"
The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund released two new ads this week for the "Pombo In Their Pocket" campaign.
The first is entitled, "George."
And next, we have "Abe."
Also, in an undated press release, Rodger Schlickeisen, President of the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, responded to Hank Shaw's review of the first two ads that appeared in the Stockton Record on August 18.
To the Editor:Okay, so, he doesn't agree... Now, to Shaw's criticism of the allegations in the ads, Schlickeisen writes:
Hank Shaw’s “ad watch” on Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund’s recent TV spots needs its own fact check. The column does exactly what journalists often criticize political ads for doing – telling only part of the story, misstating the facts and (I hope inadvertently) simply making things up.
Our two recent ads, called “Principal” and “Office,” criticize Rep. Richard Pombo for his unethical conduct and abuse of his office. Unfortunately, Shaw’s review is off base on just about every substantive issue.
First, Shaw reviews our criticism of Pombo’s 2003 family vacation to seven national parks on the taxpayer tab by giving Pombo’s spin on the trip, but leaving out a critical fact that completely undermines Pombo’s furious efforts at damage control.So what did Hank Shaw leave out in his review?
Pombo himself called the trip a family vacation on his official government website. Here are his exact words: “This August, my family and I rented an RV and set out to explore the West. We spent two weeks on vacation, stopping along the way to enjoy the splendor of our national parks.” Of course Pombo left out the fact that he billed the taxpayers for his family’s RV. [emphasis added]Facts. So inconvenient.
I like this line from Pombo: "... stopping along the way to enjoy the splendor of our national parks." Might as well do it while you can because if Pombo has his way, these places will sell like hot cakes.
Second, Shaw fails to accurately describe Pombo’s proposal to sell 15 national parks and have the National Park Service sell naming rights to visitors’ centers and trails. Shaw’s says Pombo’s committee staff was “charged with saving money” during the budget process and that is how the proposal came about. That is not the real story. As was widely known at the time, Pombo made his legislative proposal because he was frustrated that Congress had not passed legislation to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The park sale was intended as a threat by Pombo to bully those in Congress who disagreed with him about drilling in the fragile coastal plain of the Arctic refuge. Shaw’s assertion that the staff quickly dismissed the proposal is disingenuous. Pombo and his staff quickly retreated on the proposal for the simple reason that the public reaction was swift and overwhelmingly negative. In fact, the Stockton Record itself joined the chorus, calling the proposal a “wacky idea” in a scathing editorial.Oh, what a callous thing to do. To use Pombo's own words against him. How low will politics go?
Shaw also states that it is “patently false” to say the parks would be sold to developers who are some of Pombo’s largest campaign supporters. Really? Perhaps Shaw didn’t read Pombo’s proposed park sale legislation because it very specifically instructs the Secretary of the Interior to “...make such lands available for sale or for energy or commercial development by 2010.” If you’re going to direct the sale of parks for commercial development it seems rather obvious you’re going to sell them to developers. Moreover, Pombo has taken money from every major real estate and development trade group in Washington, from the Association for Commercial Real Estate to the National Association of Home Builders. In all, he has taken over $350,000 from individual developers and their PACs. Clearly Pombo intended that the parks be sold to developers and developers clearly support him. We stand by the statement in our ads. [emphasis added]
What about that taxpayer-funded set of wheels Pombo rolls around in?
Shaw’s final critique of our criticism of Pombo’s taxpayer funded Lincoln is off-base in so many directions it is hard to catalog. Shaw claims we said Pombo leases a car that “is more expensive than the cars used by most other members of Congress.” We don’t make such a claim or ever compare him to others. We said he used “taxpayer dollars to rent a luxury Lincoln.” The lease is a fact and federal records document it. Pombo’s Lincoln has a base price of $39,285, certainly classifying it as “luxury” car in most people eyes. Moreover, if Pombo leased a four-door midsized sedan through the Government Services Administration, which he could have done, his lease would be $258 a month. His current lease on the Lincoln is $590 a month. [emphasis added]Saving money by spending it like a drunken sailor. I think Pombo has this new breed of conservatism down cold.
But wait, there's more:
But Shaw’s critique of our ad is flat out wrong in other ways. He says that Pombo’s Lincoln is cheaper than 70 other members of Congress, making it cheaper than “most.” This is simply ridiculous math. There are 435 members of Congress and “most” have declined to use taxpayer money to lease personal cars. How can Mr. Shaw not count those several hundred members who don’t use taxpayer funds for a car, and note that that is certainly cheaper than Mr. Pombo’s $590 per month? By any accounting, Mr. Pombo has one of the most expensive leases in Congress and is spending more on a car than over 80% his fellow members of the House. [emphasis added]C'mon, the cost of his Lincoln to taxpayers is more expensive than only 80 percent of House members. That means it is cheaper than 20 percent. You say the glass is 80 percent empty, I say it is 20 percent full. Potato, potaeto; tomato, tomaeto...