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Today in Political Attack Ads: Everyone has a sad

Today in Political Attack Ads: Everyone has a sad

Attack ads for thee and not for me

In this edition of Today in Political Attack Ads, no one is handling the mudslinging too well.

Cruz campaign asks stations to stop airing anti-Cruz attack ad

Oh, boo hoo. Politics is a blood sport. Time for everyone to put their big boy pants on and stop whining about attack ads.

Politico reports:

Ted Cruz’s campaign sent a letter to TV stations across South Carolina and Georgia on Tuesday, demanding that they stop airing what it calls “a false attack ad” from the conservative super PAC American Future Fund that goes after the Texas senator on national security.

“The ad falsely claims ‘Cruz proposed mass legalization of illegal immigrants.’ Ted Cruz has never introduced, outlined, or supported any policy that would give legal status to illegal immigrants,” wrote Eric Brown, general counsel to the campaign, in the letter shared with the media. “Indeed, quite the opposite, Ted Cruz led the fight in Congress against legislation written by Senator Rubio, among others, that created legal permanent status for millions of people in the country unlawfully. At least two fact-checks have evaluated this claim and determined it to be false, and others found no evidence to support it.”

American Future Fund has spent heavily against Cruz in Iowa and in South Carolina, painting the senator in the latest spot as soft on immigration enforcement and “weak” on national security, including by tying him to Bernie Sanders and President Barack Obama. POLITICO reported last week that the group, which is overseen by veteran GOP operative Nick Ryan, is spending $1.5 million on broadcast and cable stations through Saturday, the day of the Republican primary.

“Cruz proposed mass legalization of illegal immigrants,” the anti-Cruz group’s spot says. “He even praised the traitor Edward Snowden. Ted Cruz’s talk is cheap. His national security record is weak.”

In its statement, the Cruz campaign urged the stations to consider their respective statuses as FCC-licensed entities in deciding whether to can the advertisement.

Supreme Trust

Attackee: Donald Trump
Attacker: Ted Cruz

So much drama over this one. Trump threatened to sue Cruz if he didn’t stop running this ad, but said he’d sue over Cruz’s eligibility to run for president. Cruz then dared Trump to sue him.

From the LA Times:

Cruz says in a new ad that Trump can’t be trusted to make a Supreme Court pick that will be conservative enough.

Trump has threatened legal action, to which Cruz responded Wednesday: Bring it on.

“Mr. Trump, you have been threatening frivolous lawsuits for your entire adult life,” Cruz said at a midday news conference in Seneca.

“If you want to file a lawsuit challenging this ad, claiming it is defamation, file the lawsuit.”

Rubio Attack Ads from Pro-Cruz group pulled by station

Rubio’s campaign also complained about PAC ads they found a little too mean for their liking.

Sayeth the lawyers:

Television stations in South Carolina have pulled an ad from Stand for Truth, the “super PAC” supporting Senator Ted Cruz, after a legal review.

The ad, titled “Sanctuary,” was a version of an ad the group ran in Iowa, criticizing Marco Rubio for his record on immigration. It used the December attacks on San Bernardino, Calif., to stoke fear of terrorists sneaking into the country illegally, and cited the immigration deal Mr. Rubio pushed for in Congress in 2013 as evidence he worked to “allow sanctuary cities.”

“We had our legal folks review it, and it was decided that this needed to be pulled and substituted,” Randy Ingram, the general manager of WBTW in Myrtle Beach, S.C., said, although he couldn’t recall the specifics of the legal team’s decision.

He said other stations in the Media General umbrella, which includes WCBD in Charleston and WSPA in Greenville/Spartanburg, also pulled the ad.

The decision was made on Friday, and the ad was pulled from rotation on Saturday.

“The Sanctuary ad aired statewide on both television and digital in Iowa with no objection, receiving hundreds of thousands of views on digital,” Eric Lycan, an attorney for the group, said in a statement. He attributed it to a complaint from the Rubio campaign, and said “the ad has continued to air across the Palmetto State, and will resume on the station in question.”


Attackee: Pro-Kasich PAC
Attacker: Jeb Bush

Mud covered Jeb seems a little out of place in an ad called “Newt.”

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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In the US, anybody can say anything about a public figure and get away with it, because our Supreme Court wrote rather broadly in Times v. Sullivan. It is high time that precedent was limited.

In Europe, if you do not sue in response to a defamatory statement, people are entitled to presume it’s true. In the US, people are free to presume it’s true, regardless of any rebuttal.

Why not call them out? We might wind up with more useful public discourse.

    Daiwa in reply to Valerie. | February 17, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    I strongly disagree. We can’t (and shouldn’t) police speech, especially about people running for public office. The burden should always be on the public to sift wheat from chaff, not some 3rd party arbiter (especially government). YMMV.

      Valerie in reply to Daiwa. | February 17, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      I am not suggesting that the government should police speech in any way.

      I am suggesting that public figures should not be wholly deprived of a civil cause of action for libel.

        Daiwa in reply to Valerie. | February 17, 2016 at 9:00 pm

        Thanks for the clarification. However, they are not ‘wholly deprived’ of recourse. The bar for proving malice/intent is just set much higher when people put themselves in the public sphere. Libel actions by ‘public figures’ are not barred, they’re just harder to win.

        And to defend, for that matter: see Mann v. Steyn, et al.

    inspectorudy in reply to Valerie. | February 17, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    I sympathize with your view but you are wrong to think that the government can ever be the deciding judge in public discourse. Just look at the clown Trump and you can see that every time he is caught in a lie or a contradiction he yells “I’ll sue”. Well sue Don or STFU. Honest men/women are not fearful of lies. Only the deceivers are afraid of the debate that must follow a lie if it is to be believed. Watch Rubio and Trump pile on Cruz and both yell to the highest mountain that Cruz is a liar. What you won’t hear is their acceptance of a one on one debate with Cruz over their claim. The government is so full of liars that anyone who would expect it to stand for the truth is an idiot.

One, it’s proper to ask that the ads be pulled. That also is politics. The Democrats do it all the time and have it acted upon.

Two: Political speech must be protected, and Times v Sullivan is not the only or first ort last word on it. We have to go back to the Alien and Sedition Acts, and the Philadelphia Aurora. Not only must we do so to protect free speech, but because we need to grow ADULTS able to operate wheat from chaff, and the mockers and curs from the honest.

    inspectorudy in reply to bvw. | February 17, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    How is it right that the ads be pulled and in your next sentence you aver that adults must be able to decide truth from fiction? You can’t have it both ways at the same time. If you stop the liars with force and then tell the public that they must be adults who can tell the liars from the honest then you have made a mockery of the law.

At least Trump threatened to sue Cruz. Cruz threatens to pull stations licenses–how Hilary of him.

DINORightMarie | February 17, 2016 at 6:13 pm

Kemberlee Kaye, your pro-Rubio/Trump (and anti-Cruz) bias is showing…..again.

Ted Cruz is COMPELLED to refute, to challenge, and to pursue all legal means to stop defamatory, demonstrably false ads from being broadcast. Lying outright and smearing someone falsely is not normal “politics”, or, as you call it “a blood sport”….it is the antithesis of what politics should be all about – and THAT is part of the CHANGE we all wanted when Obama pushed that now-infamous, pap-slogan “Change we can believe in” meant! People are SICK OF THIS TYPE OF CR@P!! It’s one thing to call names (and appear petty and childish – even as a bully), but to defame someone’s character with DEMONSTRABLY FALSE ads is indeed something that can be legally challenged.

Also, it is NOT an “attack ad” if someone is USING THE WORDS OF THAT PERSON to expose their REAL record, instead of their false and/or misleading campaign rhetoric.

No doubt a Harvard-Law grad (who apparently graduated near or at the top of his class) – one who has practiced law and presented many cases over the many years he has practiced in both public and private roles – knows what he’s talking about, and if he has grounds to make such legal assertions.

It’s not about needing to “put [his] big boy pants on” – it’s about low-life, bombastic blowhards slinging defamatory MSM-broadcast lies………to NOT challenge it, to NOT attempt to show the stations their liability in their broadcasting of these defamatory ads, is to let it be assumed to be true.

Ted Cruz +1, Kemberlee Kaye 0

Disappointing to see another attack Ted Cruz article disguising the bolstering Marco Rubio agenda of the author.

    snopercod in reply to Lady Penguin. | February 17, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Hey, go easy on Kemberlee. She’s a good writer with a great sense of humor. Chill out.

      Lady Penguin in reply to snopercod. | February 18, 2016 at 1:38 am

      I thought I was quite polite. LI only has “good writers” – I’m just saying that her all her Republican primary articles are heavily slanted against anyone but Rubio. She is entitled to promote her candidate, but she’s doing it in a backdoor way.

      Personally, I’d prefer that the writers here at LI not bring their GOP candidate/campaign biases into their writing. LI is one of the few sites not eaten up with the “crazy.”

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Lady Penguin. | February 18, 2016 at 2:16 am

        I would say the KK’s preferences do come through, but I think “heavily slanted” is over the top.

        That they inspire passionate discussion is a good thing. The nice thing about LI is that we can disagree full-throat with the article authors here and there are no repercussions.

        I do not think that the authors here have an obligation to write every political article from a “fair and balanced” perspective. Speak your peace. Maybe you’ll change her mind. She’s pretty young, I think, and perhaps still a bit malleable. 😉

People complaining about mudslinging would do well to read some of the campaign rhetoric in the 19th century. That stuff would curl your hair, and make paint peel ~

I can verify that the “Sanctuary” ads have NOT been pulled. We watch Jeopardy every night on a SC station and they’re still there, along with many others. Frankly, we can’t wait until Saturday so we can get back to the usual “colon health” or tampon ads.

The tone of the article is confused to me but I will give this young woman the benefit of the doubt that she did not mean to say that Cruz should just suck it up and not ask for blatantly false ads be pulled. Trump and Rubio have both sunk to the lows that we all despised during the obama/Romney campaign. We all know that Romney would have been a much better president than the POS we have now. What we saw was a decent man who did not respond in kind to the obama onslaught of attack lies. Cruz is a lot of things but his record is consistent and steady for the past twenty years. What has been the course of Trump and Rubio? Don’t bother to answer because I know you will not speak the truth.