The New York Times, which according to McCain advisers is 150 percent “in the tank” for Barack Obama, reports today on its front page about the proliferating distortions that Obama has deployed in his advertising. Most of these claims, and their factual problems, have been covered before in Swampland–the Spanish-language immigration ad, the Social Security spot. There is one additional problematic ad, which I first heard about Tuesday from a Republican in Ohio:
A radio advertisement running in Wisconsin and other contested states misleadingly reports that Mr. McCain “has stood in the way of” federal financing for stem cell research; Mr. McCain did once oppose such federally supported research but broke with President Bush to consistently support it starting in 2001. . . .
Mr. Obama’s campaign did not announce it was running its new radio spot that said Mr. McCain “has stood in the way, he’s opposed stem cell research.” That ad concluded, “John McCain doesn’t understand that medical research benefiting millions shouldn’t be held hostage by the political views of a few.”
The radio advertisement correctly asserts that Mr. McCain’s running mate, Ms. Palin, is against the use of federal funds for stem cell research. But since 2001, Mr. McCain has consistently supported the financing. Last year, he voted for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which Mr. Bush vetoed, and in 2004 signed a letter to the president with 57 other senators, urging him to change his policy on stem cell research. The campaign has said Ms. Palin will defer to Mr. McCain on the matter should they win the White House.
As backup for the advertisement’s implication that Mr. McCain is against stem cell research financing, Mr. Vietor of the Obama campaign pointed to a recent report in The Los Angeles Times that Mr. McCain had told evangelical leaders he was open to learning more about their concerns, though the article stated, “McCain did not offer any indication he would change his mind.”