Nonpartisan Web site offers analysis of candidates' TV ads

Posted: April 17, 2008

The gloves are off in Pennsylvania, and Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are running TV ads arguing over who's selling out consumers to the oil companies.

Both sides are shading the truth, according to an analysis by FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan Web site run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at Penn.

Obama and Clinton have similar records on energy and environmental issues, though they differ in a fundraising practice and on one key congressional vote.

Clinton attacked first, disputing Obama's claim in a TV ad that he doesn't "take money from oil companies."

Clinton accurately noted that no one can accept money legally from corporations, that Obama gets contributions from oil-company employees, and that two oil executives were Obama "bundlers," raising more than $50,000 each for the campaign.

Obama's new spot says he "doesn't take a dime from oil-company PACs or lobbyists."

Clinton also condemns Obama's 2005 vote for "the Bush-Cheney energy bill . . . called a pinata of perks and the best energy bill corporations could buy."

The quotes are accurate and in context, taken from stories reporting that the bill had been condemned by environmental and consumer groups.

But it's also true that many Bush-Cheney proposals that troubled those groups were removed before final passage, and 25 Senate Democrats voted for it. Clinton was among 19 Democrats who voted no.

Obama said that he voted for the bill "reluctantly, as a first step" toward energy independence.

Obama's ad criticizes Clinton for "misleading negative ads," and says that "it's Barack Obama who's taken on the oil companies" on fuel efficiency, alternative energy and tax breaks.

In truth, both candidates have fought for higher efficiency standards, and they rate nearly identical lifetime scores from the League of Conservation Voters.

For FactCheck's full analysis, see "Oily Words" at www.factcheck.org. *

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