Ex-Virginia gov McAuliffe fact checked for making false claims in ad against GOP challenger Glenn Youngkin

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Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe was smacked with a fact check on Friday for making false claims in a campaign ad against his Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin.

The ad, entitled “C’mon Glenn,” came under scrutiny by the Washington Post fact checker for its “misleading” editing that makes it appear that Youngkin is praising McAuliffe’s handling of the economy in 2017, when McAuliffe previously served as Virginia’s governor.

“But before he ran for office, he was a big fan of Terry McAuliffe and his record as governor,” the 39-second ad claims.

The spot’s soundbites were broken down by the fact checker Adriana Usero, who wrote that McAuliffe’s ad “seeks to portray Youngkin as two-faced, decrying in the campaign that ‘our commonwealth is in the ditch’ while actually praising McAuliffe years before the investment guru decided to enter politics.”

“While the McAuliffe campaign can point to moments when Youngkin approved of the economy under the current Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, the ad relies on selective editing to suggest Youngkin was equally praiseworthy of McAuliffe, who served as governor from 2014 to 2018,” Usero continues.

The source of the soundbites comes from a April 2017 Export-Import Bank panel discussion on the global economy.

“We have one out of 50 states that’s doing very well, and particularly in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” one of the soundbites says.

The piece highlighted that the “ad is crafted to make it appear as if Youngkin said this as a complete sentence” and revealed the first half of the sentence in the spliced footage happens almost a half-hour apart from the second half.

Additionally, the quote of Youngkin saying “if you want to put a new plant down,” Virginia is the place to put it, was taken out of context by McAuliffe’s ad, as well.

“The ad suggests that Youngkin is touting Virginia as a place to invest because of McAuliffe,” Usero wrote. “Instead, the full context shows that Youngkin made clear he said that, lightheartedly, because he’s a native of Virginia.”

It was also revealed that the McAuliffe ad “leaves the impression that Youngkin is admiring McAuliffe’s handling of the economy” by splicing together the soundbite in the ad that says “Governor, I want to come back to the role you’ve played in developing Virginia’s economy. How do you do it?”

“Instead, the ‘how do you do it’ line is part of a line of questioning to help listeners understand how a governor does his job,” the fact checker wrote. “In full context, the comment isn’t as admiring.”

McAuliffe’s campaign defended the ad to the Post, with spokesperson Renzo Olivari claiming to the publication that Youngkin “repeatedly praised Virginia’s economy” under the former governor’s leadership.

“Any way you slice it, Glenn’s meaning is clear: Virginia’s economy thrived during Terry’s administration, and no amount of posturing by Glenn now can change that,” Olivari said.

The McAuliffe campaign also defended the ad by pointing to recent comments by Youngkin in a Business Insider article where the Republican candidate said Virginia “had a ‘high-growth tech industry, a growing health care sector, and an established manufacturing presence,’” while under the leadership of sitting Gov. Ralph Northam.

“These remarks could be offered as evidence that Youngkin now is criticizing the state of Virginia’s economy for political purposes,” Usero wrote. “But it is not evidence that he was ever a “big fan” of McAuliffe and his record as governor. These comments in 2019 and 2020 were made when Virginia had a different governor.”

“It’s another tough day for Terry and the truth. Terry McAuliffe will stop at nothing to deceive Virginians, whether it is false claims about inheriting a deficit, deceptively editing Glenn’s statements, or making inaccurate statements about the investment in Virginia’s education,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter told Fox News in a Friday email.

“The bottom line is McAuliffe can’t be trusted,” she added.

McAuliffe’s campaign earned three Pinocchios for the spliced ad spot. 

Previously, the Democrat has come under fire due to his inaccurate statements made over the years regarding the state’s budget, prompting Politifact and the Washington Post to collectively call him out five different times.  

The McAuliffe campaign did not return Fox News’ request for comment.

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