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Reality Check: Ad Slams Franken’s Record Voting In Line With Obama

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A new television ad from Minnesota Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden accuses Democratic Sen. Al Franken of voting almost 100 percent of the time with President Obama.

The ad, with a humorous tone, ties Franken to Obama with a very Minnesotan insult: a Franken look-alike struggling to back his boat into the water.

“Al Franken keeps missing the mark. Badly,” the ad says. “Franken has a 97 percent voting record with President Obama.”

McFadden’s claim is true. In every year since 2008, Franken overwhelmingly voted with the Democrats and President Obama. But Franken’s support for Democratic bills is not unusual: in fact, it’s similar to voting records of Democrats and Republicans alike.

For McFadden, the votes reflect Washington gridlock.

“I think there has been an extreme level of partisan ship, and I think the President’s path has been the wrong path,” McFadden said.

But if party-line votes are a crime, the entire Minnesota delegation could be arrested. In the last two years, according to a Washington Post review of Congressional votes: Senators Franken and Amy Klobuchar supported Democratic bills 99 and 98 percent of the time, respectively.

For Minnesota Democrats in the U.S. House, four out of five are in the 90 percent-plus range:

Keith Ellison: 94%
Betty McCollum: 93%
Rick Nolan: 90%
Tim Walz: 91%

The only Minnesota Democrat below 90 percent support for Democratic bills supported by President Obama is 7th District Congressman Colin Peterson who stands at 68 percent.

Minnesota Republicans are no different than Democrats in their support for party-backed legislation. Representatives Michele Bachmann, John Kline and Erik Paulsen all supported GOP bills 92 percent of the time, or more:

Bachmann: 95%
Kline: 96%
Paulsen: 92%

Because of President Obama’s low approval ratings, Republicans are making the same “Obama rubberstamp” claims in Senate races all over the country.

And for Democrats in Minnesota, these claims come with some irony. They’re the same attack strategy they used against Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in 2008, tying Coleman to the then-unpopular Republican President George Bush.

One anti-Coleman ad from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee claimed, “Senator Norm Coleman is — The Running Man,” said the ad, which resembled a Hollywood movie trailer. “Trapped in a world where he voted with George Bush 86% of the time.”

Coleman lost the U.S. Senate seat to Franken by just 312 votes.

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:

McFadden Ad: “Missed The Mark

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee 2008 Ad: “The Running Man

Washington Post Review of Congressional Votes: House | Senate

Roll Call: Democrats Supporting President Obama

National Republican Senate Campaigns Focusing On Democratic Support for President Obama:

http://www.nrsc.org/blog/meet-president-obamas-rubberstamps
http://www.gop.com/news/research/they-can-run-but-they-cant-hide/
http://www.nhinsider.com/press-releases/2014/4/3/nrsc-shaheen-obamas-rubber-stamp-on-energy-policy.html
http://www.ncgop.org/kay-hagan-claims-moderate-record-proves-otherwise/

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