Alexi Giannoulias launched a new campaign ad Wednesday that prominently features President Obama. In the ad, Obama dishes out some nice accolades: “Alexi’s my friend…I know his character. You can trust him ... On his very first day in office, Alexi enacted sweeping ethics reforms ... Alexi’s not funding this campaign with federal or lobbyist money. Not a dime. He’s not doing this to help the lobbyists."
Is Obama on the level about Alexi? Verdict: Truthish.* Here's why.
When Obama talks about ethics reform, he’s referring to an executive order Giannoulias signed after becoming state treasurer, prohibiting himself from accepting donations from banks, treasurer’s office employees or contractors doing business with the state.
It’s also true that Giannoulias isn’t funding the campaign with money from federal lobbyists. But then, that’s one reason Obama came to Chicago -- to bail out Giannoulias’s underfunded campaign. It may also be a reason Giannoulias cleaves closer to Obama than most politicians: he needs his fundraising ability.
So while Obama's words ring true, voters should take notice that Giannoulias has little choice but to cling to the President's ever-shortening coat tails.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Cheddar Curtain, Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold was nowhere to be seen when Obama attended a Labor Day festival in Milwaukee. Feingold was marching in a parade in Janesville.
And as Fox News points out:
In contrast to Giannoulias, some high-profile Democratic candidates are distancing themselves from the president in their new campaign ads. In Pennsylvania, an ad for Jason Altimire (D) features a woman saying "I like that Jason Altimire is not afraid to stand up to the President." In South Dakota, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D) uses an ad to highlight her vote against Obama's health care law. "It wasn't right for South Dakota... or any kids' future," narrates Herseth Sandlin in her ad.
But this is Illinois. Barack Obama may not play in Pittsburgh or Sioux Falls, but he still plays in Peoria.
So Giannoulias gets closer to the president than any other Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. And by closer, we mean that except for approving this message, Giannoulias doesn’t even speak.
* Welcome to Ward Room's "Truthish or Falsey" series, in which we judge politicians' tenuous grasp of hard facts and tendency to cast unfounded aspersions. Each day, we'll examine one campaign snipe -- whether from a broadcast ad, internet video, accusation made in public or via interview, and policy statement -- and judge that statement "truthish," "kinda truthish," or "way falsey." The larger the untruthishness, the larger the cartoon nose. We hope you enjoy. And judge. Harshly.