Checking the footnotes

It’s the last week of a very long campaign, so nothing can go unanswered – even an ad’s footnotes.

The Republican Jewish Coalition on Tuesday released the last in its controversial series of advertisements attacking Barack Obama for his foreign policy views and advisers, which will appearing in Jewish newspapers later this week. The ad was essentially a round-up of the “greatest hits” from the previous eight ads, asking “Concerned about Barack Obama? You should be,” calling the Democratic presidential nominee “dangerously naive,” and charging that “history has shown that a naive and weak foreign policy has resulted in tragic outcomes for the Jewish people.”

But what caught the National Jewish Democratic Council’s eye was the first footnote in the ad (which has since been corrected). In backing up the assertion that Obama opposed legislation labeling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organziation, it cited an article from the Annenberg Institute’s FactCheck.org entitled “McCain misrepresents Obama’s stand on naming Revolutionary Guard as terrorists.”

The RJC claim in the ad is accurate – Obama did vote against the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which would have designated the Iran Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group. The Factcheck.org article, though, points out that Obama has said he does favor designating the IRGC as a terrorist group – and supported another piece of legislation that would have done so – but felt the Kyl-Lieberman bill was “saber-rattling” against Iran.

“Oops,” said Brooks when the mistake was pointed out to him Tuesday afternoon. He said it was a simple “clerical error” that “doesn’t change the underlying facts” on the issue. The RJC does “comprehensive research” on both sides of the positions it takes, he said, and the citations got switched. Less than two hours after he spoke to JTA about it, the ad posted on the RJC’s Website had already been corrected.

Meanwhile, the NJDC, which called the RJC “remarkably sloppy,” has directly responded to the RJC with its final ad of the election cycle. Entitled, “The Facts about the Republican Jewish Coalition’s dishonest campaign,” the advertisement responds directly with “the truth” to RJC ads which it says falsely attacked Obama’s positions on the IRGC and Jerusalem – and concludes with the tagline “The RJC Should Be Ashamed.”

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