, Salem, MA


October 27, 2010

Campaign ads fact check: Tierney opponent called 'kook' who'll kill mortgage tax credit

Republican Bill Hudak is going to court over a campaign ad.

He has asked a Superior Court judge to order Congressman John Tierney to stop using a television spot that suggests Hudak wants to "shift the tax burden from the wealthiest to the middle class" and "eliminate the home mortgage deduction."

A hearing on Hudak's lawsuit is scheduled for today. Before a judge decides, The Salem News scrutinized Tierney's entire ad to test the accuracy of what the Salem Democrat claims about his opponent.

Claim: "Newspapers call Bill Hudak 'toxic' and a 'poisonous kook.'" "Toxic" is attributed to an Aug. 20 column by Salem News Editorial Page Editor Nelson Benton. "Poisonous kook" is attributed to an Aug. 13 column by Scot Lehigh in The Boston Globe.

Fact: Benton began a column that dealt primarily with gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker's apparent struggle to decide how far he should go in appealing to his party's right wing this way: "Boxford's Bill Hudak appears to be the front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination for the 6th District seat in Congress. But some early missteps — a lawn sign comparing President Obama to Osama bin Laden and comments suggesting the president might not have been born in the U.S. — have turned him toxic in the view of some."

In the third paragraph of a column critical of Hudak, Lehigh wrote, "But there are pretty clear signs that Hudak has wandered well north of the border that separates a hyperbolic political hopeful from a poisonous, insidious kook."

Claim: "Hudak's yard signs liken the president to a mass-murdering terrorist."

Fact: Hudak has admitted that he put out a sign prior to the 2008 election that showed then-candidate Barack Obama made to look like terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. "So America, you want change?" the sign said. "Just wait."

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