Fact Checker: Daines, Walsh campaign ads make pointed claims


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Two front runners for Montana's U.S. Senate seat seem to be looking past the primary.

Democratic Sen. John Walsh and Republican candidate Rep. Steve Daines recently launched TV ads aimed directly each other.

The newest Walsh ad alludes to an earlier Daines ad that attacks Walsh for voting to raise the debt ceiling.

"His very first vote was to raise the debt ceiling," the ad says.

Walsh's ad fires back, "His ad fails to mention that Daines himself has voted twice to increase the debt ceiling."

According to the U.S. House of Representatives website, the Walsh ad is true when it states Daines voted two times to raise the debt limit.

The first -- a bill in January of 2013 that suspended the debt ceiling. The second bill raised the debt limit while ending the government shutdown last October. Both were temporary raises.

The ad also claims Daines sent jobs overseas.

"Daines worked for years in China helping an American company build factories there," it says.

According a Daines spokesperson, Daines worked as an operations manager for Procter and Gamble in China from 1991 to 1997. He helped the company expand to Chinese consumers.

The ad states next, "at the same time, Daines' company was firing American workers here."

Cited on the advertisement is a 1993 Philadelphia newspaper article explaining a huge P&G company overhaul streamlining operations. P&G cut thousands of jobs -- but not just in the U.S. It shut down plants around the world.

Daines then launched a TV ad targeting Walsh, making claims against his likely opponent.

The commercial starts, "John Walsh's cronies apologized for false attacks on Steve Daines."

It cites a Bozeman Daily Chronicle article on an apology issued by the Montana Democratic Party for attacks against Daines during his 2012 run for the U.S. House.

A mailer claimed Daines used tax dollars and shipped jobs overseas during his time at RightNow Technologies.

RightNow founder Greg Gianforte sued and demanded the apology.

"John Walsh supported Obama's stimulus, sending our jobs and our tax dollars to China," the ad next states.

This refers to a stimulus passed in 2009, well before Walsh was a senator. But a 2009 press release by Sen. Jon Tester, when Walsh served as Montana's Adjutant General, lists him as speaking out in favor of the stimulus, which benefited active military and veterans.

So what about the part where it says sending jobs and tax dollars to China?

The commercial cites an article from the Washington Post, about the claim made by the GOP. It states the Obama campaign didn't dispute that some stimulus dollars went to foreign products.

However, a Walsh spokesperson contends that he would never support legislation to ship jobs overseas.

The ad finishes, "Steve Daines is the only candidate who has created jobs in Montana."

A Daines spokesperson said Daines helped create jobs while working at RightNow Technologies in Bozeman. But, he's not the only candidate with a business background.

Democrat John Bohlinger owned a women's clothing store for decades, and Democrat Dirk Adams owns and operates a large ranch.

Daines and Walsh are widely expected to be the favorites in the primary election and move on to make it on November's ballot.

When it comes to campaign fund-raising, Walsh has $700,00 in his war chest while Daines has about $2.2 million on hand.

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