Friday, July 1, 2011

Halter’s protest visit clouded by own political history

October 6, 2010 by Shawn Millerick  
Filed under HP_Featured, News & Politics

Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter, who failed to unseat Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln in a negative intraparty squabble this cycle, plans to visit New Hampshire on Thursday for a press conference hosted by MoveOn.org. The press conference is designed to protect election advertisements Halter calls “deceptive.”

Halter's ties to Move On, Soros still cloudy

But if his own recent political history in any indication, Halter may not be MoveOn.org’s best messenger.

In his failed bid for the Senate Halter was aided by millions of dollars in support from labor unions. After Halter’s loss an Obama White House official told Politico, “Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members’ money down the toilet on a pointless exercise.”

Halter’s own ads, and those of outside groups supporting his candidacy, were called false and misleading by the news media and independent sources.

In an article for the non-partisan FactCheck.org by Melissa Siegel titled, “Halter Questioned On Misleading TV Ad,” Halter was called to task for distorting the words of his opponent Sen. Blanche Lincoln:

MSNBC reporter Andrea Mitchell, who interviewed Halter, called the ad “the biggest controversy right now.” Mitchell showed a clip of “Pauline,” which features an elderly woman claiming that Lincoln has threatened to cut Medicare and Social Security if re-elected. “FactCheck.org, among other critics, say that this is very misleading,” Mitchell said to Halter. “That you have spliced together, in this ad, different answers from Blanche Lincoln and that she never specifically talked about cutting Social Security or Medicare.”

FactCheck.org further accused Halter of misleading seniors. FactCheck.org wrote, “In the final week of Arkansas’ June 8 runoff campaign for the Democratic Senate nomination, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter is running a misleading ad against Sen. Blanche Lincoln that accuses her of “cutting Social Security” and threatening to cut Medicare and Social Security in the future.”

FactCheck.org also called to task one of Halter’s largest supporters, SEIU, which was running millions in advertisements on his behalf. The independent organization said that the SEIU ads attacking Lincoln on Halter’s behalf “play fast and loose with its facts,” in a story titled “Labor Falsely Attacks Lincoln. Again.”

Halter profited handsomely from a company called WebMethods which he sat on te board of and which moved its research and development operations to India. While Halter now denies the charge he benefited from outsourcing, the Washington Post reported that WebMethods “opened its 58-person India Development Center in Bangalore, and chopped millions of dollars from its budget as a result.”

The Post further reports, “Since opening its Bangalore center in 2004, WebMethods saved $5 million in research and development expenses, which totaled $40.2 million for the year ended March 31, according to the company’s annual report. The decrease, the company said, ‘was primarily the result of increasing the proportion of our product development staff in Bangalore, which has lower personnel and operating expenses than our product development centers in the United States.’”

While Halter now sees himself as a public crusader against deceptive campaign tactics, he has never fully explained his relationship to MoveOn.org and its generous benefactor George Soros.

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