Claim Check: Chris Murphy Gets “Real” In Ad on Voting Record and Jobs

by Categorized: Claim Check, Data, Politics Date:

Now that we’re a solid week past the U.S. Senate primary, the two winners have had a chance to shake off their brief victory dances and get down to the business of airing nasty ads about each other.

Linda McMahon, the Republican candidate, was first out of the gate, with a spot asserting that U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, her Democratic opponent, “didn’t show up for the job you paid him to do.” Now Murphy has responded with an ad titled “That’s Real” in which he states: “Linda McMahon will do and say anything to get ahead.”

Those are perhaps the most memorable lines in each ad, and surely the pitches that most raise the ire of the target’s supporters. But as eyebrow-raising as they may be, those lines are mere noise for fact-checkers – worthy of note to gauge the tone of the campaign, but in the end, subjective assertions that do not lend themselves to verification or negation.

So as with McMahon’s ad earlier this week, we’re focused only on factual assertions as we evaluate Murphy’s ad, which makes claims about his voting record and his work to obtain funding for a Waterbury industrial site. Those claims, we found, stand up to scrutiny.

McMahon’s ad focused on Murphy’s low attendance rate at committee hearings. In response, Murphy states in his ad that “My voting record is 97 percent.” That’s true.

According to GovTrack.us, a non-partisan group that tracks Congressional votes, Murphy missed 131 of the 5,034 votes taken since he joined Congress in 2007. That’s a voting record of 97.4 percent, in line with the ad’s claim.

A year ago, Murphy’s cumulative record was even higher – 98.5 percent. But that has slipped recently, and in the weeks since the end of the July Fourth recess – which were also the weeks leading up to last week’s primary — Murphy missed nearly a quarter of the 105 votes cast, according to GovTrack.us. But for his entire Senate candidacy since his announcement in January 2011, Murphy has maintained a 96 percent voting record.

In any event, the ad is accurate in saying his overall voting record is 97 percent.

Most of the ad cites Murphy’s work to secure funding to clean up the Waterbury Industrial Commons, a 29-acre site operated for decades by the Chase Brass & Copper Co.

“I’m focused on creating jobs,” Murphy says in the ad. “Like when I convinced Congress to invest in cleaning up this industrial site, putting 75 people to work.”

During World War II, the metals plant operated around the clock manufacturing war munitions, but after the company vacated the property in 1980, Waterbury was left with an environmental mess.

In 2009, Murphy and Sen. Joseph Lieberman sponsored an earmark to the Defense Authorization bill to include $15 million for the Waterbury Industrial Commons Redevelopment Project. The bill passed with the funding intact and was signed by the president, and Murphy can fairly take credit for it. Of course, one man’s “investment” may be another’s wasteful earmark, but while the McMahon campaign has suggested the $15 million wasn’t worth it, that doesn’t change the accuracy of the ad.

As for the claim of “putting 75 people to work,” there is an ample record that the remediation and demolition work has involved that many people and more. These are not permanent positions, but Murphy’s language – “putting … people to work” – is sufficient to make the assertion accurate.

The ad goes on to promise longer-term jobs, asserting that as a result of the clean-up work, “companies here will expand and attract hundreds more Connecticut jobs.” That’s a prediction, and therefore not subject to fact-checking, but it is at least the goal for the site.

Murphy ends with something of a tagline, saying he approved the message “because that’s not just a plan, that’s real.” That’s intended as a response to a persistent McMahon campaign theme that she has a plan to create jobs and Murphy does not.

That will be for the campaigns to duke out, in between running negative ads accusing the other of running negative ads. But the verifiable claims in this spot are on solid ground, so overall, we rate Murphy’s ad Generally Accurate.

View Murphy’s ad below. Click here for more Claim Check columns, and here for information on how we analyze political ads.

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66 thoughts on “Claim Check: Chris Murphy Gets “Real” In Ad on Voting Record and Jobs

    1. John Miller

      You are part of the reason politics are in such bad shape in this country. You hear the facts but don’t listen to them. Whether you vote for Linda McMahon or not is up to you, I am not saying Chris Murphy is the best candidate, but in this case the facts show that Linda is totally wrong saying he Murphy missed 80% of his votes. Debate and discussion are great and you need to use facts to back up your ideas.

      Reply
      1. Mike

        John Miller, Linda’s ad didn’t say he missed 80% of the votes, it said he missed 80% of the hearings. Perhaps you are the one that didn’t understand the facts/message in the ad.

        Reply
        1. dee

          If I remember correctly, her ad says he was “absent” 80% of the time, CLEARLY implying he was not doing his job. This is false. He may have been absent from meaningless subcommittee meetings, but he was NOT absent from his job.

          Reply
          1. Kim

            ahhh, so now we start with ‘it depends on what the meaning of ‘is’, is’. You get a ‘C-‘ for this spin attempt, Dee

      2. Old dude

        It’s apparent that no matter what you read or hear, you believe Murphy is correct and McMahon isn’t. That’s fine. The only “Facts” Mr Murphy states are he’s there for the voting and he got government funding to create some temporary jobs. He has yet to address the actual claims that Ms McMahon has made and we all know he never will. Just like all career politician, Murphy is only concerned with being elected and not actually doing anything that benefits we, the people

        Reply
      3. Palin Smith

        Distracting people from the big picture is not productive. Linda McMahon is a proven job creator. Chris Murphy is a proven Job Killer! Plain and simple.

        Murphy has rubber-stamped his party’s agenda, the agenda that has America slipping further into recession or worse. If you’ve recently graduated from college and can only find a job that you might have only needed a high school diploma to get, thank Murphy and his pals in Congress.

        Demand your money back from that inflated acedemic crap shoot! Students need not tolerate the high cost of college. If they went on strike before the second semester, coleges would roll back costs and reduce professors’ salaries to realistic levels.

        Reply
    2. dee

      And all Linda’s ad proves is that she has absolutely no idea how (and where) the work of Congress is done. Subcommittee hearings, which are the hearings she’s talking about, are partisan affairs that let the majority party get themselves on the record for this or that. They are political theater, nothing more. NO work on actual legislating is done at those hearings. and the minority party rarely attends.

      Reply
      1. Mike H

        “Old dude,” I’ve actually heard Murphy address those claims in person. Both he and his campaign said that Linda’s statistic may be accurate, if you take into account meaningless subcommittee hearings that are used as partisan tools. I’ve actually been to some of those hearings and most of them have 3 or 4 Congressman present asking stupid partisan questions. It’s like the all-male panel on reproductive rights. Do you remember that? But if you take into account the important hearings where key financial figures were questioned, legislative markups, and actual votes, his record is much different. He has a 97% voting record for all Congressional votes, a 98% record for committee votes, and he can defend any vote he’s made as it relates to the best interest of our country.

        Linda’s ad completely twists the facts and distorts his record, and it’s really a shame. The two of them have very different visions for our country and very different plans/records, so why can’t they focus on discussing the issues, rather than hurling false/twisted claims at each other. I think Linda should take up Murphy’s offer to have a debate on jobs – that’s what people really care about.

        Reply
        1. Palin Smith

          If there are meaningless subcommitte meetings it only proves that government needs drastic streamlining. Murphy will never address that problem. Ony true fiscal conservatives will. So why vote for Murphy? Are you that stupid!?

          Reply
        2. jj

          Murphy’s ad says she is lying, he attempts to refute her ad by changing her claim based on committee attendence to voting record and of course that makes HER the twister. Wow, you are easily distracted. Then you fall back to that the subcommittee hearings are a waste of time, that was not Murphy’s defense that’s your excuse for his actions. If that is his defesnse he should state that in is ads. Linda was truthful, Murphy attempted to change the subject and still called Linda a liar. Is voting more important than hearings? Is attending a hearing with a closed mind productive? Is attending hearings part of being a congressman or senator? All good questions, however the only one who lied was Murphy. Twist that.

          Reply
      2. Marcus

        It also proves that the congressional decision making process is broken. Do you get to decide “That’s a waste of time, so I’m not going” in your job? Fix it if it’s broken, then. Don’t just be a no-show for your job.

        Reply
  1. DRW

    My question is unless he is blindly voting the directive of the party leaders, how can he intelligently vote on issues when he has missed all the meetings and discussions?

    Reply
    1. John Miller

      What facts are you using to say he missed all the meetings and discussions? How do you know what meetings or discussions Murphy missed? The only fact we have is the Congressional record that he missed voting 3% of the time.

      Reply
        1. Cervantes

          Most congressional committee hearings are very lightly attended. They’re a chance for people to get their testimony on the record, there is normally only one or two members present. And many of the hearings are pure junk — just some partisan grandstanding. The question is not how many hearings he attended, but how this compares with other members — and I think you’ll find he’s entirely typical.

          Reply
          1. Marcus

            That doesn’t make it ok. Listen to what we’re saying here– it’s ok to miss this work because it’s a waste of time and useless. Does no one care that it’s BROKEN and we’re sending the same old politicians to DC to continue to waste your dollars on this nonsense? It’s NOT OK to not show up for work. The rest of us don’t get to decide what we like and don’t like about our jobs. We do the job and we try to make things better when we can. What exactly is Murphy doing that’s more important than listening to the issues in these hearings and committees? If you don’t want to attend, don’t be on a committee. And don’t be a Senator!

  2. Cromwell Dem

    It’s unfortunate for the reading public that this paper’s so called “Fact Checker” does not differentiate between the Committees Chris is on and those where he missed votes. Fact is, the Sub-Committee votes are the ones WWW McMahon is focusing on in her misleading ad. Most Congressmen-women send aids to these and Chris is not alone is missing votes on “Sub-Committees”. Too bad this papers “Fact Checker” allowed WWW McMahon to mislead in her ad. Fact is where I come from what Linda is doing is simply referred to as Lying!

    Reply
    1. Mike

      What is WWW? Are you referring to WWE? Not sure how that is relevant.

      Also, you guys are misunderstanding the ad she put together. Has nothing to do with his voting record. It has to do with him going to hearings to find out what he is voting about…in person, not through an aid.

      Reply
      1. dee

        No. Those committee meetings have NOTHING to do with actual legislation. I’ll give you an example. In 2008, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. Maybe you remember it? It was FANTASTIC theater and got tons of media coverage. But did it have anything to do with a bill currently before Congress? NO. Was a bill submitted to Congress as a result of the hearing? NO.

        Reply
  3. Sharpshooter

    “That’s Real” in which he states: “Linda McMahon will do and say anything to get ahead.”

    Yes, Linda will do anything including telling the truth about your dismal attendance record, Chris…..Dump Murphy

    Reply
      1. Sharon

        Are you referring to the “debates” scheduled by the Murphy campaign as a campaign stunt? There are official debates with official moderators scheduled already. Why should anyone pay attention to this stunt by the congressman’s campaign? Oh, I do hope that this campaign at least pays the bills for the different venues he reserved. The Democrats don’t have a very good track record on paying the bills this election year.

        Reply
    1. dee

      Actually, no, there are no debates scheduled yet. Linda’s ducking them. Murphy wants eight–one in each of CT’s largest cities. Linda says no. The last thing Linda wants to do is talk specifics. The last thing Linda wants to do is defend HER record.

      Reply
      1. Sharon

        Sorry, you are wrong on this. I have talked with people in the campaign and she has accepted four debates, including one in the area near me. Even the Hartford courant has mentioned the debates she accepted, but that was the day after the primaries, a long time for some memories. What record do you suggest that she defend, the same old saw that you liberals used last time?

        Reply
  4. johndem

    I’m glad my Congressman wasn’t wasting his time sitting around in showboating hearings spending hours listening to other members blather on. Someone that plans to go to Washington and sit on his/her rear all day in hearing rooms a) doesn’t understand the job and how a legislator actually gets things done, and b) is not the action oriented person I want representing me in Wasington. If sitting in hearings were the biggest part of a Congressman’s job, Linda’s ads would be accurate, and by the way, could be run against any one of hte 535 current members of Congress. Unfortunately for her, she is accusing Chris of missing 80% of about 10% ten percent of what he should actually be spending his time on.

    Reply
    1. jj

      You may be right about the worth of attending hearings, but Linda’s ad was factual, Murphy’s ad a response to it while also factual is not answer to her ad. If Murphy agrees with you he should be honest and say it out loud. Typical, he can’t refute her ad so he changes the subject. Voting record is very important, however voting on bills you haven’t read or ignoring the fact finding aspects of attending hearings is also important. If Murphy was forthright he would have “answered” the question in Linda’s ad not skewed the conversation. However I am glad both ads contain facts, much better than average.

      Reply
      1. Old dude

        Murphy can’t directly reply because he hasn’t been provided the answer yet from his party. He can only state what he’s instructed to say.

        Reply
      2. dee

        Her ad may be “factual” but it is, more importantly, MEANINGLESS. You admit that the sub committee meetings he’s skipped are useless, but still give her credit for using the fact that he skips useless meetings against him? Give me a break.

        Reply
        1. jj

          Dee, No, I gave him an F on responding to her ad, he changed the subject from hearings to voting record without explaination except to say her ad is false which even you concede is true. His lack of candor is telling. How about he says, she is right about the hearings which are mostly fluff and nonsense but I vote 97% of the time. Why is his response to skew the conversation and say she is wrong? Perhaps a lack of political courage? I will leave it up to you to find an excuse for his choices. Waste of time or not committees are a part of his job description, he should have a good reason for skipping them and be willing to share it with us, the voters.

          Reply
        2. Sharpshooter

          Dee…sub-committee meetings explain the bill to the attendees so they will know what they are voting on….when Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid tell Chris he doesn’t have to attend because ‘this is the way you’ll vote’..why not do something else at the tax payers expense…

          Reply
  5. Kim

    Can we all agree on the following, to start?

    1. Lifetime politicians don’t help the country
    2. Politicians should read and understand any and all bills that they vote on, before signing off
    3. Bills should NOT include riders and/or so-called pork expenditures that are not related to the substance of the bill at all
    4. Politicians should be held to high standards of honesty and integrity, and be held accountable to their office and to the voters if they don’t do what they promise to do. After all, they pass rules that regulate car salesment, doctors, insurance salesmen, and everyone else but they can do virtuallly anything they want

    Reply
  6. MrLogical

    Here’s a fact the the so-called ‘fact-checker’ fails to mention. Murphy’s absentee stat’ (missing approximately 3% of all votes) is 50% higher than the median for all Rep’s which is approximately 2%.

    Reply
    1. Matthew Kauffman Post author

      Hi all. Just wanted to clarify some numbers here. According to GovTrack.us, between January 2007 and this month, Chris Murphy missed 131 of the 5,034 votes cast, or 2.6 percent. In the same time period, the median missed-vote rate among House members was 2.4 percent. So MrLogical is correct that Murphy’s rate is higher than the median, but it is not 50 percent higher.
      -Matt Kauffman

      Reply
  7. End One Party Rule

    Fact, the Dems spent $6 TRILLION we do not have, we now have more debt than we produce in a year (not profit). We are getting close to Greece with a debt that is being hidden by artifically low interest rates. If interest rates go back to 5%, intrest on the debt will take 60 cents of every tax dollar…no Social Security, No medicare, no hope! ObamaCare is now projected to cost $2 TRILLION. Larson, Murphy, Deloro, Himes and Courtney approved both. Vote out the incumbants.

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

    Reply
    1. Kim

      you are correct End. If interest rates go up (and that’s the ONLY direction they’re likely to go), then the economic condition of this country over the last several years will seem like ‘the good ole days’ of prosperity in comparison.

      Reply
      1. Palin Smith

        Interest rates must go up! The country is dying, seniors on fixed incomes are being crushed. Artificially keeping interest rates low so the government can borrow “cheap money” is killing the economy. Higher rates will force the government to stop reckless spending. But we know that will not happen until we remove all the career incompetents from Congress, in both parties.

        Reply
        1. Kim

          You are correct that they must go up. But when the due, the pain is going to increase 10-fold.

          Do you reall believe that higher rates will force the government to stop reckless spending? On what do you base that belief? Certainly history is not on your side. Even with the low interest rates now, we’re paying BILLIONS on interest.

          Reply
  8. Sharpshooter

    Sub-committee meetings help to define the bill that will be voted on…they enlighten the attendees to the central points of the bill…if you vote in lock step with Nancy Pelosi, you don’t need to know what’s in the bill…just as Nancy said about Obamacare ….we’ll have to pass it to find out what’s in it…..

    Reply
  9. SR

    Okay, and have we equally scrutinized Ms. McMahon’s record? Does she really have a record of actual public service? Is she a creator of jobs that offer security or are they mostly low paying service jobs? How many peope who have jobs she created can send their kids to college on what they earn? Has she answered any questions in any situation she hasn’t completely controlled? She seems to deftly avoid anything but canned sound bites. The fact is she spent a inordinate sum of money sanitizing her life (because she can)to get what she desires, a place in the Senate.
    The real travesty is that she is in the race and Mr.Shays, a solid Republican with a long record of service to the people of this state, isn’t. Who says money can’t buy happiness? Or at least money can get the Connecticut GOP to give some people what they want……

    Reply
    1. Kim

      SR: McMahon has far more experience creating jobs than Obama. So does Romney. And Obama has expended a great deal of time and effort keeping his past hidden.

      By your own statement it would appear that you’re going to vote for Romney based on who has the most experience in the private sector and the creation of jobs. And on the openness of their past as well. Or can we expect a double-standard here? Just asking

      Reply
  10. SR

    One more thing to think about; at the end of the day, be a responsible voter. Ask who or what group is behind any of the ads you see this campaign season. In Citizens United, the Supreme Court gave the “green light” for unfettered, limitless money to be spent by people, corporations, or groups trying to convince you to vote their way (imagine what that money could do for actual people as opposed to enriching those buying…errrr…asking for our votes). Procon.org, politifact.com – theses are nonpartisan sites where people can get the valuable information needed to be a savvy voter.
    Words on a bumper sticker or a paid political ad do not an informed voter make….

    Reply
  11. MrLogical

    Increasingly, Chris Murphy is looking like the dweebish kid who never got picked for any of the sports teams and has instead contented himself by becoming a perennial candidate for president of the sophomore class.

    Here’s a kid… er, man, who has never worked a day in his life in the ‘real world’ but instead traded on the connections of his daddy’s law firm to get into politics – and there he remains.

    CT has too many ‘professional politicians’ and we need to have people in Washington who know what it takes to start and run a successful business. And for those who would look down their noses at the business that Linda and Vince have created, I would ask: “And what have you accomplished?”

    Chris Murphy’s modern-day Democrat party isn’t the party of your father or your grandfather; it’s a party that has become dominated by Marxist-Leninist redistributionists who are bent on destroying the America that our forbears created and defended, and the goal of their socialistic policies is to make everyone in America equally miserable and destitute.

    Can we really afford another Democrat drone going to Washington and skipping important committee meetings merely to show up for a roll call vote and check which way his party’s flag is waving? Or do we need a Representative who will go to Congress, participate fully in committee meetings and conferences to fully understand BOTH sides of an issue to decide how best to represent the interests of ALL constituents in CT-5?

    I prefer someone who takes their oath of office and their pledge to their constituents seriously. I prefer someone other than Chris Murphy.

    Vote wisely, Connecticut. We’ve reached a tipping point. November 6th will be the most important vote in the history of our republic and we simply cannot afford to get it wrong – again.

    Reply
  12. seamus

    I am not a fan of Linda, but i am lesser of a fan of the communist progressives. The ad never states Murphy missed 80% of the votes, the ad states correctly that Murphy missed 80% of his committee meetings. The brainwashed useful idiots can only reply with the propaganda they get from the extreme left, seldom do they understand facts.

    Reply
  13. seamus

    Murphy doesn’t need to go to meetings, he is just a rubber stanmp for Pelosie, Reid and Obama. The workers at pratt and E.B will find out soon enough when he votes to cut defense spending. Those unions still support Democrats even though the candidates target them every chance they get.

    Reply
  14. Diane Smith

    Most people seeing McMahon’s ad assumed she was talking about his voting record and she deliberately made it that way. She purposely twisted the facts for her own benefit. Is this the kind of person you want representing you? The Courant’s fact checker said that Murphy’s ad was essentially correct, not Linda McMahon’s.
    And as far as being a “job creator”, is creating low income jobs something that we are electing legislators for? The only ones making money are the wrestlers and to be successful at that, they turn to taking steroids. If that’s a job creator, then so are drug dealers.

    Reply
    1. Kim

      We’re supposed to be electing legislators NOT to create jobs but to encourage an environment where entrepeneurs can create jobs on their own.

      ‘The only ones making money are the wrestlers’. Funny how that happens in the WWE – wrestlers getting jobs. Not sure what your point is unless you’re leading up to the ‘drug dealer’ accusation, which many can ‘assume’ is deliberately negative and rather far-fetched. Drug dealers create jobs? Your definition of a job needs a little fine-tunine perhaps?

      Reply
    1. Kim

      indeed. It should also be quite revealing that the media is focusing on Romney’s taxes and not saying a word about Biden’s ‘chains’ lunacy.

      I ask you: if it were provable that Romney didn’t pay taxes, do you really believe that Obama wouldn’t have ‘loosed the dogs’ from the IRS on him already, as a political maneuver to lock in his election to a second term? The fact that he HASN’T done that should say volumes to those who are paying attention.

      Reply
      1. Lee

        Romney and Ryan are simply stating the truth about Obama’s terrible record (albeit with questionable emphasis at times) and Obama can only smear Romney as defense. I think they call that “Chicago Politics.” What is most interest is how the media deals with it. That is a corruption of Democracy.

        Reply
  15. Just paying attention

    Can’t wait until the debate, find out why Murphy voted for ObamaCare….did he miss the meetings? Did he read the Bill? Obamacare is now costing taxpayers $2 TRILLION.

    Did Murphy vote yes on the TARP bill? Yes, he did. Where are all the shovel ready jobs taxpayers paid $750 BILLION for?

    Murphy votes YES for Cash for Clunkers…it did create a lot of business for Toyota, Hundai, Merceds, VW, BMW, etc all with ou tax dollars…how many jobs did it create in the USA?

    Did Murphy vote to end Earmrks?
    Did Murphy vote to close Gitmo?
    Did Murphy vote to keep unemployment under 6%, we have had 40+ months of 8% unemploymnet.

    Vote out the career politicians!

    Reply
  16. jj

    To Matthew Kauffman fact checker, why do you ignore Mr. Murphy’s main assertion in his ad, when he says Linda lied. According to you she didn’t. Does the HC lack the constitution to challenge him directly? Why didn’t you take him on? Rating his ad as generally truthful is disingenuous at best. Responding with a separate “truth” does not make Linda a liar it makes your fact checking look inept. If you really want to do a service with these fact checking ads then do so, don’t wimp out. If Linda does the same,go after her too.

    Reply
  17. Lee

    Even the fact checkers seem to be spinning these by ignoring the substance of the argument. I think they call it cherry picking.

    Reply
  18. Lee

    It is being reported that a George Soros-funded super PAC is vowing to send operatives to stake out Republican campaigns to hunt for and to record any gaffes or controversial statements the candidates may make. This will provide the free advertising for the DNC that is becoming strapped for donations.

    Reply
  19. Save our country

    We don’t need another do nothing republican in the Senate. All the republicans have done is to stop any legislation to create jobs or help the American people.

    Support Chris Murphy, a hard working person who cares about the 99%.

    Reply
    1. Kim

      and what did the Dems get done during their two years of total control under Obama? Thanks for yet another party-line non-response.

      Which jobs did they stop the legislation for? Which budget did they interfere with?

      Reply
    2. Kim

      even if you were right, save (and you’re not), a do-nothing representative would be preferable to the clowns in charge now who are causing so many problems by ‘doing’ things. I’d rather have them on permanent recess than doing what they’re doing – I can’t afford the hit to my income OR my freedom any longer

      Reply

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