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Published: Thursday, 10/5/2006

Brown, DeWine ads twist records

The latest ads in the Sherrod Brown-Mike DeWine Senate race focus on their congressional votes for body armor for troops. The latest ads in the Sherrod Brown-Mike DeWine Senate race focus on their congressional votes for body armor for troops.
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Each Thursday preceding the Nov. 7 election, Blade politics writer Jim Tankersley and WTVG's Bill Hormann team up to analyze candidates' campaign ads and check them for accuracy.

The ad: National Republican Senatorial Committee, in support of U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine (R., Cedarville).

The target: Mr. DeWine's opponent, U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, on national security grounds.

The claims: "If your work is protecting our country, Sherrod Brown doesn't march for you. Sherrod Brown voted against advanced body armor for our troops. Against up-armored Humvees. Against better housing for military families."

Fact-check: It seems like there's a new ad every couple days in Ohio's white-hot U.S. Senate race - and oddly enough, it seems like the opposing campaigns are choosing their topics in tandem. This ad matches up against a pair of Brown campaign spots that ding Mr. DeWine and cheer Mr. Brown on essentially the same issue: body armor.

Just like previous ads with taxes, the armor ads show there's room for interpretation when it comes to congressional records.

The latest ads in the Sherrod Brown-Mike DeWine Senate race focus on their congressional votes for body armor for troops. The latest ads in the Sherrod Brown-Mike DeWine Senate race focus on their congressional votes for body armor for troops.
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Republicans, for example, say Mr. Brown is bad on body armor because he voted against five bills, from 1999 to 2004, that included money for armor. Only one of those came after the start of the Iraq war - the $87 billion spending bill made famous in the 2004 presidential race.

Mr. Brown says he offered armor-inclusive alternatives to that bill and voted against its final version because it included no-bid contracts for Halliburton. During and after a televised debate with Mr. DeWine this week, he said he voted for other armor funding and pushed Bush Administration officials from the onset of the Iraq war to improve armor for troops.

One of Mr. Brown's ads features a mother of an Iraq war soldier who says Mr. DeWine was unresponsive - and Mr. Brown was helpful - when she tried to get body armor for her son. His latest ad says, "Sherrod Brown voted for body armor [and] armored Humvees."

Mr. DeWine said this week that his results on body armor speak for themselves. He cites several votes to fund armor and several other efforts, including a 2004 letter he sent to the Pentagon, to ensure troops were armored properly.

Bottom line: Each candidate says he supports body armor and his opponent is distorting his record.

- Jim Tankersley



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