United Steelworkers Building
I would like to thank you all for coming. And I would particularly like
to thank the United Steelworkers, who have endorsed my in my
campaign for the US Congress. Members of the USW come from a
proud history of unrivalled accomplishment. It is the work of men and women like those standing before you, and like those who preceded them, who literally built America. Every bridge you see in this city, spanning the Three Rivers, every soaring building, originated with the work of American Steelworkers.
You should also know that the Steelworkers are a powerful political force working for the good of our country. Not only does the USW take care of its own, but it works to improve the lives for all Americans. We should all be grateful for what the Steelworkers do.
I've believe that campaigns should be about the issues. Let me tell you very briefly why I'm running then we'll get down to the subject at hand.
I am running because I want to represent average families in western
Pennsylvania, not the oil, drug and insurance companies. Not the Republican
leadership, George Bush, or Dick Cheney.
I am running because I want to help create an environment in which
American business and their employees can thrive.
I am running because I want to help create a high-quality, affordable,
transferrable, and universal health care system which allows families to
choose their own doctors and hospital.
I am running to help America become a leader in alternative energy and so
we can reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.
And I am running to help end the war in Iraq, and which is costing us
approximately $12 billion a month, and may cost as much as $3 TRILLION in
the long term. We could use that money here in Western Pennsylvania. And
its time bring our troops home to the heroes' welcome they deserve.
Last week, my opponent, Tim Murphy, launched vicious attack ads against me.
These ads are downright lies and, even for politics, especially nasty.
You should notice that Tim Murphy doesn't make honest criticisms of my positions.
In fact, in his campaign, he hardly mentions the issues that Americans most care about. When he talks about his record, he conveniently omits the years he was a loyal foot soldier for George Bush and Dick Cheney, voting with administration between 80% and 98% of the time.
Don't take my word for it - these are figures from Congressional Quarterly, a highlyrespected and non-partisan publication. My staff will have copies for you after we finish.
Let's look at Mr. Murphy's two main methods of attack in these slanderous ads - innuendo and faked footage.
First, you should know that the one visual element which drives this piece and gives it its sinister quality, the shot of me holding my hand up to the camera, isn't part of a news story. It was shot only a few weeks ago, when a Murphy operative jammed a camera in my face. In a word, the shot was FAKED to look like TV news.
The ad includes another shot that is FAKED, and it is embedded, using computer graphics, in two stories with damning headlines that MENTION MAY NAME ONLY IN PASSING.
This slick ad isn't an amateur job. Note that the colors are drained to black and white to have a gritty look. Note the sinister music, and the accusatory narrator.
This is high-end attack ad, produced by Brabender-Cox, the media consulting
company which produced controversial ads for former Senator Rick Santorum.
The company has consulted to former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who has pleaded guilty to federal charges of tax evasion, and former Congressman Bob Ney, who pled guilty to charges of conspiracy in connection with the Jack Abramoff scandal.
Second, let's look at the innuendo - we can't call them facts - in this ad. And
remember - television and radio stations are by law required to run these ads, even if they know that the content is false.
Let me focus on Murphy's three main allegations:
1) He says that I paid myself and my family "hundreds of thousands of dollars." Over an eight year period, earning between $40,000 and $65,000 a year, the cumulative total is over $200,000. But by Murphy's twisted logic, we can say that over his seven years in office, he paid himself - remember, Congress votes on its own salary - that he paid himself over $900,000 in salary. Who will be the first to report that?
2) Second, Murphy alleges that the organization paid me $200,000 for
renovations of offices I owned which were in a particularly good location for
the needs of the agency. Actually, every dime of the money paid was
subtracted from a fair market price for the rent. And I wasn't even part of
this decision - it was made by the Board of the Directors, and put through a
rigorous audit by an independent auditor.
3) Finally, Murphy implies, but does not actually state, that I drove the agency into bankruptcy. In fact, when I left the organization, it was $500,000 in the black. And the courts later found that my successors, not me, deliberately drove the agency into bankruptcy in order to seize its assets.
This is the main focus of the Tribune-Review articles which Murphy cites.
The one true statement in Murphy's slanderous attack - that he is Tim Murphy, and he did approve this message. I believe that by approving these ads he stains the office he holds.
Did Tim Murphy not know the actual facts of the case? Why did he rely on fragments taken from stories in only one newspaper, the Tribune-Review? And why did he not check the court documents, in which the judge finds another organization guilty of the charges Murphy makes.
With Murphy's cool $1.5 million in campaign cash, he can certainly afford to do
minimal research it would require to get to the facts of this case. If Murphy
personally knew that the facts of his allegations were false, it would constitute a malicious and reckless disregard for the truth. If he didn't know, he is an incompetent manager.
Why does Tim Murphy run this ad while he denies that he is in a real fight to save his job? Because he knows that he can't defend his record, and if voters judge him by his performance, he'll be looking for a job next week.
Tim Murphy has almost nothing to lose by running these nasty ads. They are paid for by the special interests which finance his campaign - the oil, drug and insurance companies, and even the Halliburton Corporation.
Furthermore, he knows that if there is any legal action against him, he can pay for his defense with money from those same special interests.
The only thing Murphy has to lose by running these ads is his reputation. If he can lie to the public about my record, is there anything - anything at all - to make us believe that he wouldn't lie to the public about his own record.
He has tried very hard to deny his loyalty to the Bush administration - yet we know that he was voted with the administration between 80% and 98% of the time in his first four years. Even in 2007, with the Democrats in control of the House, he voted with the Republican leadership 79% of the time.
In 2004, Dick Cheney raised over $200,000 for Tim Murphy in a single night at a fundraiser in Ligonier. Did Cheney do this because Murphy was a thorn in the President's side? I don't think so.
Tim Murphy tries to conceal from you that he is under investigation by federal
authorities and by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly forcing his
Congressional staff to work on his campaign while being paid by taxpayers.
The allegations are made by his own staff, and they were reported by KDKA-TV, the Post- Gazette, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Unlike my opponent, I won't play dirty to win this election - and I won't have to. If voters have even minimal information about Tim Murphy's record and about my stands on the issues, I will win this race. Hold onto your seats. The battle is on, and I will fight it to the finish.