September 27th, 2010
02:59 PM ET

Political Theater: Veterans' issues in the spotlight

In today's installment of AC360°'s Political Theater, Tom Foreman is looking at two ads that address military service.

Here’s the script for "Warzone," an ad from North Carolina Republican Ilario Pantano:

NBC news clip (Stone Phillips): "Ilario Pantano, described by one superior as having more integrity, dedication, and drive than any Marine he's ever met."

NBC news clip (Ann Curry interviewing Pantano): "You served in Gulf One; you got out. You got a big great job, a beautiful wife and a kid. Then 9/11 happens, you come home, your hair is shaved off, you're ready to head back into the warzone to help America. "

Pantano "I'm Ilario Pantano and I'm ready to head to war a third time except this time it's for the soul of our country. I need your help to take the Congress back."

And here's the script for "Dan Webster - Draft Dodger," an ad from Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson:

Grayson "I'm Congressman Alan Grayson and I approve this message."

Narrator: "Daniel Webster was called to serve our country six times during the Vietnam War.

Narrator: Each time Daniel Webster refused the call to service.

Narrator: It breaks an old soldier's heart to think that Daniel Webster could ever be elected to Congress.

Narrator: "He doesn't love this country the way I do. Daniel Webster doesn't care about us."

Graphic on screen: If Daniel Webster didn't serve America then, why should he serve now?

Take a look at each ad and the claims each makes then render your own verdict in the comments section below. You have 4 choices for each ad: “Right on,” “It’s a stretch,” “Tall tale,” or “Big fat lie.” Be brief but please give us the evidence in support of your verdict. And two more things: CNN’s comment policy applies and be responsive to our request for help; only submit comments that will help us fact check the ad.

Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Tahni

    It's hard for me to look at ads like these and not see them as blatant lies. Likely that will hurt their candidacy, but it seems like it hurts politics as a whole. I know a lot of people who have gotten so fed up with as like these that they've stepped back from any kind of political involvement, including voting. It's unfortunate and I don't think it's the right response, but that is the response that some people have to ads like this. I wish candidates would run strictly on their issues instead of theatrics like this – in that vein, I agreed with what was said on your show about Pantano's ad. He has a good story to tell. He should tell it, rather than editing and putting the integrity that he's trying to sell at risk.

    September 28, 2010 at 5:27 am |
  2. theresa haney

    This is terrible about what those soldiers have done.That is why our soldiers r in more danger also americans as the taliban will sureley use to recruit good people who will now be more afraid of us than them.

    September 28, 2010 at 2:47 am |
  3. Marry

    This is absolutely without words! There must be something profoundly wrong with the system when candidates LIE without any scruple at all. It seems that in this midterm election there is more use of misinformation, deceptions, slander than ever before. The voter should make it into a habit to only vote for candidates that come with their own plan for service before the public and is willing to debate his/her stand together with their opponents as often and as intense as possible. This should be accompanied with a “fact check” that immediately records and publishes the results.
    Than one can ask the voter to vote informed, fair and smart!

    September 28, 2010 at 1:30 am |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    Your two pundits said it all.
    Both ads are an absolute utter disgrace and shameful and worse still show complete disrespect of the freedom of speech right granted in the constitution.
    WE voters have to teach these guys a lesson and vote for their opposition in huge, huge numbers.
    All politicians need to get the message loud and clear lies/half truths even, will not be tolerated.
    The level of these in politics is
    sickening and its getting worse not better.

    September 28, 2010 at 12:18 am |
  5. Annie Kate

    According to Factcheck.org who used Webster's military selection records as the basis for their information – Webster received student deferments 5 times while he was in high school and working on his degree at a Georgia College. Once his degree was completed he reported to the draft board for his physical prior to induction; he was disqualified for medical reasons. Factcheck.org has scanned copies of his records (under the Freedom on Information act) on site for one to view. The ad claiming otherwise is a big fat lie.

    September 27, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
  6. Jim Carroll

    THE CONSTITUTION Article 1, Section 8 The congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, impost and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; to borrow money on the credit

    September 27, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  7. Gene

    just cuz someone did or didn't serve does make them a perfect fit 4 congress

    September 27, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  8. Gene

    Don't know what 2 say about a Vet. using his war record 2 run 4 Congress ?????

    September 27, 2010 at 7:32 pm |