Experts analyze NC 8th Congressional District ads

by: Torie Wells Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - "I'm Richard Hudson, and this is my dog, Hoover," says Hudson in a recent ad put out by his campaign. Hudson is the Republican candidate in North Carolina's 8th Congressional District race.

"It didn't come off like the typical negative or attack ad," said University of North Carolina at Charlotte political science professor Dr. Eric Heberlig when Eyewitness News showed him the ad.

But Heberlig says to pay attention to what the ad is saying and what it is not saying.

"Our congressman, Larry Kissell, let Obama run up trillions in debt without barking one bit," the Hudson ad goes on to say.

"There's no single member of Congress that can stop the president from doing anything. You need a majority of votes in Congress," said Heberlig.

He says that the ad likely refers to the stimulus bill, which Kissell did vote for. But the ad never mentions that bill by name. It also amounted to less than $1 trillion, and about a third of the cost came in the form of tax cuts.

Eyewitness News looked into Kissell's voting record and did find other spending bills he supported, for things like unemployment benefit extensions and foreclosure aid.

Eyewitness News also found instances where Kissell voted against more spending, like extending pay freezes for Congress and a vote against increasing the national public debt limit in 2009.

"Hoover consumes everything in sight. And Congress, same thing," said Hudson in the ad.

Herberlig says that to blame trillions in spending on Kissell, Congress or the president isn't telling the whole story.

"A large proportion of the federal budget is not controlled by Congress in any particular year," Heberlig pointed out.

Some of that spending is interest the United States owes, and some is nondiscretionary spending, like on Social Security and Medicare.

"Six million textile workers are out of a job today. That's why I never missed a chance to help this industry fight back," said Democratic Congressman Larry Kissell in a recent ad put out by his campaign.

Eyewitness News reached out to the Kissell campaign several times, asking where the 6 million figure came from, but never received a response.

In the Larry Kissell ad, the incumbent goes on to say how he pushed for stronger "buy American" laws.

In 2009, Congress adopted the Kissell amendment as part of the stimulus bill. It requires Transportation Security Administration uniforms be made in the U.S.

Kissell has introduced another bill that would expand that, requiring the Department of Homeland Security to only buy uniforms, tents and other products if they were made in the United States. The bill is still in committee right now.

"It saves and creates American jobs," the ad goes on to say.

"The issue here is the difference between emotion and fact," said Dr. Connaughton.

Connaughton says that the amendment and bill have good intentions and may likely even save some jobs.

Connaughton says that outsourcing and buying from other countries isn't the only thing killing jobs. He says technology is phasing out the need for having as many workers.

"The problem is the few jobs he's going to save by this one bill will be offset by the next machine," said Connaughton.

The Kissell campaign has not yet responded to WSOC's requests for comment.

The Hudson campaign responded, standing by its claims about Kissell's spending, citing votes that raised the debt limit, like the stimulus bill.

The campaign also said, "For Larry Kissell, who has voted time and time again to increase spending and increase our debt, to pass the buck and take no responsibility for our $16 trillion debt is exactly why we need a new congressman."