Election '18

GOP Candidate Invents Fake Washington Post Fact Check to Cover Up His Awful Record on Health Care

GOP Rep. Dave Brat issued a press release that the Washington Post had found his Democratic opponent, Abigail Spanberger, had lied about him. The Washington Post did not say that.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

House Republicans are desperate to throw off Democratic attacks alleging they voted to kick poor and sick people off of their health insurance — which is difficult, because they very much did.

On Monday, in the latest sign of desperation, Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) issued a press release claiming that his opponent, former CIA officer Abigail Spanberger, lied about his health care record in a recent attack ad:

The press release noted that Spanberger's ad — which slammed Brat for voting to repeal protections for pre-existing conditions — had been rated "Four Pinocchios," and quoted Brat's spokesoman Katey Price as saying, "This is the second time fact checkers have had to call out Team Spanberger for lying about Rep. Brat's record on healthcare. Spanberger is losing, she's desperate, and she will say anything at this stage of the campaign."

There's only one problem: The Washington Post Fact Checker did not, in fact, give Spanberger's ad Four Pinocchios. In fact, they didn't even have a rating for Spanberger's ad at all!

The link in Brat's press release went to a fact check of an attack ad in an entirely different race, against GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). And the only mention of Brat in the article was to note that Brat "is much more vulnerable on this issue than Fitzpatrick" because "he repeatedly voted to repeal the ACA without any replacement."

Brat's claim that this fact check exonerated him was so completely false that Washington Post Fact Checker columnist Glenn Kessler sharply criticized him:

The original ad, titled "Jody," shows a woman named Jody Cametas in Goochland County, whose son is struggling with type 1 diabetes. "It's so expensive that so many families are sharing supplies in order to make ends meet," she says. "I feel betrayed by Dave Brat. He voted against protections for pre-existing conditions for families like mine. I voted for Dave Brat once; I will not make that mistake again. I'm voting for Abigail Spanberger."

Virginia's 7th Congressional District, which includes the suburbs west of Richmond, is one of the most competitive races in the region, and the attacks have been growing ugly. House Speaker Paul Ryan's allies in the Congressional Leadership Fund have tried to imply Spanberger is a terrorist sympathizer because she taught at a Saudi school which was also attended by militants — and in the process, obtained her security clearance files improperly through the Post Office.

Polls currently have the race neck and neck.

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Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.