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Paulsen’s Dishonest Campaign Barrels On with No Regard for Truth in Final MN03 Debate
When asked, Erik Paulsen has a misleading or flat-out false answer for everything
At the final debate between Erik Paulsen and Dean Phillips today, Congressman Paulsen doubled down on the lies and distortions that have come to be a hallmark of his campaign. Paulsen deceived at every turn, wrapping up a negative campaign the likes of which are unprecedented in Minnesota political history.
“Congressman Paulsen’s dishonest tactics were on display again today,” said Zach Rodvold, campaign manager for Phillips for Congress. “Not only is Congressman Paulsen voting with Trump 98% of the time, he’s beginning to behave like him, too, using personal insults and slander and telling lie after lie in his ads and in public appearances. That’s why more and more former Erik Paulsen supporters are joining the Dean Team every day.”
“I’ve simply had it,” said one of Paulsen’s former supporters, David Hawes from Minnetonka, who has voted for Paulsen four times. “Erik Paulsen is running the worst smear campaign Minnesota has ever seen — and this year I am switching my vote to Dean Phillips.”
Here are a few of Congressman Paulsen’s deviations from the truth from today’s KSTP debate:
On Paulsen’s negative attack ads:
PAULSEN: “Of course I stand by the criticism. Because you’ve (KSTP) fact-checked it, or Channel 4 or the Star Tribune or other articles have fact-checked it.”
THE TRUTH: Erik Paulsen has released six ads this cycle. Five of them are personal attacks against Dean Phillips, and none have been called “true” or even “mostly true” by independent fact-checkers. In fact, his ads have been called inappropriate, reckless, false, distorted, not even in the same time zone as truth, extremely misleading, just plain false, and wildly out of context by independent journalists, community leaders, attorneys, sexual-harassment victims, Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.
PAULSEN: “He (Dean) didn’t provide health insurance until he was essentially caught by the newspapers…. We stand by that ad as it was fact-checked and essentially validated by a lot of independent organizations.”
THE TRUTH: This is a blatant lie. KARE11, WCCO and Politifact did fact-check Paulsen’s claims that Phillips doesn’t provide healthcare to his full-time employees — and all three confirmed that Congressman Paulsen’s claim is false.
On repealing the Affordable Care Act:
PAULSEN: “Every time we’ve talked about repealing the ACA, I’ve said that we should absolutely keep pre-existing conditions.”
THE TRUTH: Erik Paulsen voted for the AHCA, which would have gutted protections for pre-existing conditions.
PAULSEN: “I’ve helped make Medicare stronger through some of the tax reforms that we passed. We’re actually putting Medicare on a solid footing right now.”
THE TRUTH: The exact opposite is true. This week, GOP leadership, with whom Congressman Paulsen votes 98% of the time, confessed that they plan to cut earned-benefit programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare to pay for their deficit-ballooning tax bill.
On Paulsen being the fourth-biggest taker of PAC money in Congress:
PAULSEN: “I’m never beholden to them, and I will always vote for the interests of my district and my state independent of wherever I get a contribution from.”
THE TRUTH: Erik Paulsen is bought and sold. He is the fourth-largest taker of special-interest PAC money in all of Congress, receiving 51% of his campaign funds from PACs and less than 3% from small-dollar donations. He has taken millions from big pharma, big insurance, big bank, and big oil PACs. His votes to repeal the ACA, roll back environmental regulations, block gun-violence prevention measures, and cap state and local tax deductions have directly hurt his district.
On why Paulsen still refuses to sign the Minnesota Way Pledge:
PAULSEN: “Dean’s hypocritical…. [T]here is $10 million being spent against me.”
THE TRUTH: To date, GOP-aligned Super PACs and party committees have spent $7.4 million on false ads attacking Dean Phillips, compared to just $2.2 million from groups supporting Phillips. When combined with Paulsen’s own spending — almost all of it on negative ads that have been repeatedly debunked — spending on their coordinated smear campaign on TV alone now equals $10.4 million. Paulsen has also outsourced his voter-engagement operation to the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity Super PAC Action Fund, and has benefitted from hundreds of thousands of dollars in false and misleading mail. Dean Phillips has promised to make real reforms to campaign-finance laws in Congress, takes $0 from PACs and special interests, and has given Congressman Paulsen the opportunity to run a race free from the influence of outside spending. Paulsen has repeatedly failed to do so, including again in this debate.
On the tax bill:
PAULSEN: “Clearly, everyone is getting a tax cut. The average person in our district is getting a $5,000 tax cut.”
THE TRUTH: Independent fact-checkers called out this deceptive math, saying, “Thousands of taxpayers won’t get anywhere near that amount. The new federal tax cuts are skewed heavily toward wealthy taxpayers.” Minnesota is particularly hard hit by the cap on state and local tax deductions, which is why 11 Republicans from districts similar to Minnesota’s 3rd voted against the bill that Paulsen helped write and pass.
On immigration reform:
PAULSEN: “I broke with my party and made sure that we were having votes on fixing DACA.”
THE TRUTH: Erik Paulsen has voted with Donald Trump 98% of the time in Congress, despite the fact that Trump received just 41% of the vote in his district two years ago. On immigration specifically, Paulsen voted 18 times this year alone to block the DREAM Act, and in 2015 he voted to restart deportations of DACA recipients.
On Erik Paulsen voting 98% of the time with President Trump:
PAULSEN: “Seventy percent of the bills that President Trump has signed into law have been bipartisan. Amy Klobuchar has a 90% voting record in that category.”
THE TRUTH: Amy Klobuchar votes with President Trump 30% of the time.
On why Erik Paulsen should earn your vote:
PAULSEN: “I pride myself on getting things done and being results-oriented.”
THE TRUTH: Erik Paulsen is tied as the second-least-likely member of Congress to get a bill passed out of Committee.