The Corner

Heritage to Obama

“Stop lying about our record!” says the think tank:

The Heritage Foundation today asked Barack Obama to immediately pull two ads that misrepresent the views of Heritage’s Rea Hederman. The campaign has released a 30-second TV ad with false information and repeats it on the campaign website. The following letter was sent by Heritage lawyer Alan P. Dye to the Obama campaign.

Dear Senator Obama:

Two recent campaign advertisements seriously misrepresent the views of my client, The Heritage Foundation. They suggest, quite falsely, that The Heritage Foundation and one of its analysts support your tax plan.

The print ad on your Website as well as your ad entitled “Try This” reference a quote from policy analyst Rea Hederman. In fact, Mr. Hederman never said what is quoted there. Rather, the words you quote are from a New York Sun reporter who interviewed Mr. Hederman and summarized his views erroneously.

That the reporter’s summary is erroneous is evident from the actual quotes from Mr. Hederman presented in the article, which make it quite clear that Mr. Hederman believes your tax plan would be bad not only for the country, but for the middle class. By omitting the direct quotes from Heritage that are contained in the article and attributing to Heritage a conflicting statement not made by its analyst, the advertisement appears to be an intentional attempt to mislead.

Surely there can be no doubt within your campaign as to how Heritage truly views your tax plan. When one of your economic advisors, Jeffrey Liebman, made this same misrepresentation in a September 4, 2008 letter to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Hederman promptly sent a corrective and very public letter. It appeared in the September 16 issue of The Wall Street Journal under the title: “A Bad Plan That Is Less Bad Is Still Not A Very Good Plan.” In it, Mr. Hederman strenuously decried Mr. Liebman’s blatant misrepresentation and set the record straight.

The Heritage Foundation believes that your advertisements’ use of its name is not only not a fair use of its intellectual property, but is an intentional attempt to mislead and misinform voters. As a responsible candidate, you should insist that your campaign cease to run these false advertisements immediately.

Very truly yours,

Alan P. Dye

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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