Charlie Hales pulls TV ad after PolitiFact calls claim of helping schools "flat wrong"

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

In recent months, I've had my complaints about PolitiFact Oregon - nitpicking about minor statements, fact-checking 140-character tweets, fact-checking opinions that aren't fact claims at all, etc. But here's an example of exactly the sort of rigorous fact-checking that is what PolitiFact can be at its best.

Throughout his campaign, Charlie Hales has claimed that he "helped negotiate the city paying one time for two weeks of school, and the local teachers to work two weeks without pay."

As PolitiFact notes, that claim is also made in a TV ad (previously posted here) "when state budget cuts threatened four weeks of school, Charlie helped restore them, for every public school in Portland."

But that claim is "flat wrong" and "false" according to PolitiFact's Janie Har.

"That would be erroneous," said Ann Nice, former president of the Portland Association of Teachers, of Hales’ claim. "That was February 2003. It’s etched in my mind forever. I had to stand up to explain to 5,000 people why they should work for free."

Hales left the council in June 2002 to take a job in the private sector.

To his credit, Hales fessed up fast -- and is pulling his false TV ad off the air.

Contacted by PolitiFact Oregon, Hales immediately owned up to the misstatement on Friday. He said he would issue a correction and pull the television ad from circulation.

Now that's some fact-checking that actually matters.

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    Thanks, Kari. Is there any precedent for a "corrected" political endorsement? Also, would be interested to know from your expertise how to "post" something (e.g. your reference to your post of the false ad on YouTube) which captures the error before a campaign can take it down?

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    Full disclosure: My firm built Eileen Brady's campaign website. I speak only for myself.

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    This isn't like fessing up to "oops, I guess I actually got my degree in 2002, not 2003;" it's more like "I told everyone, over and over again, that I was at the table and helped negotiate a deal, except I really wasn't at the table, and really didn't help negotiate any deal." Add that to forgetting that he was filing for taxes in Washington (no income tax, yea!) and yet voting in Oregon, and you've got officially got a history of lying.

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    I guess when you have such a long career with countless wins for Portland schools it is understandable to mix them up. Glad to see Hales quickly corrected himself instead of doubling down on misleading statements.

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