U.S. Chamber earns ‘Pants on Fire’ for Nelson ad

PolitiFact, the Pulitzer-prize-winning website set up by the Tampa Bay (nee St. Pete) Times to examine the truth or falsehood of political commercials, continues to beat up on the video produced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce attacking U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

The ad — you can watch it here – lays into Nelson for his vote for the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” calling it “a nightmare for seniors.” As supporting”evidence,” it says “seniors will see $500 billion in Medicare cuts to fund Obamacare,” an assertion that PolitiFact had previously designated “mostly false,” because Medicare expenditures would continue to increase, but at a slower rate under the legislation.

But what got the ad the rarely awarded — if hardly coveted — “Pants on Fire” designation is its claim that “20 million people could lose their current coverage” with the strong implication that many, if not most of them would be seniors. PolitiFact finds the claim “based” on a misconstruction of a Congressional Budget Office study.

“The ad from the U.S. Chamber makes it sound like 20 million older Americans will lose coverage under the health care law,” the site concludes. “We found no evidence that Medicare beneficiaries will lose coverage under the health care law, and the ad’s evidence points to one cherry-picked statistic that applies to employer-provided insurance, not Medicare.

“For trying to scare the pants off Florida seniors, we rate the statement Pants on Fire!”

Nelson on Monday had a lawyer write to Florida TV stations, urging them to pull the ad.