Musgrove, Barbour wage war on airwaves
By By Terry R. Cassreino / assistant managing editor
Sept. 21, 2003
As this year's race for governor inches closer to election day, incumbent Democrat Ronnie Musgrove and Republican challenger Haley Barbour have shifted their television ad campaigns into high gear.
The catch: Ads from both gubernatorial campaigns contain misleading information. To help you sift through them, The Meridian Star offers a look at the ads' claims and the facts they don't mention.
Ronnie Musgrove campaign advertisement
Announcer: For governor, only Ronnie Musgrove was born, educated and worked in Mississippi all his life. Only Mississippi's Musgrove demanded school accountability, raised student test scores, increased teacher pay and made us the first state with Internet accessible computers in every classroom. Musgrove's leadership brought us the Nissan auto plant, the Northrop Grumman expansion, and created 56,000 new quality jobs. Mississippi's Ronnie Musgrove conservative, independent. Leadership for Mississippi, from Mississippi.
The rest of the story
Musgrove's ad says he is the only gubernatorial candidate born, educated and employed in Mississippi. Barbour, however, also is a lifelong Mississippian.
Even though Barbour worked in Washington as Republican National Committee chairman and has a Washington lobbying firm, he was born in Yazoo City, graduated from Ole Miss, worked as a lawyer in Yazoo City and ran for the U.S. Senate in 1982.
Musgrove takes credit in the ad for raising public school teacher pay. While he publicly endorsed and signed a pay raise package, the Mississippi Legislature did all of the work crafting the raise.
Musgrove also takes credit in the ad for luring Nissan to Mississippi. But Musgrove worked with other people including his then-economic development chief J.C. Burns and U.S. Sen. Trent Lott. Musgrove later fired Burns.
The governor's ad says he created 56,000 new jobs. The ad doesn't mention figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that show the state lost 48,600 manufacturing jobs from January 2000, when Musgrove took office, until June 2003.
Haley Barbour campaign advertisement
Female announcer: It's disappointing.
Male announcer: After four years in office, Ronnie Musgrove opens his campaign with an attack on Haley Barbour.
Female announcer: Then he makes wild job creation claims that simply aren't true.
Male announcer: Musgrove has a habit of only telling half of the story.
Female announcer: A habit shared by his friends Bill Clinton and Al Gore who he endorsed for President.
Male announcer: And when it comes to Musgrove's claims college tuition hasn't increased …
Female announcer: … The Clarion Ledger says college tuition has shot up 30 percent under Musgrove
Male announcer: It's time we had real, honest leadership.
The rest of the story
Barbour's ad says Musgrove hasn't been truthful about the number of jobs created since he has been in office.
Musgrove cites statistics from the Mississippi Development Authority, the state's economic development agency, that say 56,000 new jobs have been created since he took office.
Musgrove said that "there's never been a comparison" of MDA figures and federal job-loss figures.
The Barbour ad said college tuition has shot up 30 percent under Musgrove. Records from the state College Board show tuition has increased 28.7 percent since Musgrove took office.
But Musgrove had nothing to do with that the 12-member state College Board sets college tuition. The last time board members raised tuition was May 16, 2002, when they increased it 8 percent.
College Board members, who are appointed by the governor to 12-year terms, voted 9-2 for the increase. Of the nine who voted yes, five were named to the board by former Republican Gov. Kirk Fordice.