Musgrove, Barbour ads aim at state
finances, free trade
By By Terry R. Cassreino / assistant managing editor
October 5, 2003
Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and challenger Haley Barbour intensified their advertising war last week with new television spots that slammed each other for everything from free trade to state finances.
But the ads both gubernatorial candidates aired statewide gave voters 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.
Announcer: Washington lobbyist Haley Barbour was a paid lobbyist for Mexico on NAFTA. Who else does Haley Barbour work for? Washington lobbyist Haley Barbour lobbied for the big drug companies who fought against prescription drug coverage for seniors. Washington lobbyist Haley Barbour worked for five tobacco companies who oppose banning sleazy tobacco ads targeted at our children. And Washington lobbyist Haley Barbour lobbied against clean water protections. Washington lobbyist Haley Barbour for governor? Only in his dreams.
The rest of the story
Musgrove's ad says that Barbour was a paid lobbyist for Mexico on the North American Free Trade Agreement. The ad, however, doesn't say specifically what work Barbour did on NAFTA.
Barbour's Washington lobbying firm was hired by Mexico in 2000 to negotiate trucking arrangements across borders. NAFTA had been the law for years passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress under the leadership of Democratic President Bill Clinton.
The ad says Barbour lobbied for big drug companies that fought prescription drug coverage for seniors. Barbour, though, said his firm has lobbied for the creation of a Republican-backed Medicare prescription drug benefit for senior citizens.
Musgrove's ad charges that Barbour worked for five tobacco companies that oppose banning tobacco ads targeted at children. Barbour, however, lobbied Congress for the same multi-state tobacco settlement backed by Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore.
Moore, a Democrat, led the fight against tobacco companies and tried to recover millions the state spent treating people with illnesses caused by smoking.
A major part of the settlement included restrictions on marketing and advertising of tobacco including advertising to children. Tobacco manufacturers cannot target youth within any state involved in the settlement.
Haley Barbour campaign advertisement
Announcer: Four years ago we had good reason for optimism in Mississippi. Now that's lost. Job growth has been replaced by record job loss. Nearly 80 percent of crime is drug-related, yet drug enforcement has been cut nearly 40 percent. In four years we've gone from the best financial shape in our history to the worst. To change Mississippi for the better we have to change governors. Haley Barbour has a plan addressing the problems we face, offering detailed solutions. We can do better.
The rest of the story
Barbour's ad says that job growth in Mississippi has been replaced by record job loss. That, however, is not entirely true.
Statistics from the Mississippi Development Authority, the state's economic development agency, say that 56,000 new jobs have been created since Musgrove took office in January 2000.
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the state has lost 48,000 manufacturing jobs from January 2000 to June 2003, Musgrove said "there's never been a comparison" of state figures and federal job figures.
Barbour's ad says Mississippi has gone from the best financial shape in history to the worst. The ad doesn't say Mississippi and the rest of the nation has been trying to recover from a tough economic recession.
Besides that, the governor has little to do with state finances. The Mississippi Legislature writes the annual state budget, decides how much money to spend and, historically, ignores any input from the governor.
Governors have tried to curtail spending and urge state legislators to save money by vetoing budget proposals. But legislators, who don't like governors meddling in their business, often override those vetoes.