Why This 'Obama Phone' Ad Is Misleading

An ad wrongly implies that Obama is passing out free phones for votes

ByABC News
October 18, 2012, 10:35 AM

Oct. 18, 2012— -- The Tea Party Victory Fund, a super PAC, released a misleading ad recently implying that President Barack Obama was passing out free phones to gain votes.

"Keep Obama in president…he gave us a phone," an African-American woman in Ohio says repeatedly in the black-and-white video.

The text that appears over a talking woman in the video blames Obama for job loss and the national debt.

But as The New York Times notes in an editorial, the Obama administration does not pass out free phones for votes. There is a national program that provides low-income people with free or discounted phones, but it was started under George W. Bush, Obama's Republican predecessor.

And the idea for subsidized phone service, notes liberal blog Think Progress, originated under the Ronald Reagan administration after the breakup of AT&T. The program is paid for by telecommunications companies through the nonprofit Universal Service Administrative Company, not through taxpayer revenue.

The Drudge Report and other conservative pundits and sites promoted the video as evidence that Obama supporters are dependent on the government for handouts, and now the Tea Party Victory Fund, has used it in a political ad.

"The ad fits into the narrative that minorities are moochers and that government programs transfer wealth from white people to black people," read the Times piece. "If it shows anything in microcosm, it's that the Tea Party learned from the Southern Strategy."

To see the full video, go here.