When U.S. Rep. Phil Hare stopped by our offices during the August recess, he said his re-election battle with Republican challenger Bobby Schilling is one of the most bruising campaigns he has ever experienced. Earlier this year, for example, several national blogs hammered him about his views on the Democratic health care bill after taking out of context a statement he made about its constitutionality. Now, conservative media outlets are pushing a deceptively edited video of Hare claiming he "doesn't believe the national debt is real."
The clip comes from a July 27 press conference, in which the congressman said it's a "myth that this country is in debt, and you just can't [deficit] spend." A video posted to Youtube in September and linked to by several blogs, however, cuts out that second clause entirely. Media Matters makes the catch.
Polling is tight in this race. FiveThirtyEight's regression gives Hare a 57 percent chance of retaining the seat. His campaign got a boost yesterday when he received the endorsement of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Political Action Committee. It's especially significant because Schilling supporters have previously attacked Hare as a "draft dodger." (He actually spent six years in the Army reserves.)