The head of a watchdog group that monitors the federal budget is defending his organization's use of a controversial television commercial that offers a chilling view of the future of the United States and its relationship with China.
Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, and Keith Boykin, a political pundit and editor of a news website, squared off on CNBC Monday over whether the ad represents partisan politics.
“It’s clearly a partisan ad, and I think it’s aimed a few days before the election at Democrats, who are running for re-election in the midterms,” said Keith Boykin, a progressive activist, editor of the Daily Voice and a former special assistant to President Bill Clinton.
“So whether or not you agree with the debt issue, this is clearly a partisan,” Boykin added.
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) produced the commercial, which is running on several networks.
Boykin called CAGW a conservative group that gets some of its funding from the tobacco industry and Exxon Mobil .
In the ad, a mature Chinese speaker tells a young Chinese audience that the US, with its policies to tax, spend, bail out private companies and underwrite health care is going the way of other great civilizations that have declined, including the Roman and the British.
It ends with the speaker saying of the US, “Of course, we owned most of their debt, and now they work for us.” The audience laughs.
“This is not a partisan ad,” said Tom Schatz, CAGW president.
“President George W. Bush increased the national debt by 72.5 percent. Medicare, Part D, will cost more than all the other things the Democrats have done since 2006, according to CBO (Congressional Budget Office), over the next 10 years. President Obama has increased the debt by 46 percent. We know this is a direction we can’t go in, because this is where Greece and other countries have gone.”
The ad is not factual. Although China is the largest foreign owner of US debt, the majority of US debt is in the hands of Americans and the US Treasury. (Watch video of the full commercial here.)
Schatz agreed: "This is an ad; it's not fact."