Politifact Oddly Rates Dean Heller Claim ‘Mostly False’

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Amber Athey Podcast Columnist
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Politifact oddly rated a claim by Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller as “mostly false” despite the fact that Heller’s statement appears to be mostly accurate.

Heller said in a press release in late June that his Senate challenger, Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, “went AWOL on Nevada’s veterans once again yesterday when she skipped work to attend a publicity stunt instead of voting to expand coverage for Vietnam War heroes who are literally dying from exposure to Agent Orange.”

Heller’s claim rests on the fact that Rosen skipped a vote on the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act in order to take a tour of immigration facilities on the southern border. The photos taken during Rosen’s visit were later used in one of her campaign ads.

Politifact admits that Rosen skipped the vote and that she campaigned with photos from her trip to the border, but still rates Heller’s claim “mostly false.”

The fact-checkers took issue with Heller’s assertion that Rosen missed the vote “at the expense of veterans,” noting that the bill had universal support and did not need Rosen’s vote to pass.

They also claimed that Rosen’s visit to the border was “official business” and therefore should not be counted as “skipping work,” even though she did miss an official vote on House legislation.

Finally, Politifact said Heller’s claim that Rosen was engaging in a “publicity stunt” was “in the eye of the beholder.”

Politifact justified Rosen’s trip for her, asserting that she was “gaining useful first hand knowledge” as opposed to gathering photos for the following campaign advertisement.


While Rosen’s absence likely did not affect the vote on the veteran’s health bill, Politifact also has no way of knowing if Rosen only went to the border as a campaign stunt. The fact that she used photos and video from her trip in a campaign ad suggests that she was at least partly motivated by favorable publicity.

Nonetheless, Politifact rated Heller’s claim that she “skipped work…at the expense of veterans” to engage in a “publicity stunt” as “mostly false.”

As “at the expense of veterans” is the only part of Heller’s claim that seems unsubstantiated, a more accurate rating here would be “mostly true.”

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