Press Release from Zach Wamp for Governor; July 12, 2010:
NASHVILLE – On the eve of tonight’s statewide gubernatorial debate, the media is once again focusing on Bill Haslam’s repeated attempts to mislead voters about his real record – this time in a Haslam mailing on guns and 2nd Amendment rights – which WBIR-TV in Knoxville concluded was “misleading” and a “stretch” of the truth.
Specifically, the WBIR report released last week concluded the following about Haslam’s statewide mail piece on guns:
“As part of our continuing Heart of the Matter series, we took a look at one of the more recent Haslam mailings that focuses on gun rights as we separate fact from fiction. In that mailer, Haslam says he has kept Knoxville ‘the most gun friendly big city in Tennessee’. That claim is a stretch…
Finally, the mailer mentions Haslam’s ‘Life Membership’ in the National Rifle Association. In other fliers he’s touted a ‘Lifetime Membership.’ That claim is misleading, Haslam is a relatively new member. Haslam joined the NRA in 2009. Like most any American can, he purchased a Life Membership for $1,000. With it, he retains membership in the NRA for the rest of his life.”
“Mayor Haslam is once again trying to talk the talk on guns, but we’ve known all along that he’s never walked the walk, especially when it comes to the 2nd Amendment” said Sam Edelen, Wamp campaign spokesman.
“Mayor Haslam joined Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-gun group in 2006 and only quit it last year when he began running for governor. He’s pretending to be something he’s not, and Tennesseans know the difference between a real conservative like Zach and a guy who’s pretending to be one on television.”
Haslam’s latest misleading claims follow earlier efforts by his campaign to take credit for something he didn’t do. Both the Associated Press and the Knoxville-based WATE-TV recently took Haslam to task for false claims he made about job creation in a television ad, in which Haslam erroneously boasts that he “helped create more than 11,000 jobs” while working for his family’s Pilot Corporation.
WATE’s Gene Patterson, who subjected Haslam’s ad to his time-honored “Truth Test,” labeled the claim “misleading,” and the Associated Press wrote the following about Haslam’s job creation claim:
“On the campaign trail and in television ads, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam boasts of his role in creating 11,000 jobs as an executive with family-owned Pilot Corp.
Yet a count by The Associated Press shows that nearly half that many jobs were added to the Knoxville-based company’s payroll through mergers and acquisitions of other truck stop chains.
The 11,000 new jobs figure includes about 4,000 existing positions that were added through a 2001 joint venture with Marathon that re-branded 110 Speedway and Super America stores as Pilot Travel Centers. Another 1,400 were added when Pilot acquired 60 truck stops from Williams Co. in 2003.”
WATE also examined Haslam’s claim that he’s responsible for Knoxville having the “lowest property tax rate in 50 years.” Patterson also labeled that statement “misleading” and noted that during his first full year as mayor, Haslam recommended a 35-cent increase in the City’s property tax rate, adding:
“So how is it now the lowest in half a century? The campaign says it has to do with the property reappraisals of 2009. Property values went up and the tax rate went down to compensate. What the ad doesn’t say is rates have to go down by law, not by mayoral initiative.”