Rep. Lee Terry called on the fact check carpet, again.


Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

Two years after being accused of playing fast and loose with the facts—an accusation that cost him a key endorsement and almost his re-election—Congressman Lee Terry is facing similar charges all over again.

The Washington Post has hit Terry with three “Pinocchios”—four is the worst—for a TV ad ripping Obamacare.

Lee Terry campaign mailer attacking fellow Republican Dan Frei.

At the same time Dan Frei, Terry’s lone opponent in Tuesday’s GOP primary, claims the 8-term Congressman is guilty of “dirty politics” for a pair of last-minute mail pieces.

The mailers attack Frei—who some Democrats insist is a Tea Partier—as a “liberal” and likens Frei to Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. According to Team Terry, Frei “supports using your tax dollars to provide 11 million illegal immigrants with free health care.”

Terry’s campaign tells Nebraska Watchdog the “free health care” claim comes from Frei’s web site where he said this: “Free health care cannot be provided for needy illegal immigrants unless other assimilation requirements are met.”

Frei spokesman Scott Petersen counters that sentence was originally on Frei’s website but only briefly. “It sounded squishy…sounded like amnesty and Dan doesn’t support amnesty,” said Petersen. Frei’s website now says, “Ban government assistance programs to those here illegally.”

Terry spokesman, Kurt Bardella, wants voters to ask themselves what he calls a simple question.

“Which do you believe more? The Dan Frei who wrote in his own platform that free health care could be provided to illegal immigrants who meet assimilation requirements or the Dan Frei who now, days before an election, says he never had that position?”

Petersen argues Terry is grasping at straws, “I’m embarrassed my Congressman would do this.”

If nothing else Frei’s campaign might find comfort in the fact that after months of nary a mention of Frei’s name along with the Congressman’s refusal to debate him, Terry is now targeting Frei—opening up the argument that Frei must be cutting into Terry’s support.

As for the Washington Post’s fact checker the newspaper whacks Terry for stretching the truth in an ad which “leaves the impression” that under Obamacare one of Terry’s constituents saw her family’s health care costs jump nearly $300, some 40 percent.

In the end though the family was able to extend its plan for two years.

“We never said they did go up that amount but rather when she got the notice — that was the reality she was confronting,” Terry spokesman Bardella told the Post. “Obamacare is creating that kind of uncertainty.”

According to the Post, because the family is not paying the higher rate the ad is misleading.

In 2012 following a series of advertising missteps, one noted in an exclusive Nebraska Watchdog report, the Omaha World-Herald refused to endorse Terry as it had done in each of his seven previous congressional campaigns.

According to the newspaper the advertising blunders were “unseemly behavior for a veteran Congressman.”

Terry defeated Democrat John Ewing but by only two points; one of Terry’s closest races ever.

The winner of the GOP primary is likely to face Democrat Brad Ashford in November.

Contact Joe Jordan at

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