RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Candidates in a North Carolina congressional race have been using selective editing — and selective facts — to air ads that are leading voters astray.
In a television spot posted by Republican candidate Ilario Pantano, news clips about him were trimmed to omit two key parts of his biography: That he was once charged with murder and that he had worked for Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs.
Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre, meanwhile, has aired an ad accusing Pantano of wanting to raise taxes 23 percent. It misrepresents a "fair tax" proposal that Pantano supports to establish a federal sales tax but eliminate a range of other taxes and do away with the Internal Revenue Service.
The ads have aired on television this month in the 7th district, which covers southeastern North Carolina. McIntyre is seeking re-election after more than a decade in office.
Pantano's ad begins with a clip of a national NBC News reporter, Stone Phillips, talking. "Ilario Pantano, described by one superior as having more integrity, dedication and drive than any Marine he's ever met..." the anchor says before the ad moves on. It clips off the end of the anchor's statement that says "... now stands charged with murder."
Pantano was charged with killing two Iraqis during a raid in 2004 but the charges were dropped the following year after a Marine general decided not to bring him to trial. Pantano has typically not shied away from discussing his charges and wrote a book about the experience.
A second news clip shows another NBC interview with Pantano, in which an anchor again describes his background: "You served in Gulf One, you got out, you got a big great job, a beautiful wife and a kid, then 9/11 happened, you come home, your hair is shaved off, you're ready to head back into a war zone to help America," she says.
That clip trimmed out a few words in the middle of the sentence. NBC journalist Ann Curry actually says that Pantano "got a big great job at Goldman Sachs." Goldman has been one of the more controversial — and in some cases reviled — financial titans of the economic crisis.
Pantano spokesman Andy Yates said he wasn't involved in editing the video but said the clips were likely trimmed to fit into a 30-second ad.
McIntyre's ad, which was unavailable online Thursday, claimed that Pantano wanted to raise taxes as much as 23 percent, according to local television stations. Fair Tax proponents have suggested a national retail sales tax of 23 percent and annual rebates to help offset the cost for lower-income Americans. Pantano wants to eliminate other taxes, such as the income tax and estate tax, and his campaign said he is looking to reduce taxes for individuals, families and small businesses.
"Ilario will never support any efforts to raise taxes," said Pantano spokesman Andy Yates
McIntyre's campaign did not return calls seeking comment.