In a TV ad, Sen. Patty Murray has seized on Dino Rossi’s answer to The News Tribune editorial board about the role of subsidies in awarding the Air Force tanker contract.
WHAT THE AD SAYS: Next to video of Rossi, the screen reads: “Should Boeing workers have a level playing field?”A voiceover says, “When Dino Rossi was asked if Boeing workers should have a level playing field, he said,” — cut to video of Rossi — “No, not as far as I’m concerned.”
THE FACTS: That wasn’t the question Rossi was asked. You can see the exchange at the 21:10 mark here, or read our original post. Essentially, he was asked if the Pentagon should take World Trade Organization rulings into account when it awards a major contract to build a refueling tanker. The rulings say that Boeing and Airbus, who are vying for the contract, have wrongfully received government subsidies. The European subsidies to Airbus appear to be more significant than the U.S. help for Boeing, as the questioner pointed out.
Rossi said no.
He retreated within hours, after being attacked. His campaign said he meant the ruling against BOEING shouldn’t be taken into account. But he thinks Airbus subsidies SHOULD be taken into account, the campaign said after being pressed on the issue.
What seems clear: Rossi misunderstood the question. What seems arguable: Rossi showed he doesn’t understand the subsidies issue, a critical issue for Washington’s largest private employer.
But it’s a stretch to say, as Murray did after Rossi’s gaffe, that “he thinks that French workers should have an unfair advantage” over workers in Everett. And her ad further misleads by twisting the complicated question Rossi was asked into a simple one.
The fact is, the reference to a level playing field comes from Rossi himself, and he wasn’t against it — he was for it. He said he will fight to create “the right playing field,” prompting the questioner to ask for a clearer answer.
Murray may believe the effect of Rossi’s original position would be to create an unlevel playing field. But that’s not the question he was asked.
BOTTOM LINE: The claim is false.