Well that didn’t take long. After opening his campaign with the most I-Love-Jesus-y ad of this or any other recent decade, Mark Pryor has decided to go negative on Tom Cotton, who has been leading him in most recent polls. And under the theory that if you’re not going to go big, you should go home, Pryor has chosen to accuse Tom Cotton of being… pro-Ebola and pro-the death of kids:
You gotta give it to Mark Pryor. If he’s gonna go down, he’s not gonna go down running a vanilla campaign. Nor one based on the facts. It’s not often even in politics that you see people being accused of wanting to spread a deadly and exotic African disease to America. Especially given that the facts upon which the ad is even nominally based are wrong.
The ad alleges that Cotton is pro-Ebola because he voted against HR 307 aka “The Pandemic And All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act” on January 22, 2013. This is true, as far as it goes. However, it ignores the fact that Cotton voted for final passage of the bill. The concern that Cotton and some other members of Congress had related to section 201 of the bill which would have authorized the HHS Secretary to issue mandatory redeployment orders for public health officials (including State public health officials) which is contrary to existing law and Supreme Court precedent which forbids the federal government from commandeering State employees in this manner.
Cotton argued at the time that this provision should provide for voluntary assignment of public health officials in response and ultimately the Senate HELP Committee agreed and amended the provision to make reassignment voluntary. When this unconstitutional provision was removed from the bill, Cotton voted for its final passage.
So not only does Mark Pryor’s ad ludicrously claim that Tom Cotton is pro-Ebola, the very facts on which he bases his ad are completely and dead wrong. It took a little while, but the stench of flopsweat is reeking from the Pryor campaign now.