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Barr says abortion acceptable only when mother’s life endangered

By Jack Brammer — jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — After days of refusing to answer a question about when abortion should be legal, Republican Andy Barr acknowledged Thursday that he believes the practice is acceptable only when the life of a mother is in danger.

After a campaign rally in Frankfort, Barr was reminded that he told the Herald-Leader in 2010 that there should be only one exception to a ban on abortion.

“Other than when the life of the mother is at stake, I believe Congress should do all that it can to protect the life of every human being — born or unborn,” Barr answered in a Herald-Leader questionnaire two years ago.

The newspaper specifically asked, “In what instances do you think abortion should be legal?”

On Thursday, Barr said his stance has not changed on the issue since 2010, when the Lexington attorney lost to Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler by 648 votes.

“No, I haven’t changed my mind since 2010,” he said.

Claim that Barr supports tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas half true

The Herald-Leader will routinely check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their surrogates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

By John Cheves
jcheves@herald-leader.com

The statement: “My opponent wants tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.”

— U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, in a television commercial

The ruling: Half true

The facts: Chandler, who faces Republican challenger Andy Barr in Tuesday’s election, says Barr wants tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. Barr has not called for exactly that sort of tax break, but he supports changes to the tax code that would have that practical effect.

Barr and many other Republicans support a proposed tax break that can be found most prominently in the budget plans of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., the GOP vice presidential nominee.

Barr mum on abortion question; pledges to sponsor term-limits amendment

By Jack Brammer
jbrammer@herald-leader.com

MOOREFIELD — Republican Andy Barr pledged Tuesday to sponsor a constitutional amendment every year he is in Congress to limit terms of its members and remained mum on whether he believes there are any circumstances when abortion should be legal.

Barr, the GOP nominee running against Democratic incumbent Ben Chandler in Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District race, stopped short of putting a limit on his own possible tenure in Congress.

“No, I would not,” Barr responded when asked if he would pledge to serve no more than six terms in the U.S. House. “I do not anticipate serving six terms or that long. I might. I might not.”

The issues of term limits and abortions came up Monday night on Kentucky Educational Television during the candidates’ only debate before Tuesday’s election.

Republican Party wrongly claims that Chandler voted for Obamacare

The Herald-Leader will routinely check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their surrogates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

By John Cheves
jcheves@herald-leader.com

The statement: “The stimulus. Bailouts. Pork barrel projects. Obamacare. Ben Chandler voted yes on every one.”

— Republican Party of Kentucky mailer sent to Central Kentucky homes

The ruling: False

The facts: In a mailer sent to voters’ homes, the state Republican Party says Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler voted for the federal stimulus bill, bailouts (plural), pork barrel projects and Obamacare — “every one.”

He didn’t.

Barr uses child dressed as Chandler for Halloween in latest negative TV ad

By Jack Brammer
jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — The mean-spirited political battle between Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler and Republican Andy Barr embraced Halloween Monday as Barr’s campaign released a trick-or-treat TV ad that calls Chandler “one scary guy.”

The ad shows a costumed character resembling Chandler approaching a door opened by a white-haired woman with a bowl of treats. She drops it as a child’s voice says Chandler has been “trying to scare old people like my grandma” — a reference to Chandler’s claims about how Barr would change the Medicare program.

The ad also says Chandler “picks on coal miners” and “hangs out with President Obama, taking people’s money like it’s candy.”

Chandler’s campaign immediately blasted the ad, calling Barr “a man who gets children in masks to spread his lies.”

Campaign Watchdog: GOP wrong about impact of cap-and-trade bill supported by Chandler

The Herald-Leader will routinely check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their surrogates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

By John Cheves
jcheves@herald-leader.com

The statement: “Ben Chandler’s vote for Obama’s ‘cap and trade’ bill would raise taxes on every American household by $1,761.”

— Republican Party of Kentucky mailer sent to Central Kentucky homes

The ruling: False

The facts: U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, faces Republican Andy Barr, a Lexington lawyer, in the Nov. 6 election.

In 2009, President Barack Obama proposed a cap-and-trade plan — a compromise between free-market conservatives and environmentalists — to deal with the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists say contribute to climate change.

Chandler ‘proud’ of vote for 2008 auto bailout; Barr critical of $85 billion deal

By Jack Brammer
jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler and his Republican challenger, Andy Barr, defended their opposing positions on the federal auto bailout during campaign stops Wednesday in a district laden with auto jobs.

After speaking to a group of senior citizens, Chandler told the Lexington Herald-Leader he was proud of his 2008 vote for the $85 billion rescue plan for automakers Chrysler Corp. and General Motors.

The auto bailout sparked renewed interest nationally this week after a heated exchange about it Monday night in the final debate between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Barr, who narrowly lost to Chandler in the 2010 race for Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District, has repeatedly accused Chandler of needlessly raising the national debt by supporting Obama’s spending initiatives. Chandler also voted for the $800 billion economic stimulus plan in 2009, but he opposed the $700 billion bank bailout in 2008.

Toyota, which employs about 6,700 full-time workers in Georgetown at its largest North American plan, favored the emergency loan plan, Chandler said.

Chandler, Barr disagree on importance of upcoming debate

By Jack Brammer
jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler and his Republican challenger, Andy Barr, have different views about the importance of their Oct. 29 debate on Kentucky Educational Television.

Chandler said he does not think the debate will be critical in the tight race for Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District seat.

“I don’t think it will change it at all,” Chandler said. “Kentucky debates have never historically been terribly important.

“I can tell you what’s going to happen. He’s going to spout out the same Republican talking points and I’m going to talk about what I think is the prescription for health care, for the economy and Medicare and all those things and then you all will write an article the next day that says ‘candidates trade barbs.’”

Barr said the debate will be important.

“Any time you have a competitive election, it’s important for the voters to size up both candidates,” he said. “Considering the fact that Congressman Chandler has ducked every debate until now, this particular debate becomes important. We finally have a chance to hold him accountable.”

Facts don’t support claim that Andy Barr subverted open-records law

The Herald-Leader will routinely check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their surrogates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

By John Cheves
jcheves@herald-leader.com

The statement: “Andy Barr … was even admonished by the attorney general for subverting the state open records law.”

— Television commercial for U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles

The ruling: False

The facts: Barr, a Lexington lawyer, is the Republican challenger to Chandler in the Nov. 6 election.

Chandler’s claim that Barr was caught subverting the Kentucky Open Records Act stems from an October 2007 request for documents submitted to Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s office, where Barr was Fletcher’s deputy general counsel.

Republicans focus on Chandler’s ties to Obama in 6th District race

By Jack Brammer — jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — In the tight race for Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District seat, Republican Andy Barr and groups supporting him have intensified efforts in recent days to tie Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler to President Barack Obama, who is unpopular in Kentucky.

“I am most proud to endorse Sen. Barack Obama, a man of whom I can proudly say, I know I’ve picked a winner,” Chandler says in a Barr TV ad that has blanketed Lexington TV stations over the past week.

Barr, who lost to Chandler by 648 votes two years ago, began running a new ad Monday that does not mention Chandler by name but criticizes Obama for “stifling regulations that are killing small businesses.”

Meanwhile, two outside groups — the National Republican Congressional Committee and Americans for Tax Reform — have begun hammering Chandler for supporting Obama.