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McKinney Attack Ad Edits and Alters Foley's Interview With WNPR

John McKinney
Screenshot from Sen. John McKinney's TV spot, "Change."

State Minority Leader John McKinney's first television spot goes right after his primary opponent for governor, Tom Foley. McKinney uses (and re-uses) Foley's own words where he appears to say, "I'm not going to cut spending."

Watch the commercial below and pay attention from about 0:07 to 0:10.

What Foley actually said was, "I'm not saying I'm going to cut spending; I'm saying I'm going to hold spending flat."

Foley's quote sounded vaguely familiar to us and didn't look right. That's because those are the edited words of Foley when he appeared in June on WNPR's Where We Live. It is unclear where the video came from.

McKinney's campaign acknowledges the source of the audio.

As a policy, WNPR does not allow political organizations to use our content without permission.

McKinney's commercial also does not indicate this audio came from WNPR. If viewers did want to hear Foley's full comments during his appearance on Where We Live, they would have heard a very different message.

McKinney's campaign quotes Foley as saying, "I'm not going to cut spending." But two words were cut out of the middle of that sentence: "saying," and "I'm."

What Foley actually said was, "I'm not saying I'm going to cut spending; I'm saying I'm going to hold spending flat." That is very different from what the McKinney ad presents.

Just before a Republican primary debate started on Thursday, McKinney's campaign posted the following tweet.

When asked if this tweet was related to the ad, McKinney spokesperson Jodi Latina said it was related to what Foley says on the campaign trail. She added that even though the audio was edited, the meaning of it doesn't change.

Listen below to hear Foley's original comment, followed by an experiment in editing to see if we could replicate the McKinney campaign's edit:

This comes from a candidate who said he would not run a negative campaign against his Republican opponents. Here's what McKinney told The Connecticut Mirror at the Republican convention in May, when Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton was still in the race:

“I’m running against Dan Malloy,” McKinney said. “I’m going to run on a vision of turning Connecticut around. I’m not going to run against the other two Republicans.”

Foley also went quickly on the offensive in his latest ad, attacking McKinney for being a Hartford "insider." Foley campaign spokesman Chris Cooper told CT News Junkie that this second spot, "would have been different if Senator McKinney had not opened with his ad."

The "Change" spot by McKinney was the first TV commercial released by his campaign. He has spent more than $114,000 on local air time. Yesterday, McKinney and his running mate David Walker were approved for $1.35 million in public financing.

Listen below to Foley's full, extended answer to John Dankosky's question about state worker layoffs, including his statement on spending:

Here is a transcript of the audio above:

JOHN DANKOSKY, HOST: One of the things that people are asking and I think want to know about is, would you lay off people in state government if you had to...?

TOM FOLEY: No. That's what I'm saying...

DANKOSKY: You're not going to lay off people in state government?

FOLEY: No. The state government - the state workers are only a third of the cost of government so even if you...that's not going to solve the problem. But, John, you and I know government actually does things...

DANKOSKY: Trust me, yeah, yeah...

FOLEY: But the problem with this government is they aren't doing enough and government's costing too much. People are getting a bad deal. Their taxes have gone up and everybody knows that roads and bridges are deteriorating. We've got the second longest wait in lines at DMV of any state in the country or I think we're a minute or two behind California and it's like 53-and-a-half minutes.

This is just a government that's not performing. So we're not...it's not only expensive, we not only have some of the highest taxes anywhere in the country and the highest spending rate per capita and the highest long-term liabilities per capita, but the government simply isn't performing well.

So everybody assumes that if you're going to hold spending - I'm not saying I'm going to cut spending, I'm saying I'm going to hold spending flat. So hey, if we employed everybody in the state government this year that we have with this spending, we can do it next year spending the same amount of money.

DANKOSKY: Don't costs go up? Costs go up for everything! You run a business. I mean, costs go up...

FOLEY: Well, they go up in some areas and they go down in some areas so you have to make it more efficient or this government wastes a tremendous amount of money.

*This post was updated at 2:51 pm with comments from the McKinney campaign.

Tucker Ives is WNPR's morning news producer.

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