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September 18, 2014

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Heller, Berkley duel takes to Spanish-language airwaves

Shelley Berkley

Shelley Berkley

Dean Heller

Dean Heller

Sen. Dean Heller’s campaign released its first Spanish-language ad this week, an attack on opponent Shelley Berkley called “Credit” that comes with just less than 100 days left in the close U.S. Senate campaign.

The ad questions Berkley’s integrity, arguing that she has taken credit for legislation she did not author and has repeatedly attacked Heller with a claim she knows to be false.

The ad shows a March article by the Sun's Karoun Demirjian pointing out that a visa waiver bill to expand tourism to the United States that was touted as “Berkley’s proposed expansion” and “Berkley’s legislation” by the representative's campaign, was actually authored by Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill.

“Who would take credit for something they didn’t do? Hold a press conference? Alert the media?” the ad asks in Spanish. “Congresswoman Shelley Berkley. She took credit for legislation she didn’t even write.”

Berkley has repeatedly used Heller’s votes for Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan against him, arguing that it amounted to a vote “to end Medicare as we know it.”

In 2011, Ryan, R-Wis., proposed a budget that would have shifted Medicare beneficiaries to private insurance plans using federal subsidies. Heller voted for the plan, both as a representative and later in the Senate, after being appointed to the seat vacated by John Ensign.

Factcheck.org, which analyzes statements by politicians and their campaigns, said the claims that the Ryan plan would “end” or “essentially end” Medicare among its “Whoppers of 2011.”

The plan, which has since been revised by Ryan, “would have continued the present Medicare system indefinitely for those now getting benefits, and also for all those who reach age 65 during the next decade,” factcheck.org noted.

“Her Medicare attack against Dean Heller was named ‘Lie of the Year’ by an independent watchdog group,” the ad says in Spanish.

A July 24 poll by Rasmussen has Heller up 9 points on Berkley, 51 percent to 42 percent. Hispanic voters, who make up about 15 percent of the Nevada electorate, were key to President Barack Obama's and Sen. Harry Reid's successes in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

A Latino Decisions poll, however, found that Berkley is not favored by Hispanics as much as other Democratic candidates.

The Berkley campaign released its own Spanish-language ad this week, targeting Heller for not supporting the Dream Act or additional funding for Pell Grants.

“With their opposition to the Dream Act, Dean Heller and Republicans want to go back to deporting undocumented students. And Heller and Republicans voted against Pell Grants that make a college education possible for working families,” the ad states in Spanish.

At one point the ad shows a photo of Berkley in between photos of popular Nevada Latino elected officials state Sen. Ruben Kihuen and Assemblywoman Lucy Flores.

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