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Spin Check: Bill White's "Mansion" Ad
BY Omar Villafranca

What is Spin Check? As part of our coverage of Decision 2010 and the elections that affect Texas, we put political ads to the test.

Bill White has a campaign ad jabbing Gov. Rick Perry for living in a large home that is not the governor's mansion.

In the ad titled "Mansion," White talks about the taxpayer money being spent. But is the ad true or false?

Let's spin check it. Here's the text of the ad:

Rick Perry has been charging the taxpayers of Texas $10,000 a month for his rental house, hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills.
Meanwhile, our schools rank near the bottom in graduation rates and test scores.
When Texas has a governor that is more interested in his own house, his own future, than our school houses, which are our future, then you know he's been governor too long.
Bill White. He's in it for Texas.

The part at the beginning that says,"Rick Perry has been charging the taxpayers of Texas $10,000 a month for his rental house," is TRUE.

An AP report talked about Perry's rental house and the costs. Perry is living in the large rental home at taxpayers' expense while the historic governor's mansion in Austin undergoes renovations and repairs.

The ad also says taxpayers are paying for "hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills," which is TRUE.

But it is should be noted that the same AP article said some of the costs of the home are paid for by campaign donations.

The ad goes on to say, "Meanwhile, our schools rank near the bottom in graduation rates and test scores," which is also TRUE.

But the White campaign should read the fine print of what it sends out.

The White campaign sent a link to SAT scores put forward by the College Board. The College Board's own disclaimer (at the bottom of the page) says "The SAT is a strong indicator of trends in the college-bound population, but it should never be used alone for such comparisons because demographics and other non school factors can have a strong effect on scores."

The rest of the ad contains political statements.

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