WASHINGTON -- PolitiFact is giving Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a "mostly false" rating for his claim that he voted for a stronger version of the Violence Against Women Act than the version backed by President Barack Obama.
The fact-checking project of the Tampa Bay Times examined a recent McConnell campaign ad titled "As Is," in which he claims that he "voted for even stronger protections than Obama's agenda will allow" when the Senate weighed in on VAWA last year. What the ad doesn't say is that McConnell actually voted against the version of VAWA that passed the Senate and went on to become law, and he instead supported a scaled-back GOP version of the legislation that left out key protections for LGBT, Native American and undocumented immigrant victims of domestic abuse.
PolitiFact tried to make sense of McConnell's claim:
Perhaps McConnell could argue that the mandatory minimum sentences Republicans required in their alternative made for a "stronger" bill, but advocates of domestic abuse awareness opposed this measure as unnecessary.
And the Republican measure was absent several protections for certain groups that were included in the bill Obama signed. McConnell is within his right to oppose those provisions, but it makes it hard for him to prove that he supported "stronger" legislation.
We rate the claim Mostly False.
The Huffington Post noted last week that McConnell's ad is generally misleading when it comes to his record on VAWA. While it touts that McConnell has "always supported" the purpose of VAWA and was a co-sponsor of the original bill in 1991, it glosses over the fact that he has voted against it repeatedly.
Women's issues have been central in McConnell's re-election race against his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, and PolitiFact notes both have obscured the facts on this front. In Grimes' case, she earned a "half true" rating for attacking McConnell for opposing VAWA twice without noting he supported it in other cases.
McConnell is currently leading Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state, by about 3 percentage points, per HuffPost Pollster's average of publicly available polling.