WASHINGTON -- In a new TV ad, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) would have you believe that President Barack Obama forced Congress to give poor people food stamps by exploiting innocent farm legislation.
"When President Obama hijacked the farm bill and turned it into a food stamp bill, with billions more in spending, I voted no," Cotton, a candidate for Senate, says in the spot.
It's true that the 2013 farm bill included food stamps provisions, but it is absurd to call Obama a farm bill hijacker. Food stamps have been part of the farm bill for decades, thanks to a tacit deal between rural and urban lawmakers. Rural Republicans get farm subsidies for their constituents and city Democrats get food stamps for theirs, in an arrangement known as logrolling.
Also, the bill would not have added "billions more in spending" -- it would actually have reduced spending on food stamps. In fact, the White House threatened to veto the legislation over the cuts, although it failed to pass the House anyway.
After the bill failed, conservative Republicans in the House tried to split the farm subsidies and food stamps into separate bills, but that strategy failed as well. Congress eventually passed a regular farm bill with more modest cuts than the ones Cotton first voted against.
Cotton currently holds a slight advantage over incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) according to HuffPost Pollster.