As part of their ongoing effort to smear Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, Fox News and others in the right-wing media are claiming that in a recent ad, Warren said she wanted the United States to be “like China” and that she may have “call[ed] for America to go communist.” In fact, Warren said that the U.S. should increase its infrastructure spending in order to compete with countries like China, echoing a similar observation from former Fox employee Newt Gingrich.
In her ad, Warren said:
WARREN: We've got bridges and roads in need of repair, and thousands of people in need of work. Why aren't we rebuilding America? Our competitors are putting people to work, building the future. China invests 9 percent of its GDP in infrastructure. America, we're at just 2.4 percent. We can do better. We can build a foundation for a strong new economy and get people in Massachusetts to work right now.
Similarly, during a January 2009 Republican presidential debate, Gingrich called for “an infrastructure investment program that would actually get us back on track,” saying that “you cannot compete with China in the long run if you have an inferior infrastructure”:
GINGRICH: But -- but -- but let's stick with infrastructure then, because I think it's a very big, very important topic. You cannot compete with China in the long run if you have an inferior infrastructure. You've got to move to a twenty first century model. That means you've got to be -- you've got to be technologically smart and you have to make investments. ...
I would have an energy program designed to get us free from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, two-thirds of the government revenue from that would go to debt reduction and to paying off the debt.
One-third would go to infrastructure, which would give you the ability to have an infrastructure investment program that would actually get us back on track and you look at places like the highways you're describing, the bridges the governor just described. If you don't have some systematic investment program, then you are not going to be able, I think, to compete with China and India.
Indeed, studies show that the U.S. infrastructure is deteriorating and needs significant investment, and that infrastructure spending provides extremely efficient economic stimulus.
Despite the unremarkable character of the argument Warren made, Fox News and other right-wing media outlets rushed to question whether she had “call[ed] for America to go communist,” declare that she had “Praise[d] Communist China,” and accuse her of having a “collectivist dream for America.”
On July 30, Glenn Beck's website The Blaze highlighted Warren's ad in a post that posed the question, “Did Elizabeth Warren Call For America To Go Communist?” The Blaze reported that “what sets this Warren ad apart from her typical line is her unfavorable comparison of the United States' infrastructure spending to China's infrastructure spending,” adding: “Needless to say, unsympathetic media sources have already leapt on the comment, treating it as de facto evidence that Warren is sympathetic to communism. Given her close ideological ties to Occupy Wall Street's message, this is not that much of a stretch.” Other right-wing blogs quickly joined the smear campaign.
On July 31, Fox Nation highlighted The Blaze's article with the headline, “Elizabeth Warren Praises Communist China”:
On August 1, Fox & Friends criticized Warren's ad in a segment that featured the captions, “Not Like Mike... Like China; Warren's Collectivist Dream For America,” “Like... China? Warren Lauds Communist Nation's Spending,” and “Warren's 'China' Syndrome; Advocates Spending Like Communist Nation.”
During the segment, Fox Business host Stuart Varney said of Warren's role as a speaker at the Democratic National Convention, “She's going to backup President Obama's left-of-center policies, calling for a new stimulus program. She's a collectivist just like the president. She is anti-private enterprise just like the president. She is going to have a very significant role.”