FACT CHECK: Did Arizona GOP candidate Christine Jones call Hillary Clinton 'effective?'

Posted at 10:07 PM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 12:55:20-04

Conservative anti-tax group Club for Growth is weighing in on the crowded GOP race for Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District ahead of Tuesday's primary.

Former GoDaddy executive Christine Jones, Arizona Senate Majority Leader Andy Biggs, state Representative Justin Olson, and former Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley all seek the strong Republican seat.

The Club for Growth television ad, which started running Aug. 4, takes aim at Jones, attempting to make her synonymous with Hillary Clinton. 

"Jones called Hillary Clinton ‘a capable and respected leader,’ and an ‘effective’ secretary of state," the ad states. "Hillary Clinton effective? Christine Jones thinks so."

"Jones called Hillary Clinton a capable and respected leader...Hillary Clinton effective? Christine Jones thinks so."

Club for Growth, which endorsed Biggs, has spent more than $340,000 against Jones, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

We wanted to know whether Jones really talked about Clinton in the way Club for Growth described.

The ad cites a couple of Jones’ personal blog posts, dating back to 2012.

On her blog, Rudy Syndrome, Jones did reference Clinton in a Jan. 2, 2012, post with political predictions. She notes that the predictions are her "purely unscientific, objective opinion."

Here’s how the Clinton prediction reads:

Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, will continue to stand out as a capable and respected leader and a commanding presence in US international relations, causing even more Democrats to wonder why she wasn’t their candidate in 2008, and calling for her to replace vice president Biden as president Obama’s running mate in the 2012 general election, or better yet, to challenge the president in a Democratic primary.

In a year-end recap on Dec. 30, 2012, Jones notes that her prediction was true.

"She has made her boss and her party look good with her tireless efforts to represent the U.S. abroad for the past four years. She will be a formidable force in the coming years," Jones wrote.

In her 2013 prediction post, Jones also calls Clinton an "effective Secretary of State."

Americans, regardless of party-affiliation or political involvement, will begin to realize what an effective Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was, as her replacement begins to be scrutinized for failing to live up to the incredibly high standard she set.

During her unsuccessful run for governor, Jones started to change her message about Clinton and her predictions. In a January 2014 post recapping the results of her 2013 predictions, Jones said her prediction about Clinton did not amount to an endorsement.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," Jones said. "My politics and hers could not be more different: she is a big government, tax and spend liberal; I am a committed conservative, dedicated to fiercely defending the constitution and the principles upon which this country was founded."

While Jones did once have supportive words for Clinton, that does not reflect her present-day tone -- as the ad attempts to show.

We did not hear back from Club for Growth, but Jones spokesman Brian Seitchik reiterated Jones' disdain for Clinton.

"Christine Jones opposes Hillary Clinton and will do everything possible to defeat her," Seitchik said.

Our ruling 

Club for Growth said, "Jones called Hillary Clinton ‘a capable and respected leader,’ and an ‘effective’ secretary of state...Hillary Clinton effective? Christine Jones thinks so."

In multiple blog posts dating back to January 2012, Jones does characterize Clinton as capable, respected and effective.

What the ad does not mention is how Jones started walking back her remarks in 2014. By saying "Christine Jones thinks so," in present tense, Club for Growth neglects to account for her more recent perspective.

We rate the ad’s claim "Half True."