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Ad hits Obama on child soldiers

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Conservative nonprofit Let Freedom Ring attempts to link President Barack Obama to child soldiers in a new ad focusing on the United States’ military aid to certain countries in Africa and the Middle East.

The ad opens with brief background on child soldiers and notes that Sen. Obama supported a bill that restricted American aid to countries that use child soldiers in militaries and state-backed militias.

“This was the right thing to do. It’s what leaders do,” the narrator says. “But then, as president, Obama waived these restrictions, allowing millions of our taxpayer dollars to go to countries where children as young as 11 — 11! — are forced to fight.”

“Why, Mr. President? Why?” the ad finishes.

In 2011, Obama waived restrictions on military aid to countries that the U.S. has identified as using child soldiers, despite the 2008 Child Soldiers Protection Act that he, as senator, supported.

The states that received waivers — Sudan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Yemen — were considered key to American national security interests. Burma and Somalia, the other two countries identified in a 2010 State Department report as using child soldiers, were not granted waivers, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

The move sparked controversy not only because it appeared that the Obama administration was overlooking human rights abuses, but also because it sidestepped Congress’ authority and appeared to not adequately consult human rights activists, Foreign Policy reported.

Let Freedom Ring is not required to publicly disclose its donors because of its status as a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organization. However, Federal Election Commission reports in 2009 and 2010 show John Templeton Jr. was the primary backer.

Templeton, a physician by trade, is the eldest son of wealthy investor and philanthropist John Templeton. The younger Templeton is the chairman and president of the John Templeton Foundation, whose CFO, Valerie Martin, serves on the board of Let Freedom Ring, according to tax filings.

Super donor Foster Friess was also reported as a contributor in the past.

The group’s only reported independent expenditure this election cycle is $5,601 spent on a TV ad and website development. Let Freedom Ring has produced several ads this election season, such as the recent “Muslim Brotherhood” and “Uncle Sam Sheds a Tear.”

Let Freedom Ring runs a variety of websites, including WhyMrPresidentWhy.org, which opposes Obama, GasolineIsTooDamnHigh.com, which advocates for more oil drilling, WheresYourPlan.com, which focuses on the debt ceiling and Medicare reform, BBAorBust.com, which supports a balanced budget amendment, TheirOwnWords.com, which promotes “jihadist awareness,” JobsThroughGrowth.com, which supports cutting corporate taxes and rolling back regulations, and WeNeedaFence.com, which supports tighter immigration laws, including a fence at the Mexican border.

In other outside spending news:

Who paid for that political ad? You might be surprised by the answer. Email us and we will try to find out. Describe the advertisement — was it mean or nice? Will it affect your vote? When and where did it run and what were the names of the candidates? And PLEASE tell us what the disclaimer at the end says, and we will check it out.

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