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Woodhouse brothers at it again, over a health-care ad

By Garance Franke-Ruta
After the fact-checking site Politifact gave a recent ad from Americans for Prosperity a "Pants on Fire" rating for egregiously inaccurate claims, the Democratic National Committee's communications director called on the conservative advocacy group's North Carolina state director "to pull the ad."

A man who is also his brother.

Brad Woodhouse, 42, and his brother, Dallas Woodhouse, 36, have the unusual distinction of having fought on opposite sides of the battle for health-care reform all year. Last summer, Dallas, a former North Carolina political journalist, called Brad "a professional reputation destroyer" in the New York Times. Brad called Dallas a spreader of "lies, innuendo and conspiracy theories." And their mother said watching the two go at it on television was a stress-inducing experience. "I'm always nervous, and I tell them to be nice to each other," Joyce Woodhouse told the paper. "And they're not always nice."

And now they are at it again.

On Wednesday afternoon, the DNC sent out a release with this assessment from the group Factcheck.org: "This ad from Americans for Prosperity caught our eye because of the sheer number of falsehoods it hits on, both new ones and old faithfuls."

A version of the spot, which has been running in 18 congressional districts, asks voters to call North Carolina Rep. Bob Etheridge (D) and contends that the health-care reform bill currently nearing a final vote in the House will make it harder for women under 50 to get mammograms. The fact-checking sites contest this claim.

Etheridge is a former boss of Brad's, and also an advocate of early detection for cancers after his own melanoma was caught early more than a decade ago.

"I find it ironic that my brother is pushing so hard to pass a terrible bill that very well could cost the man who gave him his start, Congressman Bob Etheridge, his job in November," Dallas told The Post, pointing to a poll showing the reform act supported by only 37 percent of the 2nd District in North Carolina.

"We will not take down the ad because it is accurate and truthful, and it is working," he said.

Despite clashing in the highly polarized and down-to-the-wire health debate, the two still spend time together as a family.

"Dallas stayed at my house here in D.C. with my wife (another Republican) and or kids while he was up here for some AFP, right wing meeting of some kind," Brad e-mailed about their last non-political get-together. "... We probably talked a little NC State Basketball at the time."

But they don't keep their personal lives that divorced from their all-consuming public ones.

"We talk all the time on the phone -- usually yelling about his latest spreading of lies on health reform," Brad said.

By Garance Franke-Ruta  |  March 17, 2010; 4:32 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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