A new television ad from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul is drawing criticism for using images of a smoldering World Trade Center and the Pentagon after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Terrorism and 9/11 have taken center stage in recent days in the Republican primary in Kentucky.
Paul’s ad, which began airing this week, shows footage of smoke billowing from the twin towers and charred wreckage at the Pentagon. Paul says in the ad that he felt “outrage at terrorists who killed 3,000 innocents.”
“America was attacked and fighting back was the right thing to do,” he says over a gloomy soundtrack.
Paul’s opponent, Secretary of State Trey Grayson, said he was “offended by the ad” and called on Paul to take it down. The ad is also on Paul’s campaign Web site.
Grayson mentioned the Sept. 11 attacks in his own TV spot last week, but no footage from the attacks was shown.
When asked whether Paul’s campaign should be using 9/11 imagery in ads, campaign manager David Adams replied with a statement from Paul that said: “It is Trey Grayson who is politicizing 9/11 and he should be ashamed.”
Candidates in past races have been criticized for using images of the attacks in political ads. Most notably was former President Bush, who used images of the remains of the towers and firefighters during his 2004 re-election campaign.
A member of a New Yorkbased group called Sept. 11 Families for a Peaceful Tomorrow, which criticized the Bush ads in 2004, said 9/11 images should not be used “to forward political agendas.”
“It is always disheartening when the images are used for political gain,” Donna Marsh O’Connor, whose daughter Vanessa died in the World Trade Center, said Tuesday. O’Connor, who is a Democrat, said she has not seen Paul’s ad.
Grayson has recently attacked the front-runner Paul on national security.
Last week, Grayson received an endorsement from former Vice President Dick Cheney, who said Grayson is “right on the issues that matter,” including national security.
And in a Grayson ad that began airing Thursday, a clip of Paul from March 2009 is played where Paul says that terrorist attacks are perhaps “a reaction to our presence in some of these countries.”
A narrator in the ad says Paul “wonders whether 9/11 was (America’s) fault.”
Paul’s spokesman, David Adams, said Tuesday that Grayson’s ad shows the candidate is desperate and “down in the polls.”
“Using outright lies to politicize 9/11 crosses all lines of decency, and any candidate who would do so is unfit for the United States Senate,” Adams said in a statement.