FRANKFORT, Ky. — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Trey Grayson called on his chief rival, Rand Paul, Tuesday to stop airing an ad that uses imagery of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
The Secretary of State's campaign also released an Internet video Tuesday that implies Paul's views on the terrorist attacks mirror those of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the controversial former pastor of President Barack Obama.
Grayson said in a statement that he was "truly offended" that Paul would use images from 9/11 "to deceive Kentuckians about his true beliefs."
"Rand Paul should immediately take down this ad," Grayson said.
Paul's campaign manager, David Adams, responded by calling Grayson's request to pull the 9/11 ad "nonsense."
In his TV ad, which includes somber video of smoke billowing from the World Trade Center, Paul expressed his outrage at the 9/11 attacks and criticized Grayson for questioning Paul’s patriotism in a TV ad that Grayson launched last week.
The Grayson ad says Paul "even wonders whether 9/11 was our fault." It shows Paul at a Blue Grass Policy Institute Forum in 2009, where he said "maybe some of the bad things that happen are a reaction to our presence in some of these countries."
Paul was paraphrasing a quote his father, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, said in a 2007 presidential debate. The elder Paul said U.S. foreign policy fueled anger among radicals.
The squabble between Paul and Grayson is not the first time the use of 9/11 images has been an issue. During President Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, Bush was criticized by relatives of the terrorist strikes, who contended Bush was exploiting photos of the tragedy for political gain.
In Grayson's new Internet video featuring Jeremiah Wright, the campaign uses widely circulated clips of Wright saying "the stuff we have done oversees is now brought right back into our own front yards" and "America's chickens are coming home to roost."
Adams said Grayson is throwing "Hail Mary passes, hoping some of his nonsense will catch on."
Grayson and Paul are the top candidates in the May 18 Republican primary election for U.S. Senate. The winner will face the Democratic nominee in November’s general election.
The seat is open because GOP incumbent Jim Bunning decided not to seek re-election.
Watch the ads at Kentucky.com