Kentucky's Grimes Clarifies Comment on Israel's Iron Dome

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 12:27 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Democratic Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes has been attempting damage control after being vilified for suggesting that Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system was preventing terror attacks on the ground from Hamas tunnels.

Republicans slammed a speech that Grimes, who’s in a close Kentucky race with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, made to supporters outside her headquarters in Fayette County, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

"Obviously, Israel is one of our strongest allies in the Middle East, and she has the right to defend herself," she said, according to the Herald-Leader. "But the loss of life, especially the innocent civilians in Gaza is a tragedy. The Iron Dome has been a big reason why Israel has been able to withstand the terrorists that have tried to tunnel their way in."

The Iron Dome system consists of Israel’s high-tech surface-to-air missile system, which has been shooting down hundreds of Hamas rockets fired from Gaza.

The maze of border tunnels built by the Palestinians in Gaza is being used by Hamas to bring in a horde of weapons while it’s also aimed at allowing the terror group to launch surprise attacks on Israeli civilians.

The GOP said that Grimes’ comments on Tuesday clearly showed she failed to understand foreign policy issues.

"It's embarrassing that a Senate candidate would say this, particularly about our closest ally in the Middle East," said Brook Hougesen, spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to the Lexington newspaper.

"Alison Lundergan Grimes has been a candidate for over a year, yet is still fundamentally unprepared to answer basic questions and has failed to provide any sort of substantive policy plan."

McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore said Grimes’ comment proved that "she has a frightening lack of understanding on consequential issues confronting our nation,” according to the Herald-Leader

Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state, also came under fire from The Washington Free Beacon, which said her statement "casts doubt on her grasp of the basic facts in the Middle East."

In a statement to clarify her remarks, Grimes says she was actually referring to how the Iron Dome is so successful that the Israel Defense Forces can concentrate on eliminating the danger from the complex network of Hamas tunnels.

"The Iron Dome is an integral part of Israel's defense system which allows them to defend themselves against missiles and focus their efforts on eradicating the terrorists who try to tunnel their way in," she said, according to The Huffington Post.

According to a recent poll from HuffPost Pollster, McConnell is leading Grimes by 47.5 percent to 44.5 percent. And in another survey from Bluegrass Poll released yesterday, 56 percent of Kentucky voters say they believe that creating jobs and improving the economy is the leading issue facing the United States, the Herald-Leader reported.

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