New Mexico Republican Senate candidate Allen Weh has been slammed by his Democratic opponent for running a campaign video that includes a brief image of American journalist James Foley's hooded executioner.
The shocking still of the Islamic State jihadist who beheaded Foley appears in the video aired on YouTube. A photo of Weh's rival, incumbent Sen. Tom Udall, is seen moments before the frame of the knife-holding killer is shown.
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The video attacks President Barack Obama's foreign policies, and by association Udall, according to ABC News
. The footage also shows images of Obama golfing while in the midst of the ISIS crisis.
Although Weh's campaign says that it's not planning to run the ad on TV, Udall's campaign lashed out at his challenger for airing the video online.
"James Foley's death is a tragedy, and to use his killer's horrific image for personal gain in a campaign ad is reprehensible and appalling," said Udall campaign manager Daniel Sena.
"If Allen Weh wants to talk about the issues with New Mexico voters, he should find a way to do it that is respectful and substantive. Using James Foley's horrific and tragic death for shock value is offensive to Mr. Foley's family, New Mexico voters and the rest of our country."
But Weh, a former Marine, defended the image in an interview with KRQE News 13
in Albuquerque, saying, "I don't think there's anything wrong with it. In fact, I think it serves the greater good. You'll note that no picture of Mr. Foley was ever in that film. None, ever."
And Weh's campaign manager Diego Espinoza told ABC News, "Out of respect for the Foley family, no picture of James Foley was used. Udall's feigned outrage over the inclusion of a now familiar image of this Jihadi terrorist, who is clearly the face of the evil that threatens our nation.
"Senator Udall's comments about our diplomacy being 'good' reflect his naiveté and inexperience in matters of national security."
Udall is the clear frontrunner in the November race, and is leading Weh by 16 points, according to USA Today
citing recent statewide polls compiled by RealClearPolitics.
British rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary is suspected by authorities in the United Kingdom of being Foley's executioner.
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