A former Arizona state senator hoping to oust John McCain from Capitol Hill is using an eight-year-old Mitt Romney TV ad to attack the five-term senator.
And McCain's campaign tells Newsmax that Kelli Ward outright stole the long-ago ad from Romney to underhandedly claim as her own.
This week, Ward commandeered the Romney spots which blasted McCain as the two vied for 2008 Republican presidential nomination, then snipped footage of the former Massacussetts senator out and tacked on her own image at the end.
The ultra-cheap move — Ward posted the altered commercial on her Facebook page — may have been made because of campaign funding woes, The Arizona Republic
speculates. Ward is McCain's top challenger in the state's Republican U.S. Senate primary.
Romney's eight-year-old ad crows about how McCain and Hillary Clinton, who was then a Democratic presidential candidate, allegedly both agreed on amnesty for illegal immigrants, opposing George W. Bush's tax cuts, and blocking conservative judges.
"Even Bill Clinton says, 'She and John McCain are very close.' Don't we need a leader who agrees with conservatives?" a narrator says.
But instead of switching to Romney at his desk announcing, "I'm Mitt Romney, and I approved this message" as the original ad did, the altered version cuts to footage of Ward declaring, "I'm Dr. Kelli Ward, and I approved this message."
McCain's campaign spokeswoman Lorna Romero told Newsmax:
"Romney has endorsed Sen. McCain's re-election to the U.S. Senate and even headlined a rally in Mesa, Arizona, in December. Kelli Ward did not have permission to use that ad.
"First she entertains 'chemtrails' and other bizarre conspiracy theories, and now she steals campaign ads from 2008 and posts them as her own — it's hard to take Kelli Ward seriously at this point."
Romero said the "chemtrails" mention was a reference to a "conspiracy theory" that trails left in the sky by an aircraft consist of chemical or biological agents released as part of a covert operation.
"Kelli Ward hosted a public forum regarding chemtrails in her district when she was a state Senator," Romero said.
Stephen Sebastian, a spokesman for Ward, was unapologetic for the use of the re-edited Romney spot, insisting: "Mitt Romney got it right. If the shoe fits, wear it. The substance is still the same. Some things never change."
Ward, who is an osteopathic physician, is one of three Republican primary challengers hoping to end McCain's long senatorial run, which began in 1987. The primary will be held on Aug. 30.
McCain's other challengers are Alex Meluskey and Clair Van Steenwyk.
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