Missouri Republican Rep. Roy Blunt’s Senate campaign hastily pulled down a Web video that coupled a picture of a smoldering ground zero with audio of Democrat Robin Carnahan’s comments about plans to build a mosque near the former World Trade Center site.
The 22-second video, posted on Blunt’s campaign site late Wednesday night, featured comments in which Carnahan declined to wade into the debate over whether a mosque should be constructed a few blocks from where the World Trade Center used to stand. Her comments were made during an interview with Kansas City radio station KMBZ on Wednesday morning.
“I’m not going to try to tell folks in New York what to do, and I don’t want them trying to tell us in Missouri what to do, so in the end it’s going to have to be their decision,” said Carnahan.
A day earlier, Carnahan told NBC Action News in Kansas City, “If it were me, I would want to do something that was less divisive and find another spot.”
The Blunt campaign acted swiftly to alter the visuals early Thursday, explaining that an unauthorized staffer who “got carried away” took the audio and edited it over a picture of the wreckage of the toppled towers without Blunt’s knowledge. It’s unclear whether the video was meant to coincide with the departure of the remaining U.S. combat troops from Iraq, which also occurred late Wednesday.
“It was up overnight and quickly replaced. It did not reflect the right tone and was quickly replaced with an image of Robin Carnahan and Barack Obama,” Blunt spokesman Rich Chrismer told POLITICO.
When asked who was responsible for posting the video and whether any disciplinary action would take place, Chrismer said only that the decision was unauthorized and Blunt did not know about it.
On Wednesday, Blunt said he was opposed to the plan to build a mosque at “such a sensitive location” and called Carnahan’s response further proof that she would be a “rubber stamp” for President Barack Obama.
Carnahan shot out a statement condemning the ad and accusing Blunt of creating a deliberate distraction the day after she released her second television ad, skewering Blunt for his role in whipping votes to help pass the infamous fall 2008 financial bailout.
“Congressman Blunt’s desperate attempt to avoid talking about his role in the $700 billion bailout by exploiting victims and families of the Sept. 11 tragedies is the very worst kind of Washington politics,” the Democratic Senate nominee said. “Congressman Blunt should immediately own up to what he did, take responsibility for it, and apologize to the families of the Sept. 11 victims, whose tragedy he exploited for his own personal political benefit."