GOP backlash against Ed Markey’s Osama bin Laden attack ad on Gomez

Patrick Howley | Political Reporter

Democratic Massachusetts Senate candidate Ed Markey’s recent television attack ad, which crops his Republican opponent Gabriel Gomez’s face next to an image of Osama bin Laden, has sparked local and national backlash from Republicans.

Markey released an ad last Thursday criticizing Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, for working as a spokesman for the group Special Operations OPSEC Education Team, which has criticized President Obama for allegedly revealing “sensitive intelligence information” related to the killing of Osama bin Laden by Seal Team Six. Markey’s ad features a shot of Gomez’s face next to Osama bin Laden’s.

Former U.S. Attorney Mike Sullivan, who ran a hard-fought primary race, endorsed Gomez in a speech Tuesday afternoon at an outdoor presser in which he called Markey’s attack ad “outrageous” and “despicable.”

“The thrust of his remarks was that Ed Markey should take down this ad,” Gomez campaign spokesman Will Ritter told The Daily Caller.

Washington Republicans also condemned Markey’s ad. (RELATED: Gomez, Markey in tight race for Massachusetts Senate

“Ed Markey’s first post-primary ad against Gabriel Gomez is as bizarre as it is offensive,” Republican National Committee chairman Reince Preibus said Tuesday. “It’s unconscionable that he’d juxtapose a picture of Osama bin Laden with that of Gabriel, a Navy SEAL who has served his country honorably. It’s a sign of his true political desperation.”

Markey’s ad, above all, was “clumsy,” said Gomez campaign spokesman Will Ritter.

“People in Massachusetts are smart enough to figure out what Ed Markey is trying to do,” Ritter told TheDC.

Gomez, meanwhile, released an optimistic ad Monday called, “Future,” in which he discusses his family’s emigration to America.

“People saw a stark contrast between the two ads,” Ritter said.

Since Gomez pulled to within four percentage points of Markey in a poll released last week by the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling, Markey’s campaign has taken a sharp negative turn.

Markey blasted Gomez for declining to sign the so-called “People’s Pledge” barring outside spending in the race at a press conference Monday at the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston.

“Gabriel Gomez is saying he will not accept the People’s Pledge, that he is going to welcome vast amounts of undisclosed, unlimited money into this campaign,” Markey said.

“I think that the people of Massachusetts deserve better. I think they have a right to know who in fact is contributing, who is paying for these ads that are going to come into our state. Is it the (National Rifle Association)? Is it the coal industry? Is it the oil industry?” Markey said.

Gomez spokesman Ritter said that Markey is attempting to make the “People’s Pledge” and climate change the top issues in the race, which is failing to resonate with voters.

“Voters in Massachusetts think the economy is the number-one issue,” Ritter said.

Gomez appeared on CNBC’s Kudlow Report Monday evening to discuss his economic policy views, and made plans to attend the Red Sox game at Fenway Park Tuesday night.

Despite their political battle, Markey and Gomez share one common view: both candidates believe that alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev should not be buried in Massachusetts.

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