Senator Not Only Refuses to Apologize, But Threatens to Double Money Behind Ad Exploiting Service Members Killed in Iraq
COLUMBUS — U.S. Sen. Rob Portman ratcheted up his insults to veterans today, telling WFMJ-TV in Youngstown he will double the money he’s spending on a political attack ad that uses a photo of the coffins of service members killed in the Iraq War – a war that he supported. Portman had previously refused to apologize after being called on to remove the ad by Ohio and national veterans, but Portman’s latest threat to double the ad buy is a significant escalation.
WFMJ reports: Boccieri is asking for an apology to veterans groups and for the ad to be discontinued. Not only is the Portman campaign not changing the ad, they’re doubling their ad buy.
In response, John Boccieri, former Ohio Congressman (OH-16) and Iraq War veteran, issued the following statement:
“Those heroes in flag-draped coffins that Senator Portman is using for political posturing don’t deserve this kind of disrespect. I’ve seen my share of flag-draped coffins when I flew some of our nation’s fallen soldiers out of Baghdad — this type of gutter politics is personal to me. Those soldiers served our nation and died in a war that Senator Portman authorized, and to now blame his political opponent because they returned home in flag-draped coffins is a doubling down of disrespect.”
Iraq War veteran and Vote Vets Chairman Jon Soltz told Cleveland.com that Portman needs to “apologize to the families of the fallen for using the photo of their loved one’s casket for his own political purposes.”
And, former state Rep. and Air Force veteran Connie Pillich told the Columbus Dispatch Portman’s use of the photo “kind of makes my skin crawl,” is “beyond the pale” and “highly disrespectful.”
In 2006, Ohio Congressman and House Speaker John Boehner called the use of flag-draped coffins in political ads “disgraceful” and “appalling.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 6/14/06]