News & Election Videos

October 15, 2008

Seals ad draws controversy

Democratic Congressional candidate Dan Seals is under fire for featuring a military veteran with ties to a 9/11 conspiracy group in an ad that criticizes Rep. Mark Kirk’s (R-Ill.) support for the Iraq war.

The veteran in the ad, Caleb Davis, accuses Kirk of being "irresponsible in his decision to vote for this war" and also attacks him for cutting off veterans' health care.  Davis is not identified in the ad, only listed as an "Illinois Iraq war vet."

But Kirk's campaign found a newspaper article connecting Davis with a organization that denies the 9/11 attacks -- and is calling on Seals to take the ad down.

Also potentially problematic: Seals' spokeswoman is quoted in the Chicago Tribune saying she doesn’t  “see what is so controversial” with including the veteran in the ad.

More, from the Chicago Tribune:

Last June, the Peoria Journal Star reported that [Caleb] Davis wore a black T-shirt proclaiming "Investigate 9/" while sitting at a table at a Peoria library where books, fliers and DVDs supporting conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks were on display. The organization argues the government's version of the terrorist attacks is fraudulent and offers a "Top 40 Reasons to Doubt the Official Story" and an "Official Coverup Guide."

Kirk, who was in the Pentagon when the airplane crashed into it Sept. 11, 2001, called on Seals to stop airing the ad.

"I am disappointed that you would center your campaign on a spokesman who believes the U.S. government murdered nearly 3,000 of its own citizens," Kirk said in his Monday letter to Seals, a Wilmette resident who is challenging Kirk again after coming close in 2006.

Smith said Tuesday that Seals has no plans to pull the ad and said the focus should be on the ad's contention that Kirk supported the war and hasn't done enough to help veterans.