Congressman Leonard Boswell, a democrat from Des Moines, and Des Moines attorney Stan Thompson, Boswell’s republican opponent, met in a televised debate last night. Debate host Kevin Cooney of K-C-C-I T-V asked Thompson about a controversial ad that shows a rotund Boswell look-alike swinging a bat. “Visually, are you making fun of the Congressman’s age and physical stature in this spot?” Cooney asked. “In no way whatsoever,” Thompson replied. Thompson said all his campaign ads have had a “consistent baseball theme” — including one ad in which Thompson hit a baseball. Thompson said the ad in question is a “parody.” Boswell called Thompson’s explanation “silly” and said Thompson was intentionally “pickin’ on my age.” Boswell added that he’s not left-handed, like the actor in the ad. “I don’t think I could ever remember swingin’ a bat and go stumbling and staggering around like that,” Boswell said. “I was a pretty good athlete. I played football — offense and defense — on (an) undefeated (high school) team. I played it in college. I mean, come on. It’s a new low. It really is.” But Thompson swung back, calling a Boswell ad misleading for its claim that Boswell has sponsored 51 bills while in Congress. Thompson said Boswell was a co-sponsor on 51 bills, and Thompson said the difference between being a sponsor and a co-sponsor on a bill was like the difference between being a leader and a follower. Thompson had another complaint about the Boswell ad, which accuses Thompson of being “misleading.”Thompson said the newspaper story Boswell cites was not about ads Thompson ran, but about ads run by an independent third party that Thompson says he had no control over. Boswell made this response. “I’ll tell ya what,” Boswell said. “I want to make you feel better. I’ll take that ad down.” Thompson, also, promised to pull his ad featuring the fat Boswell look-alike.