Republican challenger Christopher Reed today accused Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, of being "unAmerican" and a traitor to his country. Earlier this afternoon the two men taped an hour-long conversation that will air tonight on Iowa Public Television. During the taping, Reed referred to Harkin as the "Tokyo Rose of al Qaid and Middle East terrorism."
"Proving aid and comfort to the enemy, giving them a timetable (for withdrawal from Iraq)," Reed said.
David Yepsen, the moderator of the event, asked: "Who’s doing that?"
Reed replied: "Mr. Harkin and his party. He advocated leaving Iraq. He advocated defunding our troops while they’re in the middle of a war." Reed continued, accusing Harkin of being "anti-American."
"I believe that some of his positions and speeches were," Reed said. "I watched an ACLU speech that he gave where he outwardly accused our Marines of torture — no burden of proof, but (he) accused them of torture and I think that’s wrong. As a former member of the military I take that very seriously."
Harkin said he "didn’t know where to begin" in responding to Reed. "I am very proud of my military service," Harkin said, referencing his time as a Navy pilot. "I am as dismayed by torture as anyone else where our troops do it and when our government engages in that activity whether it’s at Abu Ghraib or whether it’s at Guantanamo. I think we have to be better than that."
After the program, Reed told reporters that from Vietnam to Venezuela, Harkin has a record of "siding with the enemy…and I don’t think it’s American.
"…I made the comment because it’s time that Iowans know who they have in Washington, but they need to know. They need to take a serious look at his record. His real voting record and it’s an anti-military voting record and it’s just time that somebody stands up and points out his real record to the people of Iowa," Reed said.
Harkin called Reed’s remarks "nonsense" when he talked, separately, with reporters. "Those kinds of words and things do not pull people together. They’re very divisive. It’s a disservice to the people and, again, it’s something that ought not be part of our political discourse in this state or anyplace else," Harkin said.
Harkin said he’d never been compared to "Tokyo Rose" before and found it "amazing."
"This is the kind of thing that people will just say, ‘Wait a minute. This is beyond the pale. There are a lot of things you could go after Harkin on and this is beyond the pale,’" Harkin said. "I don’t think it’s going to help him a bit."
You can watch the two Iowa politicians face off tonight at 7 o’clock on IPTV.