On CNN last night, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) acknowledged that his use of the nickname “Taliban Dan” to describe his Republican opponent Daniel Webster may have gone too far. But he defended the thrust of the ad, which depicts Webster as a Christian extremist.
“I know you disagree with your opponent, and — and certainly you disagree with his views,” said host Anderson Cooper. “But calling him Taliban Dan, I mean, it’s equivalent to somebody — calling somebody a Nazi or, you know, a Maoist. I mean, why go down that road?”
“Well, in a way, you’re right,” Grayson admitted. “We let that ad run and die a natural death. Now we’re running an entirely different ad on the same point, because people need to know Dan Webster’s record.”
Grayson’s campaign is highlighting the fact that Webster opposes abortion, even in cases of rape, and is the member of a fundamentalist religious organization that advocates female submissiveness to husbands.
During the exchange, Cooper tried to pin Grayson down on whether it was appropriate of him to selectively edit Webster’s words to make it look like he publicly called for wives to submit themselves to their husbands.
“What I’m trying to do is to point out in a vivid way that this is somebody with an 18th century name and a 13th century conception of how women should live in America,” Grayson said. “[T]he term that you used last week is that we cleverly edited it. And I will let other people decide whether that was clever or not.”
Watch the exchange below.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.