Sestak says Specter's 'swift-boat tactics' will backfire

By Colby Itkowitz, The Morning Call

WASHINGTON — The first television ads in the Democratic Senate primary race just went up, and each candidate is demanding that the other’s commercial be removed.

Rep. Joe Sestak says Sen. Arlen Specter was out of line for criticizing his military service in an attack ad. Specter says Sestak’s ad violated federal regulations. Both aired for the first time Tuesday.

Veterans jumped to Sestak’s defense Wednesday, the day after Specter’s political attack ad aired, claiming Sestak ”created a poor command climate” in the Navy and was relieved from duty.

A group of veterans gathered in Philadelphia and called on Specter to remove the campaign ad, arguing that the service of veterans should not be subject to political attacks.

”We’re all here because we’re enraged at the fact that someone, anyone, in the United States today would question someone who has 30 years of service,” said retired Air Force Lieutenant General Robert E. Kelley.

The Specter campaign will not take down the ad, campaign manager Chris Nicholas said.

”It will air as scheduled because it’s accurate,” Nicholas said, adding that Sestak has a responsibility to explain why a fellow admiral said Sestak ”would command by intimidation and fear.”

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