GOP hopeful removes ISIS footage of American captive from campaign ad

Story highlights

  • Republican congressional candidate's ad had ISIS footage of American captive
  • The footage is removed following criticism by Democrats
  • The ad by challenger Wendy Rogers claims that Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is soft on terrorism
  • Rogers' campaign stands by the ad's message
Following criticism for including ISIS footage of an American captive in an Arizona campaign ad, GOP House candidate Wendy Rogers' campaign has edited the segment out of the ad -- but is standing by its contention that the incumbent Democrat is soft on terrorism.
Rogers, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, launched the attack ad against freshman Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona's 9th District. In a statement defending the message in the ad, Rogers campaign spokesman James Harris said that the ad was edited to keep the focus on Sinema's voting record on national security.
"She must explain why she voted for terrorists to be tried on American soil, where they could pose an even greater danger to our homeland, and how she justified voting to give constitutional rights to those intent on destroying our nation," Rogers said in a statement.
The ad first went up on YouTube on Monday, drawing immediate criticism from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The new version was published Tuesday night.
The original footage showed American journalist James Foley on his knees as an ISIS militant, dressed in all black, swings a knife close to Foley's side. The edited version cut the scene altogether, showing instead several ISIS militants walking in a group with guns in hand.
While Sinema's campaign did not immediately return CNN's request for comment, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's western regional press spokesman, Tyrone Gayle, told ABC News via email: "For Wendy Rogers to use such a reprehensible tactic to make baseless claims just to smear Representative Sinema proves how desperate her campaign has become."
Rogers apparently is the first candidate to use ISIS video footage in a campaign ad. New Mexico Republican candidate Allen Weh showed a still frame of Foley's executioner with knife in hand in an ad against Sen. Tom Udall back in August. Foley himself was cropped out of the frame.
According to a CBS News/New York Times poll in September, a majority of Americans said they thought a terrorist attack is likely, with 17 percent saying that terrorism is one of the most important issues to them weeks going into the midterms.