Republican Rep. Allen West‘s campaign released one of the most vicious campaign ads of the 2012 election season, slamming Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy for a 2003 bar fight.
West, who is running for re-election in Florida’s 22nd congressional district, contrasted Murphy’s 2003 arrest with what West was preparing to do at the time — go to war.
Here’s the script of the ad:
“Feb. 16, 2003, Fort Hood, Texas: Lt. Col. Allen West had just received deployment orders, and prepares his men to go to war. That night, South Beach, Miami: Patrick Murphy is thrown out of a club for fighting, covered in alcohol, and unable to stand. Murphy then confronts and verbally assaults a police officer. Patrick Murphy was arrested and taken to jail.
Two men, a country in crisis — you decide.”
Murphy’s campaign said in an email that it will have an official response soon.
Murphy was a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Miami when he was arrested on charges of disorderly intoxication and possessing a fake driver license. In an interview with The Palm Beach Post, Murphy called it the “biggest mistake of my life.”
West’s military career, meanwhile, isn’t without controversy of its own. West fired a pistol next to the head of an Iraqi policeman during an interrogation, ending his career in the military. West claimed that he received intelligence of a plot to attack his unit, but later admitted it was “possible that I was wrong.”
Watch the ad below:
UPDATE: The Murphy campaign responds:
“Allen West is shamelessly attacking Patrick Murphy for a mistake he made as a teenager, which he has discussed at length in the media as a mistake he learned from. West then goes on to discuss his tenure in the military in 2003 while failing to acknowledge that he was criminally charged that year for assault and violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” said Murphy for Congress communications director Erin Moffet. “The only reason he was able to escape prosecution is because he cut a deal to retire. Unfortunately, West’s unstable behavior has continued in Congress, and he continues to diminish the office and the people to which he serves.”
This post has been updated.