BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Foster Campbell for U.S. Senate campaign Wednesday blamed his main Democratic opponent, Caroline Fayard, of manipulating audio from a candidate forum in order to make it appear that Campbell sides with Republican David Duke.
"Knowingly falsifying the record is the most desperate kind of race-baiting imaginable," said Mary-Patricia Wray, the communications director for Campbell's campaign.
Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, is also a candidate in the November 8 election to fill the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. David Vitter.
The audio that the Campbell campaign claims was taken out of context appears in a new Fayard television ad. Campbell's camp called the Fayard ad "a desperate attempt to save their failing campaign."
Here's a transcript of that ad:
Announcer: Foster Campbell won't Hillary's name. But he'll gladly chat with David Duke. In a recent forum, Campbell even sided with Duke.
Voice of Campbell: I might be like Mr. Duke.
Announcer: That's right, Campbell sided with Duke. Campbell and Duke. The Past. Caroline Fayard is our future. Caroline will fight for equal pay. Flood relief. And good jobs.
Caroline Fayard on camera: I'm Caroline Fayard and I approved this message because that's what we owe our children and our state.
The Campbell campaign does not dispute that he spoke those words during a candidate forum held on August 8 by The Alliance for Good Government. However, they said it was only one part of a full sentence he used to respond to a question from the moderator.
According to the Campbell campaign, the moderator asked Campbell to name two tax exemptions as part of the following exchange:
Moderator: "Mr. Campbell, can you name two of them (tax exemptions)?"
Campbell: "Two of them?"
Moderator: "Two of them, that's all I'm asking."
Campbell: "Oh yeah, you know I can name, I might be like Mr. Duke, I might be able to name like ten."
The Fayard ad also includes photos of Campbell and his son speaking to Duke that were taken following the same forum.
"What makes me really sick is that they put photos on my son, Nicholas, in this ad," Campbell said. "Implying my kids are connected to David Duke is pretty much the lowest thing there is."
"The facts are the facts," Fayard said late Wednesday. "Commissioner Campbell refuses to even say Hillary Clinton's name publicly, or say whether he voted for President Obama, but he's happy to sidle up to David Duke at a public forum for a chat in front of many witnesses."
The Campbell campaign said they searched online to find "opposition research" by the Fayard campaign and it contained the full quote of what Campbell said at the forum.
The Fayard campaign said Fayard did review the ad and approved it for broadcast.
"This ad isn't based on opposition research," Fayard said. "It's based on what I've personally witnessed Commissioner Campbell do and say with my own eyes."
A Raycom Media poll released recently, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, showed Campbell with 19 percent of the vote, Fayard with 12 percent and Duke with 5 percent. Republican candidate John Kennedy led the poll with 24 percent.