Obama said he doesn't think the Iraq hearing should have been held around 9/11.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The race for the Republican presidential nomination just got uglier.
A spokesman for Fred Thompson’s presidential bid accused GOP rival Mitt Romney’s campaign of a “cover-up” Tuesday over a now defunct Web site, which portrayed the former Tennessee senator in an unflattering manner and referred to him as “phony.” The Web site, www.phonyfred.org, was created by Wes Donehue, an associate consultant and vice president of the firm Tompkins, Thompson, and Sullivan. A principal of the firm – Warren Tompkins – is a paid advisor to Romney’s presidential campaign.
"Today's half-baked cover-up attempt by the Romney campaign does not even pass the laugh test,” Todd Harris, Thompson’s communications director, said in a prepared statement.
Earlier in the day, Harris indicated the campaign would wait until the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks passed before commenting on the matter. A few hours later he issued the statement.
“The Romney campaign has paid Warren Tompkins and his various firms hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Harris said.
“Wesley Donehue works for Tompkins and is listed on Tompkins' own Web page as an associate of the firm.”
Romney spokesman Kevin Madden denied that the campaign had any knowledge about www.phonyfred.org.
"We had no knowledge of the development or administration of this site,” Madden said in a statement to CNN. “We also disapprove of the site and have made it very clear that the site does not have an affiliation with our campaign."
Madden also questioned why the Thompson campaign would issue such a sharp attack on a day when politics is traditionally set aside.
“Today is a day of remembrance, and should be a day without political statements or attacks on opposing campaigns,” Madden said. “Our campaign is focused on running a campaign about issues that are important to the American people.”
- CNN Political Ticker Producer Xuan Thai