(CNN) - In the political world, it was the most talked-about ad from Sunday night's Super Bowl telecast. Pete Hoekstra, running for Senate in Michigan against incumbent Debbie Stabenow, hit the Democrat for her record on spending. But some are criticizing the spot for being blatantly racist.
The 30-second ad features a young Asian woman riding a bike through rice paddies speaking in unaccented but broken English:
Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
"Thank you, Michigan Senator Debbie Spenditnow," the woman said. "Debbie spend so much American money. You borrow more and more from us. Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you, Debbie Spenditnow."
The ad debuted during the Super Bowl in Michigan television markets, and is accompanied with a website that includes Chinese characters and titles like the "Great Wall of Debt."
The ad is being lambasted by critics who call its depiction of the Asian woman racist.
In an interview with CNN Monday, Hoekstra defended the spot. Responding to allegations of racism, Hoekstra said "I don't think there's any element of that at all."
He added, "The only stereotyping is of liberal Democrats and their spending polices."
But the response from viewers who saw the ad, including fellow Republicans, was swift.
Republican strategist Mike Murphy tweeted, "Pete Hoekstra Superbowl TV ad in MI Senate race really, really dumb. I mean really."
And a group of Detroit Baptist ministers are calling on Hoekstra to apologize and pull the ad.
"If he would say these types of things, and use these types of actions, using Asians, than we believe the same fear tactics will be presented in this regard to African-Americans," civil rights leader Rev. Charles Williams II said at a press conference Monday.
The ad was reportedly produced by Fred Davis of Strategic Perception. He's the same ad man behind the now infamous "I'm not a witch" ad by former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. Davis purposely goes for ads that are attention getting.
In fact, Hoekstra was the target of an ad campaign produced by Davis in 2010 during a run for Michigan governor. The spots, produced by Republican opponent Rick Snyder, presented Snyder as "one tough nerd" while painting Hoekstra as a career politician.
The ad's effectiveness sparked Hoekstra to hire Davis to produce a hard-hitting for his own campaign.
Despite the uproar, Hoekstra has no intention of backing down.
"No, I'm not apologizing for the ad," Hoekstra said. "If someone believes that we were insensitive, I'm sorry to them. But I'm not apologizing for this ad at all. I think it clearly drives the message. The problem is American public policy, it's not what the Chinese are doing at all."
Hoekstra centered a fundraising email to supporters around the ad Monday, writing "Here we go again. We dared to take on Debbie Stabenow and China, and the liberals are doing what they always do-crying racism."
The email directs readers to Hoekstra's campaign website, where they can contribute money to his election effort.
Senator Stabenow's campaign office referred requests for comment to the Michigan Democratic Party, which pointed to Hoekstra's own record of voting to increase the national debt ceiling and for the bailout of Wall Street.
Mark Brewer, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, said is the ad was backfiring.
"It was shot in the United States," Brewer said. "I understand the actress is an American. It's just hypocrisy and just so insincere. I think it just adds to Pete Hoekstra's credibility problems."