Cotton campaign denounces 'bizarre and offensive' NRSC e-mail
December 4th, 2013
10:06 PM ET
8 months ago

Cotton campaign denounces 'bizarre and offensive' NRSC e-mail

(CNN) – The Senate campaign for Republican Rep. Tom Cotton distanced itself Wednesday from an attack by the National Republican Senatorial Campaign on an ad released by opponent Sen. Mark Pryor highlighting his religion in their home state of Arkansas.

Pryor, a vulnerable, two-term Democratic senator up for re-election next year, launched a new television ad Wednesday, saying, "I'm not afraid to say that I believe in God and I believe in his word."

"The Bible teaches us that no one has all of the answers, only God does, and neither political party is always right. This is my compass," Pryor says in the ad.

In response, NRSC communications director Brad Dayspring sent an e-mail to reporters criticizing Pryor for comments the senator previously made about religion that Dayspring said contradicts his latest ad.

"So is the Bible Mark Pryor's compass, providing the 'comfort and guidance to do what's best for Arkansas?' Or is it really not a good rule book for political issues and decisions made in the Senate? Guess it depends on which Mark Pryor that you ask," Dayspring said in the e-mail.

Cotton campaign spokesman David Ray called the e-mail "bizarre and offensive."

"We should all agree that America is better off when all our public officials in both parties have the humility to seek guidance from God."

Dayspring did not respond to Ray’s comments.

"It's frankly despicable that Congressman Cotton's Washington allies are manipulating quotes to question the sincerity of Mark's religious beliefs," Pryor campaign manager Jeff Weaver told The Hill. "Tom Cotton needs to step up and denounce these shameful attacks on Mark Pryor's faith."

Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said the "NRSC has crossed the line this week with attacks on the religious faith of Democrats."

"NRSC should immediately pull down their attack and apologize to Senator Pryor and other people of faith who don't deserve to have their religious beliefs attacked by political operatives in Washington, D.C. This attack was out of bounds. Period."

Cotton, a rising star in the GOP, announced he would run for the Senate in August.

Next year, Democrats will try to maintain their majority in the Senate, where they currently hold a 55-45 edge (including two independents who caucus with the party) over the GOP.

CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.


Filed under: Arkansas • Sen. Mark Pryor • Tom Cotton
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    The National Republican Senatorial Committee paid nearly $70,000 in February to settle a race discrimination case filed last summer by a former building manager, Keith Carter, according to financial disclosure reports.

    The NRSC declined to comment on the case, and Carter could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Leslie Alderman, did not return a phone message.

    The lawsuit was filed last August, and committee officials at the time characterized it in media reports as “meritless” and called Carter, a longtime NRSC employee who’d recently been fired, a “disgruntled” former worker.

    In his lawsuit, Carter claimed that working conditions at the committee for him changed “dramatically” in 2009 after Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) brought in a new leadership team. The senator was not named in the lawsuit.

    He asserted that he and the committee’s one other black employee, another building maintenance worker, were referred to as “boys” and that he was instructed to clean up the waste of dogs brought to work by other employees.

    “When he asked [Chief Financial Officer Jay] Banning if he could ask and remind the dog’s owner to clean up after her dog, Mr. Banning informed Mr. Carter that he could not and that it was his job to clean up such waste,” the lawsuit states.

    John Cornyn (R-Texas)

    December 4, 2013 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  2. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The desperate Guns Over People tea potty domestic terrorists will do or say ANYTHING to hold on to their slipping power.

    December 5, 2013 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  3. TomInRochNY

    "We should all agree that America is better off when all our public officials in both parties have the humility to seek guidance from God."

    No, religion has no place in politics. Period.

    December 5, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Cotton hasn't denounced the email yet. It's one thing for spokespeople to do it, it's a total other thing to hear it actually come from the candidates mouth. Look at how then Sen. Obama had to distance himself from Jeremiah Wright.

    December 5, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  5. rs

    The NSRC is behind some of the most offensive and untruthful political statements seen by Americans. They were behind the Ted Cruz/Mike Lee "Congress is exempt from Obamacare lie; the pushed the State Department abandoned the Vatican lie; and the played a role in the Gettysburg Address lie as well.

    Clearly this is a dangerous, anti-truth propaganda arm of the GOP and needs to be shut down. It is sadly par for the course for the Right- just the same as the California GOP putting up a fake ACA web site in California.

    The GOP has no moral compass, nor any sense of obligation as elected leaders. They are at best a sham organization with no interest in the people they claim to represent.

    December 5, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  6. Donna

    WOW!! Democrats now hiding behind God and their religious beliefs to save themselves from their Obamacare vote. This has truly gotten bizarre and surreal. So how does he square those religious beliefs with his Democrat Party War on Babies? How does he justify their continued murder in abortion death mills?

    December 5, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    "NRSC should immediately pull down their attack and apologize to Senator Pryor and other people of faith who don't deserve to have their religious beliefs attacked by political operatives in Washington, D.C. This attack was out of bounds. Period."

    It won't happen.

    December 5, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Religion is not an issue, in selecting a candidate who has conservative values in government, no.

    They are entitled to their personal religious beliefs, but that should not influence how they work in government, at all.

    December 5, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Is anyone out there actually surprised to hear this sort of disrespectful, personal attack coming from Republicans? I'm not. It's par for the course from the party that does nothing but "attack, attack, attack", while calling the other side divisive.

    December 5, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  10. sonny chapman

    Lee Atwood(Bush I's Willy Horton Creator), Karl Rove(John McCain's Black Baby Author) Roger Ailles( Nixon's Southern Strategy Architect). Repubs. have a history of hiding behind these kinda guys to do their "Dirty Work" while the Candidate poses as All American & "Christian". Jesus didn't like hypocrites, Matthew 23, 1-35(that's THIRTY FIVE Verses) !!

    December 5, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    After awhile one has to ask oneself what is happening in our southern-most states to cause such complete negativity from their fellow citizens.

    These people seem to live in daily fear ... with doomsday being their only mainstay in life. Of course, it doesn't help that the Republican party actually takes pride in spoon feeding folks their daily portions of doom and gloom.

    December 5, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  12. CB FL

    Anyone can quote from the bible. The problem is they have trouble living up to what they just quoted.

    December 5, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  13. Ol' Yeller

    Well we all know the republicants own God. They know who believes and who doesn't... they have cornered the market on Jesus and they and only they are capable of 'looking into someone's soul' to see if they are true believers, charlatans, or outright heretics. Why, their Chief Spokesperson- rush is even allowed to attack and villify the Lord Father- Pope Francis, and not one republicant leader.... NOT ONE has raised one finger or spoke one word to defend the 1.5 Billion Catholics worlwide who sees the Pope as the spokesperson for the Lord. So, I guess the republicants have decided rush is more important to them then Pope Francis and the Catholic religion.
    Perhaps they have 'looked into his soul' and found him lacking... as opposed to their saviors- the koch brothers.

    December 5, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |