The U.S. Senate campaign of Bruce Lunsford has turned up a veteran in a recent TV ad for rival Mitch McConnell who says the McConnell campaign wrongly used his words.
A release Wednesday from Democrat Lunsford's campaign quotes Adolfo Piña, a World War II Navy veteran, saying, "The McConnell people interviewed me and took my words out of context. And I don’t appreciate that. They did exactly what I told them not to do."
Piña echoed those comments in a new ad for Lunsford, which began airing statewide Wednesday. The new Lunsford ad can be seen at www.Bruce2008.com.
Piña, in a commercial for Republican incumbent McConnell that started airing last Friday, accused a company associated with Lunsford of "mistreating our veterans while Bruce profited."
The commercial quoted veterans, none from Kentucky, complaining about care in facilities run by Miami-based Valor Healthcare Inc. Lunsford served as chief executive officer and chairman of Valor and remains a director.
Piña, the Lunsford campaign says, has high praise for Valor.
“Valor clinic is doing very good for me here in Texas City,” Piña said.
“They’re doing a good job by taking care of our needs, they’re taking very good care of my needs and I’m just one of the thousands of veterans of World War II."
Lunsford spokesman Cary Stemle said, "McConnell has stooped to a new low. This is the mother of all McCON jobs.
"He exploited our veterans for political gain, conning Adolfo Piña into appearing in an ad attacking Valor Healthcare, even though Piña is happy with his care at Valor. What kind of senator exploits our veterans for political gain?
McConnell’s desire to hold onto power knows no bounds; 24 years of this is enough.”
In response to the Lunsford move, the McConnell campaign released an April 25, 2008, letter Piña wrote to The Daily News in Galveston County, Texas, about a problem with getting appointments with Valor's clinic. Click here to read it.
The McConnell campaign also released a request by the chapter of Purple Heart veterans in Hot Springs, Ark., for a congressional investigation into the care provided by Valor. Click here to read that.
Veteran Lee Standing Bear Moore of Hott Springs told the Herald-Leader last week that he was contacted four months ago by an investigator for a public relations firm working for McConnell.
Moore said he did not care about the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky and wanted only better care from Valor.
He also said she received no compensation for appearing in the ad.
Efforts to reach Piña for comment were not successful.
Stemle, with the Lunsford campaign, said Piña, 84, would prefer that what he says in the Lunsford ad stand on its own.
Stemle added that Piña was not compensated for appearing in the Lunsford ad.