Foreign policy battle escalates in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race

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Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat, during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee last year.

DENVER — As the November midterms near amidst a news cycle that continues to be dominated in large part by news of efforts to combat the terror group ISIS, Colorado GOP Senate hopeful Cory Gardner is doubling down on his attack that Democratic Sen. Mark Udall isn’t taking the threat seriously enough.

A new TV ad from Gardner released Tuesday expands the critique over Udall’s statement that ISIS “doesn’t constitute an imminent threat to the U.S.”, a statement Udall has stuck to despite the political implications, to his attendance record at Senate Armed Services Committee hearings.

“Down in the polls, Mark Udall’s TV ads now talk tough on terrorism,” a narrator says in the ad.  “But what was Senator Udall’s record?  Absent for over half the public hearings in the Senate Armed Services Committee. Absent for all public hearings on emerging threats.

“Then Udall said, ‘I said last week that ISIL does not present and imminent threat to this nation and it doesn’t’.

“Not an imminent threat? Mark Udall’s wrong, and absent when it counts,” the narrator concludes.

During an interview last Sunday on #COpolitics: From The Source, Udall told FOX31 Denver that Gardner was parsing “semantics.”

Udall: Gardner should ‘think again before comparing national security credentials’

Udall responded Tuesday afternoon by accusing Gardner of “playing politics” with national security and looking to shift the focus to a difference in opinion over the U.S. policy toward Syria, one of the countries where ISIS has taken root.

“Congressman Gardner clearly has no idea how often the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces and a trusted leader on the Intelligence Committee meets with Pentagon leaders, intelligence community officials, and key intelligence advisers to discuss the threats we face, our counterterrorism strategy, and our military operations around the world,” read a press release from Udall’s campaign.

“For years, Mark warned of the threat that Syria’s instability posed to America, which is why he’s supported arming moderate rebels and launching airstrikes to destroy those who want to do us harm.”

Udall did criticize the White House for not following through on a pledge to take action against Syria in 2013 rather than waiting for approval from Congress and, ultimately, doing nothing.

“Above all, we’ve got to make sure that the Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups don’t take root in Syria,” Udall said last June during an appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press.

“Congressman Gardner, who not too long ago said that U.S. involvement in Syria wasn’t a ‘vital national interest,’ may want to think again before comparing national security credentials.

“The fact is, Gardner discounted the dangers posed by the chaos in Syria until he started this campaign. He was wrong then, and now Gardner’s only interest in Syria and ISIS is political – just like everything else he does.”

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