Walsh rips 'smear ads' in first TV spot

Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) is launching the first TV ad of his campaign, touting his military service and pushing back against the GOP outside groups that have attacked that record.

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Walsh, who was sworn in to the Senate earlier this week after Max Baucus left to become ambassador to China, introduces himself as a military veteran unafraid of "smear ads" in an ad first shared with The Hill.

"Washington is broken. Too many put themselves, their party and special interests ahead of us. But I understand what courage really is," Walsh says. "I led Montana's finest men and women into combat in Iraq, and I carry with me the names of four soldiers I had the honor to serve with who didn't make it home. So it's going to take a lot more than smear ads to deter me from taking on Washington and doing right by Montana."

The former lieutenant governor of Montana and adjutant general in the Army, Walsh faces an uphill battle against Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who has led him by wide margins in polls in the GOP-leaning state. His ad seeks to put to rest questions about his record stemming from a 2010 Army Inspector General's report that he improperly used his position to pressure soldiers he commanded to support an organization that lobbies for better National Guard equipment.

The GOP-aligned American Crossroads launched an ad earlier on Wednesday attacking Walsh's record and pointing to the report.

Walsh's campaign said his ad is running statewide, but wouldn't disclose how large the ad buy is or how long it would run for.

Walsh spokesperson Lauren Passalacqua took a shot at Crossroads in the ad's release.

"When a PAC led by draft-dodger Karl Rove attempts to smear a decorated military veteran, you know Washington is worried about John Walsh and the fight he'll wage in D.C.," she said. "The spot is a pathetic attempt by the special interest friends of Steve Daines to denigrate Walsh's record of service and advocacy on behalf of the men and women he led into combat. They should be ashamed."