Gen. Wesley Clark has been enlisted to fight back assertions by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) that her Democratic opponent “never commanded anyone” in the military.
Clark issued a fundraising appeal on Friday for Democrat Tommy Sowers, who is challenging the eight-term Republican.
The appeal from Clark, a 2004 Democratic presidential nominee who commanded U.S. troops in Kosovo, praised Sowers’s military background and responded to comments Emerson made in a newspaper interview.
Emerson told the Southeast Missourian in a May interview that Sowers “never commanded anybody” during his time in the military in a May 28, 2010 article.
Clark, who wrote in the letter that he campaigned for Sowers in Missouri, criticized Emerson for going “down a shameful route” by attacking Sowers, an Iraq war veteran and Green Beret.
“Tommy’s proven his integrity, toughness, and skill, from Kosovo to Iraq,” Clark wrote. “He’s new blood that will turn things around for his district.”
Emerson’s campaign responded that she respected Sowers’s military experience and that his campaign was exaggerating her comments.
“General Wesley Clark's statement goes on to say that Emerson has …‘attacked Tommy's 11-year career as a Special Forces officer.’” the statement said. “Emerson has done no such thing, repeatedly saying she honors Tommy's service to our nation, though she was not aware that he was a Special Forces officer for all 11 years of his service in the U.S. Army.”
Though Clark wrote that “Tommy’s opponent is getting desperate,” Emerson is not seen as vulnerable in November. The Cook Political Report does not rate the race as competitive.