Rep. Tom CottonTom CottonGOP senator: Obama is ‘a good role model’ Pence: 'Mistake' to commute sentence for 'traitor' Chelsea Manning Overnight Defense: Obama commutes Manning's sentence | Boeing sees 'progress' on Air Force One costs | McCain's 0B defense budget MORE (R-Ark.) blasted President Obama for signing off on a deal to exchange U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban commanders, calling it a "grievous error" that could cost U.S. lives.

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"There is now a price on the head of American hostages, and Barack Obama has helped put that price there by breaking with a decade-long bipartisan consensus," Cotton, a Senate candidate and Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran, told Arkansas podcast host J.R. Davis.

"I wouldn't have traded five senior Taliban commanders for any POW," he continued. "I would have continued to use intelligence resources and special operations units to try to retrieve Beau Bergdahl, or any POW for that matter. But I would not release senior hardened Taliban commanders. These are not goat herders or foot soldiers. These are the equivalent of their secretary of Defense or their CIA director. They are going to go back in the battlefield. That is going to happen. And they're going to help kill Americans in the future."

Cotton and Sen. Mark PryorMark PryorCotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood MORE (D-Ark.) are locked in a tight battle in a top-priority race for both parties. Pryor is considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats.