Six years after being ousted in a bitterly divisive U.S. Senate race in Georgia, former Sen. Max Cleland is striking back at his 2002 opponent Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissLobbying World Former GOP senator: Let Dems engage on healthcare bill OPINION: Left-wing politics will be the demise of the Democratic Party MORE (R-Ga.) by stumping hard for his current opponent.

Cleland is sending out fundraising appeals on behalf of former state Rep. Jim Martin (D), who has pulled to within a few polling points of Chambliss after months in which the incumbent led by double digits.

Chambliss defeated Cleland by a 52.7 percent to 45.9 percent in a 2002 race in which ads were run that implied Cleland implicitly supported Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Cleland, a veteran who lost both of his legs and an arm in the Vietnam War, describes those tactics as "despicable" in his recent fundraising appeal.

"We can't let Chambliss use the same vile tactics to defeat Democratic challenger Jim Martin," Cleland said, noting Martin's rise in the polls. "The disgusting lies and the dirty tricks are just around the corner."

Cleland goes on to press for contributions to Martin's campaign on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has invested in ads in the race.

"Funding the campaign that will swamp every attack over these last two weeks and win a filibuster-proof majority is entirely up to us," Cleland says. "Please contribute any amount you can afford - even as little as $5 - to this goal right away."

Update 6:35 p.m.: comment from Chambliss's campaign added: