Sinema slams McSally for running 'smear' campaign focusing on 2003 Taliban comment

Sinema slams McSally for running 'smear' campaign focusing on 2003 Taliban comment
© Greg Nash

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) slammed her Republican opponent in Arizona's Senate race, Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyOn The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump Senate defense bill would make military sexual harassment standalone crime MORE, instead of answering if she regretted making comments in 2003 that she was "fine" if an American joined the Taliban.

"Martha crossed the line with those comments and that's the choice that she's made in her campaign to run a campaign that's based on really—," Sinema began to say when an NBC News reporter asked again if she regretted the statement.

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"But do you regret that statement, really though, at all?" interrupted the reporter, speaking to Sinema at the Litchfield Parks festival in Arizona on Sunday.

Sinema didn't retract the 2003 statement, saying it was an "offhand comment."

"Well, it was an offhand comment, during an interview about a war that I believed was misguided and still believe was misguided," Sinema said.

"What Martha has chosen to do is run a very negative campaign based on false attacks and smears and lies," she added.

"And that's her choice, but I think Arizonans are choosing the person that they believe shares their values and they believe will stand up for them." 

McSally and Sinema are neck in neck in their Senate race one day from the midterm elections, according to RealClearPolitics.

McSally, who is an Air Force veteran, has targeted Sinema for the comments repeatedly.

"It’s totally out of step with American values. When she clearly says in this radio interview that she has no problem with an American going to join the Taliban," McSally told "Fox News Sunday" last month, after she accused Sinema of saying she was fine with treason during the sole debate of the campaign.

She added that "this is personal" for those who fought the Taliban.

"I was a squadron commander over there with my A-10 squadron," McSally said. "We were getting shot at by the Taliban. The Taliban was killing Americans."

"While we were in harm’s way in uniform, Kyrsten Sinema was protesting us in a pink tutu and denigrating our service," McSally said in an attack ad she ran this summer.