Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson is coming under bipartisan fire for releasing an ad that compares Republican opponent Daniel Webster to the Taliban and takes his quotes on the role of women blatantly out of context.
The narrator in the ad accuses "Taliban Dan Webster" of wanting to "impose his radical fundamentalism on us," interspersing snippets of a speech Webster gave at a 2009 Christian event. Without any context, Webster is showing saying, "wives submit yourself to your own husband" and "she should submit to me. That's in the Bible."
But Webster released the unedited original footage, which shows the congressional candidate preaching the exact opposite. In the full tape, Webster urges listeners to write down a Bible verse, so long as it doesn't have anything to do with wives submitting to their husbands.
"Don't pick the ones that say she should submit to me. That's in the Bible, but pick the ones that you're supposed to do -- so instead you love your wife ... as opposed to wives submit yourself to your own husband," he said.
Webster, former speaker of the Florida House, called out Grayson on his congressional campaign website and linked to a FactCheck.org writeup that accused the congressman of manipulating the footage. He said in a statement to FoxNews.com that honesty would give him the edge in the tight race for Florida's District 8 seat.
"While I don't yet have the financial resources to match Alan Grayson and fight back against his despicable distortions, I do have the truth on my side," Webster said.
Grayson defended the ad Tuesday, telling MyFoxOrlando that his campaign had to "compress" the Webster speech in order to "convey it." He denied taking words out of context.
"That's completely not true," he said. "He said what he said and he's been trying to run from his record now, now that it's been exposed."
Grayson campaign manager Susannah Randolph told the Orlando Sentinel that Webster is tied to the Institute in Basic Life Principles, which teaches women to be subservient to their husbands. "He is speaking at a group that teaches that women should be submissive to men," Randolph told the newspaper. "He's always pushed an agenda that is anti-woman."
Florida's 8th Congressional District race is considered a toss-up and a prize for House Republicans who repeatedly have sparred with Grayson over his over-the-top comments. Grayson has attracted attention before for claiming Republicans want sick Americans to "die quickly" and comparing former Vice President Dick Cheney to a vampire.
However, little outside polling has been done on the congressional race.
Democratic pollster Doug Schoen called Grayson's new ad "absolutely egregious" and suggested it could backfire.
"This is way over the line," Schoen told Fox News. "What you learn as a political strategist is that voters don't react well to outrageous lies."
The ad mixed in claims about Webster's positions on women's rights -- that he would deny rape victims the right to have an abortion and deny medical care to battered women. Schoen said contrasts about abortion views would have been fine, but that the mischaracterization of Webster's quotes was "beyond the pale."