Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra is defending a television ad some are calling racially charged. The ad, which aired in Michigan during the Super Bowl, shows a young Asian woman with a straw hat, riding a bicycle in a setting resembling China.
In broken English the girl says "Thank you Michigan Senator Debbie Spend-it Now. Debbie spends so much American money. You borrow more and more, from us. Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you Debbie Spend-it Now." Hoekstra is then shown on screen and he adds, "I'm Pete Spend-it Not Hoekstra and I approve this message."
Some civil rights groups are calling the racially insensitive and have urged the former Michigan congressman to apologize.
However, during a Fox News interview with Megyn Kelly on Monday afternoon Hoekstra denied the charge. "There's nothing in here that has a racial tint at all... the bottom line is when they can't defend their record they will move to the race card."
Fox News Political Analyst Juan Williams sees the ad as a wasted opportunity for Hoekstra and not great publicity for the Republican party, "which is often accused of being insensitive toward immigrants."
"Pete Hoekstra is a very bright guy, but what he is trying to get across here, his concerns about spending and debt, that's now being obscured by charges of racism," said Williams. "These charges of racism are resonating right now instead of his views on reigning in the national debt."
The Hoekstra campaign says the ad is "satirical" and points to the country's present economic problems. "This ad hits the Democrats exactly where it hurts," Hoekstra said on Fox News. "Their spending over the last three years under president Obama has weakened our economy."
Jake Gibson is a producer working at the Fox News Washington bureau who covers politics, law enforcement and intelligence issues.