SAN DIEGO – A congressional candidate is under fire for a Web site photo that purported to show a peaceful Baghdad neighborhood but was actually taken in a suburb of Istanbul, Turkey.
"We took this photo of Baghdad while we were in Iraq," the accompanying caption on Howard Kaloogian's Web site read. "Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be."
Internet bloggers began questioning the photo earlier this week because none of the signs was in Arabic and billboards were advertising Western products.
Kaloogian, a former state assemblyman who founded Move America Forward to support the war and is now running for Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's House seat, took the photo down on Wednesday.
He said it was innocent mix-up that arose from a trip to Baghdad that he took last summer with Move America Forward. Some of the travelers went home through Istanbul, he said. The group pooled its photos, and his Web master mistakenly selected one of Istanbul, Kaloogian said.
"They used a picture that was wrong. There's nothing sinister about it," he said.
Kaloogian, a Republican, is one of 18 candidates seeking to replace Cunningham, who was convicted of bribery and conspiracy and sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison.