Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo is airing a graphic new ad this week in Iowa that depicts a terrorist planting a bomb in a crowded U.S. shopping mall and suggests that lax immigration policies have left the country vulnerable to such attacks.
The television ad, called "Tough on Terror," shows a hooded terrorist carrying a backpack into a mall and leaving it by a bench, before the screen turns to black and an explosion can be heard.
As images of an injured child and a wrecked train flash on the screen, the voiceover says: "There are consequences to open borders beyond the 20 million aliens who have come to take our jobs ... the price we pay for spineless politicians who refuse to defend our borders against those who come to kill."
The Colorado congressman, who late last month announced he would not be seeking a sixth term in the House of Representatives, has made fighting illegal immigration a cornerstone of his struggling campaign. Tancredo is polling in the bottom tier of Republican candidates but has a loyal cadre of supporters who are strict border control proponents.
In an accompanying radio ad, Tancredo says, "All issues pale in comparison to the fact that Islamic jihadists are here and plotting our destruction ... I will secure our borders and ports, I will stop all visas to nations that sponsor terrorism and arrest and deport any alien who preaches violence and hatred whether that's ... from a mosque or a street corner in a Mayday parade."
Tancredo Press Secretary Alan Moore said the campaign expects to spend about $1 million over the life of the ad going from now to the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, and that, although the ad is currently running only in Iowa, it will be aired in New Hampshire next week.
As for criticisms that might be leveled at the campaign over the explosive aspects of the ad, Moore pointed to reports that even the FBI suspects Al Qaeda may try to use the shopping mall scenario. He said that they already had been working on the ad before the FBI investigation became public but asked, "If legitimate national security threats are controversial then what are we going to talk about? If other presidential candidates don't talk about threats like this, how serious are they?"
Tancredo says in both ads that he approves the message "because someone needs to say it."