The GOP opponent of Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) is criticizing him for using the names of the two U.S. journalists beheaded by Islamic militants during a Saturday debate. Udall invoked James Foley and Steven Joel Sotloff while arguing against an “impulsive” response to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the atrocities it has committed.
“I can tell you, Steve Sotloff and James Foley would tell us, ‘Don’t be impulsive,'” Udall said, in a brief clip published by National Review Online. “Horrible and barbarous as those executions were, don’t be impulsive. Come up with a plan to knock (ISIS) back.”
Udall’s comments came during his debate with Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), the Republican nominee, while discussing how to respond to ISIS.
Gardner rebuked Udall in a Monday statement.
“Americans have watched in horror in recent weeks as two of our fellow countrymen have been brutally executed by terrorists, and it’s outrageous that Senator Udall would put words into the mouths of dead Americans,” he said in a statement.
The Udall campaign did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.
UPDATE: 6:00 p.m. ET
Udall apologized Monday in a statement.
“When addressing ISIL during this weekend’s debate, I should not have invoked the names of James Foley and Steven Sotloff,” he said. “It was inappropriate and I sincerely apologize.
“My intent was to emphasize the importance of taking the right next steps as we confront this serious threat. It is critically important for the United States, our allies and countries in the region to beat back ISIL,” he continued. “These terrorists are a serious threat to U.S. interests and allies in the Middle East, and Americans are counting on their leaders to get this right. I will continue to push the Administration and demand that our country’s approach is both tough and smart.”