An anti-Hillary Clinton group ran a television ad during Tuesday night's Democratic debate showing the gravestone of Libyan Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who died in the 2012 attack on the American embassy in Benghazi.
The Democratic presidential frontrunner, who was Secretary of State at the time, has been under scrutiny for her response to the tragedy and conflicting information in the wake of the attacks.
The group is spending more than $100,000 to air the ad in major cities in swing states and in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina as well as an additional $25,000 on digital ads.
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon called the ad “disgusting” on Twitter this morning.
Disgusting. https://t.co/HIahgUI9Aw— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) October 13, 2015
On Wednesday, Democrats on the Benghazi Committee lashed back: “We call on Chairman Gowdy to use his authority and influence to put an immediate halt to this reprehensible, shameful, and false campaign attack ad that uses images of Ambassador Stevens’ grave — without his family’s permission — and exploits the deaths of four Americans to damage Secretary Clinton’s bid for president," they said in a statement.
Clinton has repeatedly called the incident a tragedy and taken responsibility for the attack. Investigations by House committees did not find wrongdoing by state department officials in their response to the attack, nor did it find that officials had been intentionally misleading in the attack's aftermath.
“Dear Hillary Clinton, I’d like to ask you why you ignored calls for help in Benghazi and then four Americans were murdered,” the ad starts. “I’d like to know why you lied, saying the attack was a response to an Internet video. I’d like to hear why you tried to silence the Benghazi whistleblower. But Mrs. Clinton, I can’t. What difference does it make?”
The script features these questions to Hillary Clinton, being asked as the faces of the four people killed in the attacks appear one-by-one on screen. The spot ends with a fade to Stevens’ tombstone.
When asked whether the ad goes too far, Stop Hillary PAC’s counsel Dan Backer told ABC News, “I think the awful way Hillary Clinton treated the mother of a Benghazi victim went too far,” referring allegations from the mother of a victim on CNN last week that “they have treated me like dirt and have not told me anything.”
“Stop Hillary PAC was created for one reason only - to ensure Hillary Clinton never becomes President of the United States,” Backer said in a statement.