Senate Campaign Uses Photo of James Foley's Executioner

A campaign video for Allen Weh features an image of the masked ISIS militant.

August 25, 2014, 6:24 PM
PHOTO: A screengrab from a video posted online appears to show American journalist James Foley shortly before he is killed by a masked captor.
A screengrab from a video posted online appears to show American journalist James Foley shortly before he is killed by a masked captor.
Obtained by ABC News

— -- In a video posted to his campaign's YouTube account today, New Mexico Senate candidate Allen Weh uses a brief still image of American journalist James Foley's executioner -- a move that critics say is "offensive."

The image of Foley's executioner, with a knife in his hand, appears at 0:31, clearly recognizable from the video that shocked America and much of the West last week, prompting new calls for action against ISIS and a hunt for Foley's killer.

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The video criticizes the foreign policies of President Obama and, by extension, Weh's opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. It makes liberal use of footage of Obama playing golf as international crises unfold.

Weh's campaign says it is not airing the ad on TV, simply hosting it on its YouTube channel.

Udall's campaign says the use of Foley's execution video is inappropriate.

"James Foley's death is a tragedy, and to use his killer’s horrific image for personal gain in a campaign ad is reprehensible and appalling," Udall campaign manager Daniel Sena wrote in a statement. "If Allen Weh wants to talk about the issues with New Mexico voters, he should find a way to do it that is respectful and substantive. Using James Foley’s horrific and tragic death for shock value is offensive to Mr. Foley's family, New Mexico voters and the rest of our country."

Weh's campaign told ABC News it does not believe its video is inappropriate because it does not contain any of the more grotesque moments of the Foley video--only a still image of Foley's killer.

"Out of respect for the Foley family, no picture of James Foley was used. Tom Udall’s feigned outrage over the inclusion of a now familiar image of this Jihadi terrorist, who is clearly the face of the evil that threatens our nation. Senator Udall’s comments about our diplomacy being 'good' reflect his naiveté and inexperience in matters of national security," Weh campaign manager Diego Espinoza said in a written statement provided to ABC.

Weh's video appears to be the first campaign ad to make reference to Foley's killing, and it's one of few to focus so heavily on Obama's foreign policies.

Weh is a former Marine and state party chairman who, at this point in the election year, is not expected to pose a serious threat to Udall's re-election chances.

This story has been updated with comment from Weh's campaign.

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