Leah Barkoukis
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Rep. Allen West is out with a new ad that slams his opponent Patrick Murphy by contrasting what each was doing on Feb. 16, 2003. Spoiler alert: it ends with Murphy’s mug shot. Ouch:

February 16, 2003 Fort Hood, Texas, Lt. Colonel Allen West had just received deployment orders and prepares his men to go to war. That night, South Beach, Miami, Patrick Murphy is thrown out of a club for fighting covered in alcohol and unable to stand. Murphy then confronts and verbally assaults a police officer. Patrick Murphy was arrested and taken to jail. Two men, a country in crisis- you decide.

Of course, the Murphy camp chalked the incident up to ‘the stuff of teenagers,’ as Murphy was only 19-years-old at the time of the arrest, which he says was the “biggest mistake [of his] life.” Murphy’s campaign also attempted to deflect by pointing to the “controversy” behind West’s retirement:

“Allen West is now opening up what his military record was in 2003," said Eric Johnson, a senior adviser to Murphy’s campaign. "In 2003, he was criminally charged by the military with assault and for violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice and was subsequently kicked out of the military. I find it odd that he’s trying to brag about that particular year of service. And he’s attacking Patrick Murphy for drinking as a teenager, which I think is a silly attack."

Underage drinking was not the only law Murphy broke, however. West’s campaign has also created the website, “Murphy’s Law,” which explains the events of his opponent’s night in more detail. According to the police report, Murphy “was arrested and charged with possession of a stolen property and disorderly intoxication.” Apparently, he and his friend also “made false allegations that police officers had mistreated them.”

As for the charges against West, perhaps Team Murphy should listen to his account of what happened in Iraq. Also note that West is perfectly comfortable talking about it and has nothing to hide:

And in case West explaining what happened hasn’t been enough at this point, his campaign manager Tim Edson responded, saying, West "fought and defended his country honorably for 22 years" and "while Patrick Murphy was getting drunk and getting arrested, Allen West was shipping off to war. The ad speaks for itself."

Of course, voters in Florida will be the ones to decide whether the 2003 incident reflects on Murphy’s character and candidacy today. A recent poll and ad buys are both in West’s favor, however.

You decide: West or Murphy?

 

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Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Assistant Editor at Townhall.com/Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography