Walter B. Jones, the longtime Republican congressman from North Carolina, is facing a tough primary challenge. Jones has made his anti-war stance central to his political identity, and Peter Hamby of CNN reports on how Jones is being challenged on his position on Iraq and Afghanistan:
At first, Jones backed the military action; he's perhaps most famous for proposing that French fries in the House cafeteria be re-named "freedom fries" in protest of France's opposition to the war. But after attending a memorial service for a Marine sergeant from his district, Jones had a remarkable change of heart. He became a sharp critic of President George W. Bush's foreign policy and began supporting Democratic efforts to withdraw troops from Iraq. In private, Jones was writing thousands of apology letters to the families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the years since, Jones has ramped up his anti-war rhetoric and his fierce opposition to foreign aid, drawing the ire of a hawkish outside group that's now running blistering television ads against him in the primary. "Lyndon Johnson's probably rotting in hell right now because of the Vietnam War, and he probably needs to move over for Dick Cheney," Jones said at a Young Americans for Liberty conference in Raleigh. Jones supported Ron Paul, the anti-war libertarian icon, for president. Today, he's a board member on the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
The Emergency Committee For Israel, a neoconservative pro-Israel group, has spent more than a quarter of a million dollars on a pair of ominous television ads hammering Jones, saying he "preaches American decline" and opposes sanctions on Iran. "He's changed," one ad says. "Isn't it time your vote changed as well?"
But Hamby points out it isn't just foreign policy:
Another outside group, the Ending Spending Action Fund, a super PAC founded by billionaire businessman Joe Ricketts, has invested even more money attacking Jones on the airwaves and in the mail.
"Congressman Jones has opposed the Ryan budget," said Brian Baker, the group's president. "It's pretty simple. Congressman Jones is the No. 1 supporter of the President in the House Republican Conference, and we oppose his re-election for those reasons."
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