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Rep. Filner blasts newspaper cartoon of his GOP opponent, a wounded Iraq veteran

July 12, 2010 |  6:30 pm

Rep. Bob Filner (D-Chula Vista) has added his criticism to those of readers who feel that a newspaper cartoon showing his GOP opponent, a wounded Iraq veteran, was inappropriate.

"The cartoon was in poor taste and does not reflect the Imperial Valley's strong support for our troops and veterans," Filner said in reference to a political cartoon in the Imperial Valley Press.

The cartoon showed a poster of  Filner's opponent Nick Popaditch. On the poster Popaditch is wearing a patch on his right eye; two skateboard-riding youths are puzzled about whether he is a spy, a pirate or a sitcom character.

The former Marine gunnery sergeant lost the sight in his right eye in the battle for Fallouja in 2004.

Filner and Popaditch are rivals in the 51st Congressional District, which covers Imperial County and much of the border region of San Diego County.

Filner, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said he hopes the newspaper "would educate the public on how we can support our troops as they return home."

Popaditch said he was not bothered by the cartoon. "I've got much thicker skin than that," he said. "It's not going to hurt me in any way."

But he said he was concerned that other wounded veterans might feel that the cartoon suggests that it is acceptable to poke fun at war wounds.

In a phone call, editor Brad Jennings apologized to Popaditch. He has promised an apology in Tuesday's paper. Jennings said the cartoon was meant to satirize how ill-informed many voters are about the Iraq war.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

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