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Villaraigosa platform flap now the subject of a campaign ad

September 7, 2012 |  3:48 pm

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa DNC     Brian van der Brug--Los Angeles Times
An awkward moment for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the Democratic National Convention  has become the subject of a new television ad for a Republican congressman seeking reelection.

U.S. Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) announced that his re-election campaign has begun running a 60-second spot on Friday that shows Villaraigosa -- acting in his role as DNC chairman -- being booed by delegates after a trio of voice votes over changes to the Democratic Party’s official platform. Those changes included the reinsertion of the word "God" into one passage and a declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

West campaign operatives said the ad is on cable but would not specify which stations. Campaign manager Tim Edson said the commercial, which is aimed at West's opponent, Democrat Patrick Murphy, shows that Democratic Party delegates had “three times denied God,” with a “befuddled” Villaraigosa presiding.

"This is the party with whom Patrick Murphy has cast his lot," the West campaign said in a news release.

The commercial dramatically condenses the video from the platform flap, omitting any footage of Democrats who shouted “aye” in favor of the platform changes. It was not clear from the commercial or the original video whether the dissenting delegates were troubled by the language referencing God or the passage focusing on Jerusalem.

The dust-up over the DNC platform has already been the subject of a mocking segment on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart –- one that features extensive footage of Villaraigosa calling each of the three votes. The controversy also spurred Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, to joke earlier this week that Villaraigosa needed “a hearing aide.”

That was a reference to Villaraigosa's announcement that two-thirds of delegates had agreed to change the platform, even though the ayes and noes were both loudly audible during the voice vote. Scarborough said he did not hear two-thirds.

Villaraigosa said earlier this week that President Obama himself had ordered the wording restored so that it reflected his values. Meanwhile, Murphy attacked the ad as an unfair “guilt by association,” saying he had supported the platform changes from the beginning.

"How dare Allen West question my faith," Murphy said in a message posted on his campaign website. "This deeply offensive ad is not in the spirit of American political discourse and inappropriately attempts to assign guilt by association."

West created a stir earlier this year by saying that as many as 81 Democratic members of Congress are "members of the Communist Party."


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Photo: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa addressing the Democratic National Convention. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times