Tuesday night, during Idaho Public Television's debate between state Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, and Vaughn Ward, a Marine reservist, Labrador slammed Ward for using a quote from Sen. Mike Crapo on a piece of campaign literature without providing proper context. Labrador said that Ward's campaign has been admonished and asked not to use the quote with citing its source, but the Crapo and Ward campaigns deny that ever happened.
"That quote is implying that Crapo is endorsing Ward," Labrador said during the debate. He took it a step further when he claimed that Ward's campaign use the quote against the wishes of Crapo. "In fact, he (Ward) has even been admonished by the Crapo office that he should not be using that quote out of context," said Labrador. The statement came from Labrador after the panel of reporters asking questions at the debate queried Ward on his recent campaign miscues, including the use of his military uniform in a campaign ad, which drew the ire of the Pentagon. Following Ward's response, in which he claimed the uniform mishap was an innocent mistake, Labrador claimed a quote from Crapo was used by the Ward campaign to insinuate an endorsement for Ward.
The quote used by the Ward campaign was drawn from a tribute to him for his service in Iraq and Afghanistan authored by Crapo. In the tribute, Crapo calls Ward a family man, a son of Idaho, and praised him for his service to Idaho and the United States. IdahoReporter.com is unable to provide the exact quote from the tribute as requests to the Ward campaign for it have gone unfulfilled. Read the full tribute from Crapo here.
During the debate, Ward said that Crapo has chosen neither man in the race. "Mike Crapo has made it very clear he is not endorsing anybody in this race," said Ward. He added that his campaign checked with the Crapo campaign before using the quote and had its use approved. Ward said the only request made by the Crapo campaign was that Ward not use the quote to reflect an endorsement by Crapo.
On Wednesday, Ward spokesman Ryan O'Barto told IdahoReporter.com that the admonishment from Crapo's campaign never happened. "We have never been admonished in any way," said O'Barto. That statement was backed up by Mike Ball, spokesmen for the Crapo campaign. He said that the quote, which is part of public record, was written by Crapo in 2007 as a tribute to Ward's service in the Marines. Did the Crapo camp ever ask the Ward camp to stop using the quote? "No, we didn't and we couldn't; it’s part of the public domain,” said Ball. Additionally, he said that the Crapo campaign never asked the Ward campaign to provide a disclaimer, saying that Crapo does not endorse Ward, with the quote. "He has consistently made this clear to everyone who has inquired, including all media and all candidates in the race, both before and after the use of his statement about Vaughn Ward, which is at issue in a current controversy," said Ball in a statement to the press.
When asked about it, Labrador defended his position. "I don't think they told him he's doing something wrong, just not to use the quote out of context," said Labrador. He told IdahoReporter.com that he feels that the way in which the quote was used didn't provide correct context for Crapo's writing. "Is putting a quote on the front of a flyer without saying where it's from in context?" asked Labrador.
Note: Here is the quote from Crapo, taken off Ward's campaign literature:
There was no citation of the quote's source listed on the campaign literature.