BOSTON — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez is standing by controversial remarks he made about his Democratic rival, U.S. Rep. Ed Markey.
Gomez told NPR Thursday:
You know, I’ve got four young kids, and they’ve got to sit there and they gotta see an ad with their dad, who served honorably — talk to anybody I served with, whether as a pilot or as a SEAL or anybody I’ve worked with — and for him to be as dirty and low, pond scum, to put me up against bin Laden, he’s gotta be called what he is.
Gomez objected to a Markey Web video juxtaposing a picture of Gomez with Osama bin Laden. A day later, Gomez, who has four children, 12 to 8 years old, has not backed off.
“The ad’s very offensive,” Gomez told reporters in Bedford Friday. “It is a new low. What’s an 8-year-old going to ask?”
Gomez told reporters last week that he was not going to go negative. He doesn’t need to, because, he said, people like him. On Friday, he was reminded about that promise.
“I don’t have to go negative, and if I really wanted to go negative, I would have called him Congressman,” Gomez replied, laughing.
It’s not clear how much voters really care about these remarks. Reporters were the only ones to ask him about them. Gomez had just answered questions from the audience at a chamber of commerce breakfast, where people asked about gun control, how he can be more successful than Scott Brown, immigration reform, tax reform, abortion. In 26 minutes, no one asked about “pond scum.”
At his endorsement by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Markey did not take questions from the audience of union workers, but reporters did ask, repeatedly, about Gomez’s remarks.
“I’m not going to engage in name-calling,” Markey said at the Friday event. “I’m going to continue to focus on the issues that affect the families of our country. I think that a lot of this is just an attempt to distract from the big issues. I think his attempt here is to distract from the big issues. He clearly doesn’t want to talk about his support for the NRA’s position on assault weapons. He clearly doesn’t want to talk about his support for rolling back protections against a repeat of the Wall Street meltdown of our economy.”
Gomez says he supports many of the financial reforms enacted since 2008. He also supports an expansion of background checks for gun purchases, which the NRA opposes.
Also Friday, Markey released his tax returns going back to 2005.
He’s trying to get Gomez to release his 2005 tax returns, because that’s the year Gomez donated a conservation easement promising not to alter the exterior of his house for which the Boston Globe reports he took a $281,000 tax deduction.
Since 2005, Markey has made between $151,000 and $161,000 each year. And given all the ribbing Markey has gotten about his home in Maryland, he did file Massachusetts income tax.