Carmona defends himself against new Flake ad

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Democratic Senate Candidate Richard Carmona fired back today against a television ad in which his Republican opponent accused him of having anger problems with women.

Carmona released his own ad defending himself against the allegations while demanding that Republican Congressman Jeff Flake pull his commercial from the airwaves.

The new Carmona spot features a longtime friend, former Pima County SWAT team commander Kathleen Brennan, who says, "Rich Carmona was a joy to work with."

"Rich treats everyone with respect, it doesn’t matter whether you're a male or female," Brennan says in the commercial titled, "Ashamed."

The ad ends with  Brennan saying, "When I see someone like career politician Jeff Flake attacking someone like Rich Carmona, who has spent his life helping others, it's despicable. Congressman Flake should be ashamed."

The commercial comes one day after Flake unveiled a new ad with Carmona's ex-boss describing a night in 2004 when he scared her and her young kids by pounding at her door late at night.

In it, Dr. Cristina Beato says, "Carmona is not who he seems, he has issues with anger, with ethics and with women."

During a press conference at his campaign headquarters today, Carmona denied the accusation, saying they were "100 percent false."  

Representatives with Flake’s campaign did not immediately return phone calls.

Beato is the former acting assistant secretary of health and was Carmona's boss while he served as U.S. Surgeon General under the Bush Administration.

This is not the first time these allegations have been brought up in public. Beato testified about this to Congress in 2007 and earlier this year Politico wrote a story about the incident.

Because of the media attention on the issue, Carmona's communications director, Andy Barr, told reporters today that the campaign was prepared to respond quickly.

Barr says the campaign was warned in advance this week about the Flake ad, giving them time to prepare a quick response. The Carmona ad was filmed Wednesday and edited yesterday, according to Barr.

Carmona and his campaign have said Carmona and Beato often clashed over her attempts to "spin science" for political gains.

His campaign also worked hard to discredit Beato by directing reporters to news articles from 2004 when Congress held up her appointment as assistant secretary of health because she lied on her resume.

The ads come as voters begin casting early ballots in what has become a hotly contested race.

Over the past several weeks, polls have shown this contest tightening up. That's prompted Democrats and Republicans from across the country to dump big money in a race that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate for the next two years.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, for example, has pumped more than $1 million into the race so far to help Carmona.

The Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee as well as the outside spending group Club for Growth has also poured in big money.

On his own, Carmona hauled in $2.2 million in the third quarter. Flake has yet to release what he raised during the same period.