U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., today charged that his Democratic opponent "has resorted to false, personal attacks" as he attempts to counter a leaked transcript that depicts him pressuring a woman with whom he had an affair to get an abortion.
In a fundraising letter alluding to what has quickly become a national controversy for the pro-life lawmaker and Jasper physician, DesJarlais names his Democratic opponent, Eric Stewart.
"Eric Stewart knows that he cannot attack me on my independent, conservative and pro-life record in Congress, so he has resorted to false, personal attacks ... all in an attempt to steal this election away from the real issues: Your jobs, your homes and your values."
Stewart has sharply criticized DesJarlais over the transcript, saying he has "broken faith" with voters in the 4th Congressional District.
DesJarlais, in his first term, said he had "hoped that this election would be a discussion on issues important to Tennesseans, but instead we are left to fight back against these desperate attempts at character assassination.
An email request made to DesJarlais' office on whether the congressman is specifically calling the transcript false or a fake was not immediately returned.
The Huffington Post, saying it had obtained the transcript, reported Wednesday about the affair and DesJarlais' pressuring the woman to get an abortion.
DesJarlais' office initially called the revelation "old news from the last election cycle," but it did not dispute the transcript of the recorded conversation made in 2000 or 2001.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.