U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-MN) spoke out about armed conflict in Afghanistan and Syria last week with op-ed columns and a cable news appearance.
Ellison wrote an op-ed titled "Get U.S. Troops out of Afghanistan" that appeared at CNN.com on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden:
We have diminished al Qaeda's strength, so for the sake of our economic and national security, we should decrease our military presence and bring our troops home from Afghanistan as soon as is safely possible.
Ellison also appeared on CNN to discuss the issue (see CNN video above).
Ellison called for safe zones along Syria's borders in an op-ed published in the Star Tribune Monday:
The United States must lead the international community in establishing safe zones to protect innocent Syrian civilians and send a clear message to Assad: the killing has to stop.
Ellison was in the Fifth District for a series of events, including a where the winning entry is destiined for display at the U.S. Capitol.
But a GOP rival claimed Ellison wasn't present at a couple events. On Friday, endorsed Republican candidate Chris Fields tweeted:
That prompted a flurry of rebuttals and a second accusation of an Ellison absence at another event (see the Ellison campaign YouTube video above and see a Storify of the Twitter exchange here), culminating in this statement from the Ellison campaign:
"Saturday morning, as Congressman Ellison was speaking to working families about ensuring health care access for all, Republican-endorsed candidate Chris Fields took to Twitter to smear Keith Ellison.
"Fields tweeted that Congressman Ellison skipped his own campaign's open house on Wednesday. Over 100 Minnesotans who attended the event know Fields' statement is untrue. After it became apparent that Fields was caught lying about Ellison missing the open house, he pivoted to a new lie and claimed Ellison didn't attend an event at the University of Minnesota. Kristin, Jake, Lubna, Dina, Ben and other University of Minnesota students at the event would beg to differ. They enjoyed talking to Congressman Ellison about how we can make college affordable without pitting students against funding for women's health.
"Instead of dealing with lies and smears, the people of the Fifth District deserve a lively debate about solutions and how to move our country forward. Congressman Ellison has outlined a vision for job creation, maintaining affordable health care and creating prosperity for working families. That’s why the people of Minnesota's Fifth District have elected Keith Ellison three times to represent their voice in Washington.
"We call for a higher discourse and ask Mr. Fields to focus on the issues and not smears."