Earlier today I wrote about a controversy swirling around Rep. Kevin Cramer’s use of the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery as a backdrop for one of his campaign ads.
Cramer’s opponent, Democrat George Sinner, has now called on Cramer to apologize for the ad. “Our veterans cemetery is hallowed ground,” Sinner told Prarie Public Radio. “It is the final resting place for many service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the freedoms that we enjoy. To use the North Dakota Veterans Cemetary as a backdrop for a political ad is beyond reproach.”
This afternoon WDAY AM970 host Jay Thomas and I interviewed Cramer about the ad, and he was largely unapologetic about it.
“There is nothing illegal about doing it,” he told Jay and I. “It is state land. It is public land. Frankly, much of what our veterans fought for was political expression.”
I asked Cramer specifically about Sinner’s call for him to apologize, and Cramer said that was “a lot of extreme rhetoric.”
“So far my opponent has criticized every ad I’ve run,” he said. “I understand George’s point, he’s got a job to do, but I think the ad speaks for itself.”
Cramer defended, calling it “beautiful” and saying that it “honors veterans.”
Toward the end of the interview (which I didn’t catch on audio as I forgot to turn the recording back on after the commercial break), Thomas asks Cramer if he can promise not to film another ad in a veterans cemetery.
Cramer wouldn’t make that promise. “You never know what you may or may not do,” he said. “We did it with great respect and did not use the ad to attack anyone.”