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GOP candidate for Senate admits ‘terrible error’ after featuring a swastika in his first campaign ad

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James said he made a “terrible error” by unintentionally showing what appears to be a swastika in his first campaign ad of the general election in Michigan.

This article was originally published at Salon

James addressed the issue at an impromptu press conference Monday night after a debate against incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow. “I need to fess up and admit this was a terrible error on our part,” he said at his campaign headquarters, according to the Associated Press. “We should have caught this error, and we didn’t – and there’s no excuse. I’m responsible for everything that our team does and fails to do. And I will do everything in my power to make sure this never, ever happens again.”

The ad, which began airing on TV two weeks ago, includes brief footage of an empty school hallway as James talks off-screen about the state’s “failing schools.” In the shot, a bulletin board is full of papers, and one appears to show a printed swastika symbol. James said the scene came from stock footage, and the ad has since been pulled from YouTube, the AP reported.

Twitter users and Progress Michigan, a liberal advocacy group, highlighted the image on Monday. For Lonnie Scott, the executive director of the organization, expecting a Senate candidate to not include symbols of genocide in political ads is an incredibly low bar.

“His team is either too lazy to spot check their ads, or they’re willfully pushing out this type of imagery,” he told the AP. “Either way, it’s a problem and shows James’ lack of preparedness for the United States Senate.”

During the press conference, James that he was not sure where the footage showing a swastika originally came from, although he was owning up to his errors. “I was taught by excellent leaders – the best of which being my mom and dad – to do the right thing even when it’s hard,” he said.

“It’s my responsibility to stand and denounce hatred and bigotry and take responsibility for that error and omission,” James continued.

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READ MORE: Beto O’Rourke & Martin O’Malley: the dark horse ticket that could beat Trump in 2020

The Senate candidate also said that the ad was already being “phased out nationally” for a new one that centered on the lessons he learned from his father. “My dad grew up in the Jim Crow south,” the new ad released on Tuesday says. “But he preserved, and he taught me faith, service and love of country.”

James, a businessman and military veteran who President Donald Trump endorsed after his primary victory, has attempted to distance himself from the commander-in-chief and his poor approval ratings in Michigan. However, he previously stated that he supported Trump “2,000 percent.”

“I love everyone and I denounce hatred and bigotry in all its forms,” James said on Monday. “But this is also indication that our message is working.”

“This is also an indication of how low people are willing to go to take a message like this and to imply that a combat veteran – somebody who would put his life on the line for American values . . . doesn’t belong to one party or the other but belongs to Americans,” he added.

For James, the blowback is also an indication of how Stabenow will “say and do anything to get re-elected.” The candidate currently trails Stabenow by a margin of more than 16 percentage points in the latest Real Clear Politics average.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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Here are 4 winners and 9 losers from the first 2020 Democratic primary debate

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With ten candidates on stage Wednesday, the opening debate of the 2020 Democratic primary in Miami was a packed mess. And this was only the first course in a two-part event — 10 more candidates will debate on the following night.

A crowded field makes it difficult to stand out, and that means that even after a big night like a debate, the most likely result is that not much changes. But the debate was still significant, giving candidates the chance to exceed, meet, or fall below expectations for their performances.

Here's a list — necessarily subjective, of course — of the people who came out on the top when the dust was settled, and those who came out on the bottom.

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Here are 3 ways Julián Castro stood out in the first Democratic Debate

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There were many predictions going into the first Democratic debate on MSNBC, but no one predicted that Julián Castro would break out from the crowd.

Check out the top three ways Castro stood out from the crowd.

Immigration:

The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was the outright winner of the immigration section of the debate

It should "piss us all off," Castro said about the father and his little girl who were found face-down in the shores of the Rio Grande River this week. “It’s heartbreaking."

Castro is a second generation American who got into specifics on immigration policy, calling for an outright "Marshall Plan" style of action for Guatemala and Honduras. He joined with other Democrats calling for an end to President Donald Trump's family separation policy, but he then suggested ending the "metering" of legitimate asylum seekers.

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