POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Menendez fires back at Hugin over latest campaign ad

BY Michael Aron, Chief Political Correspondent |

Surrounded by two dozen Democratic women, Sen. Bob Menendez angrily denounced Bob Hugin’s latest ad that accuses him of having sex with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic

“This deceitful, despicable attack ad tells you everything you need to know about Republican Bob Hugin — that he’s a slime ball, he’s a misogynist and he’s a liar,” Menendez said.

The Hugin ad dredges up an old accusation that was never proven. Menendez is firing back with his own ad.

Hugin says a government court filing from 2015 confirms that the FBI corroborated an allegation that first appeared in The Daily Caller, a right wing news site.

Menendez says that’s not what the FBI confirmed and that the allegation came from an anonymous mischief-maker out to tarnish him before the 2012 election.

“And I think that The Washington Post and The New York Times specifically go to the granular elements of this and point out that it’s an inconvenient truth for the Hugin campaign, one they maliciously overlook. It’s never been about the FBI. It’s always been about this fictitious person that no one ever found, no one ever met,” Menendez said.

The Hugin campaign said Wednesday in a statement, “Senator Menendez is a hypocrite and a liar. While Menendez may want citizens of NJ to forget that the FBI had very specific allegations he had sex with underage women in the Dominican, our ad reminds them exactly what kind of a person they have in Bob Menendez.”

Supporters backed up Menendez.

“Bob Hugin’s latest million dollar move is right out of the Trump playbook. He holds up a shining outlandish lie, a calculated distortion of truth, serves it up with a helping of provocative rhetoric and hopes that you’ll focus on it to distract from his own agenda or shortcomings,”said Elizabeth Meyer, founder of the New Jersey Women’s March.

“The women that are standing behind me stand proudly and firmly behind Sen. Bob Menendez,” said state Sen. Nellie Pou.

A clutch of Hugin supporters trolled the news conference.

“And for Bob Menendez to ever come in this town and say anything other than, I am sorry for being so disgusting and disrespectful to women in New Jersey, he’s got to go,” said Monica Brinson, president of the Bergen County African-American Republican Club.

“You know what this is about? Bob Hugin knows that I have a huge double-digit lead with women in the state of New Jersey,” Menendez said.

An episode like this reminds you that politics is sometimes a dirty game. Menendez has been playing the game for 40 years, but this year it’s the newcomer, Hugin, who has thrown the lowest blow so far.