CONCORD, N.H. -- A relatively timid Republican primary -- as personal attack ads go -- took a turn for the vile on Thursday evening when a group of Ron Paul supporters released a video depicting Jon Huntsman as a Chairman Mao-style Manchurian Candidate.
The relationship between the group, "New Hampshire Liberty 4 Paul," which created the video, and the Paul campaign was not entirely clear, nor was the legitimacy of the group itself (as web videos go, this falls below the usual standards of Paul fans). The group has no other discernable online presence, the YouTube account was created on Jan. 4, and has posted only the single video -- all of which points to some ad hoc effort and not an actual campaign product.
When The Huffington Post contacted the poster of the video through YouTube to ask why they created the video and whether they had any formal association with the Paul campaign, NHLiberty4Paul replied: "Sorry, campaign has asked me not to speak to reporters."
The Paul campaign disavowed the ad Friday. "The video is disgusting. Whoever put it up should remove it immediately," Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said to CNN.
It certainly doesn't help the Texas Republican, whose image as a candidate of conviction has been tripped up primarily by allegations that those convictions include racial insensitivity. And by Friday morning, the video was already causing some waves on the trail.
Speaking before the College Convention, Huntsman was asked about the spot, which features him in Chairman Mao garb, and questions whether the former U.S. Ambassador to China values "American values, or Chinese" and implies that he would be weak on China.
"I saw just parts of it yesterday," he said. "First of all, it is just stupid. Second of all, yeah, I lived overseas four times ... I speak Chinese, of course I do. If someone wants to poke fun of me for speaking Chinese, that's okay. The thing I object to is bringing forward pictures and videos of my adopted daughters and suggesting that there is some sinister motive there. I have a daughter from China who was abandoned at two months of age and left in a vegetable market, picked up by the police and sent to an orphanage."
"I have a second daughter who was born in India in a very rural village ... and left for dead the day she was born," he added. "And luckily she was picked up before the animals got her, and she was sent to an orphanage for her safety, was raised and now she is in my family. So I have two little girls who are a daily reminder that there are a lot of kids in this world who don't have the breaks that you do and face a very uncertain future ... and now these two girls are on the presidential campaign trail. I say, how cool is that?"
This story has been updated to include the Paul campaign's reaction to the ad.
Video of Huntsman's remarks below via Patch.com: