Reporting from San Diego —
Rep. Bob Filner (D-Chula Vista) has joined readers in criticizing a newspaper cartoon showing his GOP opponent, a wounded Iraq veteran, calling it inappropriate.
"The cartoon was in poor taste and does not reflect the Imperial Valley's strong support for our troops and veterans," Filner said of political cartoon published Saturday in the Imperial Valley Press.
The cartoon showed a poster of Filner's opponent, Nick Popaditch, wearing a patch on his right eye; two young skateboarders are puzzled about whether he is a spy, a pirate or a sitcom character.
The former Marine gunnery sergeant lost sight in his right eye in the battle for Fallujah in 2004.
Filner and Popaditch are rivals in the 51st Congressional District, which covers Imperial County and much of the border region of San Diego County.
Filner, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, said he hoped the newspaper "would educate the public on how we can support our troops as they return home."
Popaditch said he was not bothered by the cartoon. "I've got much thicker skin than that," he said. "It's not going to hurt me in any way."
But he was concerned that other wounded veterans might feel that the cartoon suggests it's acceptable to poke fun at war wounds.
In a phone call, editor Brad Jennings apologized to Popaditch. He has promised to run an apology in Tuesday's paper.
Jennings said the cartoon was meant to satirize how ill-informed many voters are about the Iraq war.