Huffpost Politics

New Ad Questions Clay Aiken's 'Invisible' Presence On Presidential Committee

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One of Clay Aiken's Democratic primary opponents is attacking the former "American Idol" runner-up for missing meetings during his tenure on the Presidential Commission for People With Intellectual Disabilities.

Former North Carolina Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco (D), who is running against Aiken in the state's 2nd congressional district, released a TV ad Tuesday claiming that Aiken was a chronic no-show for the commission's meetings.

“Clay Aiken says helping children with special needs is one of his top priorities, but when the president appointed Clay Aiken to the Presidential Commission for People With Intellectual Disabilities, no-show Clay Aiken skipped every single meeting,” a narrator says in the ad, which was first reported by Roll Call.

President George W. Bush first appointed Aiken to the commission in 2006. In his own ad released Tuesday, Aiken highlights his work on behalf of children with special needs.

Aiken has faced criticism about his attendance in the past. In 2008, he defended himself, saying he was busy touring and performing on Broadway.

Crisco and Aiken are vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) in the Republican-leaning district.

In a Tuesday email to supporters, Aiken asked for donations to “help us defend the campaign from these attacks" and blamed his record with the commission on his burgeoning career at the time.

“While it’s true that I couldn’t attend many of the committee meetings, I had just finished American Idol,” Aiken's email reads. “So I made it clear to the committee during the first meeting I attended that I was touring and working on my album at the time and that I couldn’t be physically present for most meetings.”

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