06/08/2012 02:11 pm ET

Tom Smith, Pennsylvania Senate Candidate, Says 'Hang' Comment Taken Out Of Context

Pennsylvania Democrats are attacking the Republican U.S. Senate nominee over comments he made at a primary campaign forum where he indicated he wanted to "hang" U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D), a remark the Republican said was taken out of context.

Democrats are using a video clip of Republican Tom Smith at a forum during the March primary campaign where he used the word "hang" after talking about Casey's policies. Smith quickly dialed back from the comment at the time.

"We will hang him," Smith said. "I should not say that."

Smith's comment came after a sentence where he questioned whether or not the public had heard from Casey on such issues as Medicare and Social Security reform. Smith's GOP primary opponent, Steven Welch, used the "hang" comment during a commercial in their race. Welch's commercial focused on a series of statements from Smith, where he accused the business executive and former local elected official of being unprepared to run for statewide office.

Smith's spokesman, Jim Conroy, explained that the candidate's comments were taken out of context by Democrats and Welch, noting that he was saying that he planned to "hang Casey's policies around his neck" and was not suggesting the hanging of the senator. Conroy said that Smith plans on showcasing that Casey has a six-year Senate record and should not be reelected solely on his name.

"That's a clear distinction between six years ago and now," he said.

Democrats on the other hand are using the video as what they call an example of Smith's allegiance to the Tea Party.

"Tom Smith is a Tea Party leader who has embraced their extreme policies and extreme rhetoric. Tom Smith founded and led a Tea Party group, and Tom Smith even says he wants to go to Washington to provide support for Tea Party Caucus members," state Democratic Party spokesman Mark Nicastre said in a statement.

"He is in lockstep with Tea Party principles like ending Medicare as we know it, eliminating the Department of Education, and giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. His policies and his rhetoric could not be more out of touch with Pennsylvanians, and this is just another example."