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'Just politics' | Hansen dismisses calls to take down political ad

After fellow Denver mayoral candidates called out the ad for being racially insensitive on Thursday, Chris Hansen doubled down on defending it.

DENVER — Denver Mayoral candidate Chris Hansen dismissed calls to take down or edit his campaign ad depicting people of color committing crimes, calling the criticism from other candidates "just politics." 

Hansen doubled down on his defense in a statement sent out by his campaign manager Friday, which said:

“This is what happens when you challenge the status quo, you get attacked. That’s just politics. I'm focused on the two issues voters all across Denver care about: how do we solve our homelessness crisis and how do we prioritize public safety for every community. I'm going to focus on those issues. At this point, my detailed and public plan for addressing the homelessness crisis has only been attacked by candidates who have not released plans of their own, and I think that’s pretty telling."

Hansen's ad is the only political ad on television right now from anyone running for mayor, and it caused a stir among the other candidates for being racially insensitive. Seven of the eight people in the ad appear to be people of color. 

Hansen is one of three white men running for mayor in a diverse field of 17. During 9NEWS' debate Thursday night, he was called out on stage by fellow candidates, starting with Ean Tafoya.

"Raise your hand here on the stage if you're disgusted by an ad that makes people of color as the only criminals are the people are overrepresented in homelessness. It is a trope that has been broken forever," Tafoya said.

Hansen was asked to explain the choice of showing an ad with seven people of color who appear to be homeless and committing crimes.

"I took actual footage from around town. It is not just people of color that are featured in this ad," he said. "This is the number one issue on voters' minds. How do we improve public safety? How do we address the homelessness crisis? To have some accusation that somehow, it's a racist ad, I think, is totally overwrought."

"You didn't see what we saw because you're not us. But you've got to put those blinders away," Leslie Herod said. "It was offensive, Chris, and as a friend of mine, I'm disappointed."

On Twitter Friday, Tafoya continued to ask Hansen to remove the ad, call out the campaign's inaction, saying, "It's OK to get it wrong. Let's bring it down & move forward."

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