Baumgartner, a Washington state senator running against Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, apparently sent the vulgar invitation via e-mail to Publicola Editor Josh Feit after expressing his frustration that abortion was getting too much attention this election cycle and that the focus should be on the war in Afghanistan.
"Let me just say, Josh had it coming in this e-mail, and I don't apologize," Baumgartner told KIRO-TV, Seattle, Tuesday. "Look, it's a naughty word. It doesn't amount to a whole lot."
The e-mail, which Feit displayed on his blog, showed a photo of Baumgartner holding a gun with the words, "Josh, this is Pat Feeks, a Navy SEAL killed last week in Afghanistan. Take a good look and then go [expletive] yourself."
"It was a personal discussion. I'm not going to go into details about what was said, but the guy had it coming," Baumgartner said.
"The issue here is not whether a bad word was said or not. Maybe it angers people, maybe it doesn't. Trust me, the guy had it coming. The issue here is the ongoing war in Afghanistan and the complete lack of leadership of bringing that war to a close.'
Baumgartner's campaign said in a release that Publicola and may other news media "do not want to talk about why these men and women continue to be killed."
"They don't want to discuss Maria Cantwell's record supporting the war in Afghanistan or a smarter foreign policy that can save thousands of lives in the future," the campaign statement said.