Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) released a tough TV ad Wednesday responding to a series of national security attacks from GOP rival Thom Tillis, one of the first — and most direct — on-air Democratic responses to a string of GOP attack ads referencing the Islamic State.

"Speaker Tillis should be ashamed for running an ad that says I would let our soldiers die in vain. That is outrageous," she says speaking directly to the camera. "North Carolina's military family is my family. My husband served and I have two nephews on active duty."

The Tillis campaign released two ads last week that tie Hagan to President Obama's "weak" strategy on the Islamic State and fault her for failing to do more in the Senate to respond to the threat. One of the clips spotlights retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Nancy Anderson, whose son is a Marine, in a direct-to-camera shot.

“Going to war is hard, but not as hard as sending your kids off to war,” she says. “It makes me so mad to see how the president's weakness has allowed the Islamic State to grow. And Senator Hagan, she just goes along with him...

"We can’t let our kids die in vain. We have to change our senator,” says Anderson.

Tillis had released another ad earlier the same week hitting Hagan for missing Senate Armed Services Committee meetings. "While ISIS grew, Obama kept waiting, and Kay Hagan kept quiet. The price for their failure is danger,” said the narrator.

Fear surrounding the growth of the terrorist group has proven to be a tempting political weapon for the GOP in the midterm home stretch. Several Republican congressional candidates — including Scott Brown in New Hampshire and Allen Weh in New Mexico — have released ads tying incumbent Democratic lawmakers to the Obama administration's foreign policy.

Hagan's new spot is an unusually direct response -- Democratic candidates and lawmakers in other races have largely addressed the ads indirectly or through press statements. The ad comes after a Senate debate in North Carolina Tuesday night between the two candidates in which national security took center stage.

"On destroying ISIS, I've been clear and decisive, supporting airstrikes and aggressive tactics to eradicate them," Hagan says in the ad.

Hagan's latest spot is running statewide as part of a $4.8 million fall ad buy, according to the campaign.