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Thursday, October 26, 2006

RNC pulls Ford attack ad

(From the NY Times blog)

Ken Mehlman, still asserting that he does not see racial overtones or racism in a national Republican ad against Representative Harold Ford Jr. in the Tennessee Senate race, announced late this afternoon on CNN’s SitRoom that the ad had been taken off the airwaves.

Mr. Ford’s campaign and many other people have been outraged, saying the ad attempts to pander to prejudice.

Mr. Ford’s opponent, Bob Corker, the Republican former mayor of Chattanooga, asked that the commercial be dropped late last week. But Mr. Mehlman insisted, even today, that because of campaign finance laws forbidding the coordination between national parties and independent expenditures, he had no authority to get it off the airwaves.

Asked again Wednesday afternoon, here’s what he said, courtesy of a CNN transcript:

Mr. Mehlman: As you remember I made some news last year when I spoke at the NAACP and as chairman of the Republican Party said it was wrong for Republicans did that in the past. I was condemned by some within my own party. I stand behind that statement. I would never countenance an ad that does that. I think what our party is doing is working to focus on the issues. The ad is down now. And the focus I think is going to be on taxes, it’s going to be on defense, it is going to be on judges and issues like that in the Senate race.

Wolf Blitzer: Looking at it now, knowing everything you know, was it a racist ad?

Mr. Mehlman: Again, I stand behind what I said before, which is as someone who is extraordinarily sensitive to it, I don’t believe that it was. At the same time there are good people on both sides who believe otherwise. I respect where they’re coming from. I hope they do the same with where I’m coming from.

He didn’t explain how he managed to get the ad pulled, or whether he circumvented all those technical issues in campaign finance laws that he cited repeatedly on Tuesday as obstacles to his getting involved in dealing with this commercial.

The video is available HERE (In case you've been living under a rock), and
the full story is HERE.

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