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Local Politics

McCain slams N.C. GOP for anti-Obama ad

Posted April 23, 2008
Updated April 29, 2008

— John McCain, the Republican party's presumptive presidential candidate, has asked the party's North Carolina organization to pull a new ad that criticizes Democratic candidate Barack Obama – as well as the two leading Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

The ad, which the state GOP unveiled Wednesday morning, revives the link between Obama and his former minister in Chicago, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who has been criticized for comments from the pulpit against the Iraq War and President George W. Bush.

Obama later condemned the comments as divisive, but said Wright's statements highlighted the racial divide in the country that needed to be bridged. He also said Wright was being treated unfairly because a few comments taken from a career as a minister were being highlighted.

The ad shows Wright preaching and questions why Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and State Treasurer Richard Moore have endorsed Obama for president. The ad calls him "too extreme for North Carolina."

"The Democratic candidates ... show poor judgment and a lack of leadership by endorsing Barack Obama, a man too liberal for North Carolina, out of touch with North Carolinians' values and linked to extremist figures throughout his political career," state GOP Chairwoman Linda Daves said in a statement.

McCain sent a letter to Daves, asking her not to run the ad, which he called "offensive."

"I have been committed to running a respectful campaign based upon an honest debate about the great issues confronting America today. I expect all state parties to do so as well. The television advertisement you are planning to air degrades our civics and distracts us from the very real differences we have with the Democrats," McCain wrote.

"We need to run a campaign that is worthy of the people we seek to serve. There is no doubt that we will draw sharp contrasts with the Democrats on fundamental issues critical to the future course of our country. But we need not engage in political tactics that only seek to divide the American people," he wrote.

“He (McCain) would prefer that we not run the ad. ‘And how did you respond?’ Well, I didn't,” Daves said.

Obama said he would like to see McCain go a step further.

“I assume that if John McCain thinks it's an inappropriate ad that he can get them to pull it down since he's their nominee and standard bearer,” Obama said.

Daves argued the ad is about statewide issues, not presidential politics.

“Some people want to make this about Obama, but it is about these two candidates (Perdue and Moore) who are accountable to the voters of North Carolina,” she added.

But others disagree with Daves' position.

“I thought the ad was to hurt Obama primarily,” republican strategist Carter Wrenn said.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Orr also called on the state party to pull the ad, and the North Carolina Democratic Party questioned the reasoning behind the ad.

"To criticize somebody for associating with somebody, who associates with somebody else is ludicrous. Where does it end?" said Jerry Meek, chairman of the state Democrats.

Despite the complaints, state GOP officials said they plan to run the ad.

The Moore and Perdue campaigns told WRAL the ad is nothing more than a distraction and a way to raise money for the state Republican party.

A WRAL spokesperson said the television station has decided not to air the ad.

Meanwhile, a key adviser to former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards threw his support behind Obama on Wednesday.

Ed Turlington, a Raleigh lawyer and Edwards' former campaign manager, was among 49 Edwards supporters to endorse Obama.

"Barack Obama and John Edwards share a commitment to taking on special interests and standing up for regular Americans. Along with Edwards supporters from across the state, I am honored to join Sen. Obama's movement for change,” Turlington said in a statement. “As president, he will bring together Democrats, Republicans and independents behind an agenda of change."

Other Edwards supporters endorsing Obama include former state House Majority Leader Phil Baddour, state Secretary of Cultural Resources Lisbeth Evans, former state Supreme Court justices Henry Frye and Willis Whichard, former Charlotte mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Harvey Gantt and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill board chairman Roger Perry.

358 Comments

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  • Clover Apr 25, 6:44 p.m.

    BeHereNow - Why are you bringing up Christianity when referring to the NC GOP, a political organization?

    Reverend Wright is the one who claims to be a Christian while damning those he disagrees with -- from the pulpit -- including our entire nation after 9-11.

    From the pulpit, he also disparaged the Clintons (using very nasty language) in support of Obama's candidacy. I thought ministers, as representatives of tax exempt organizations, weren’t supposed to do that.

    Then there’s his claim that the US created the HIV virus as genocide against people of color. And, let’s not forget Reverend Wright’s special name for our country: “the U.S. of KKK A”

    So, who claims to be the Christian here while foul language and hate drip from his lips?

  • bullet656 Apr 25, 5:55 p.m.

    armynavyseabee-where do you get the idea of "20 years of racist commentary"? You've seen a few clips. And how can youcompare a church that had a preacher who said a few questionable things to an organization that was founded to bring white supremacy back and who's members went about terrorizing and killing black people.

  • WRALcensorsforIslam Apr 25, 4:31 p.m.

    "As for the NC GOP and people who want to think like that, you are rapidly becoming an anachronsim."

    Truth is an anachronism? I suppose if it gets in the way of one's chosen political narrative it is. However, one has a right to ask why Moore and Perdue have endorsed this individual. I would posit that if Obama and Jeremiah Wright were white and the issue was 20 years of racist commentary against blacks Obama's supporters would not be so cavalier or dismissive of the hate. That's the problem with principles, when inconsistent they're worthless.

    I wish I could say I was surprised at how comfortable the far left is with racism, as long as it is black racism directed against whites. It makes a joke out of a lot of what comes from the far left on the topics of race, diversity, tolerance, and "bringing people together". When all is said and done, Obama will have done more to poison the well of race relations since OJ Simpson and Mark Furhman.

  • WRALcensorsforIslam Apr 25, 4:25 p.m.

    "Why do some many attacks of opinions start with stuff like "welcome to free speech" and the like?"

    Because a lot of intolerant people start screaming at opinions or facts they find offensive and rather than deal with the opinions or facts try to shut down the one articulating the opinion or pointing at the facts. It's all too common. You started down that road by insinuating those who disagree with you don't know what they're talking about, as if disagreeing with you is proof of anything other than simply disagreeing with you. You continued with a directive to not post on the topic. Your comments are the tactics of one who wants only agreement or silence, not tolerance for diverse views.

  • WRALcensorsforIslam Apr 25, 4:16 p.m.

    bullet:

    "I just think that if you want to tear people down by association, "

    My guess is you would have a lot less tolerance for a white politician who attended Klan rallies for 20 years and failed to speak out against the organization or the leaders therein until he/she decided to run for president.

    The people defending Obama have no moral ground to stand on when criticizing anyone else for engaging in Obama-like behaviors. You should be very careful if you actually would have the public accept your point; that the groups and individuals one chooses to associate with say nothing about the individual. Wow. I am stunned at how casually an Obama dismisses the whole idea of a candidate associating or even befriending openly racist people. I have to believe that that benefit of the doubt would never have been extended if Obama were white. Never. Ever. Not for a minute.

  • WRALcensorsforIslam Apr 25, 3:59 p.m.

    bullet: "Why do some many attacks of opinions start with stuff like "welcome to free speech" and the like? You obviously have a problem with others stating their opinion. I never told you that you shouldn't voice that opinion. I'm glad you do"

    Actually bullet, shortly before you posted the preceding comment you posted this one:

    "armynavyseabee-I'll state again. don't make this statements unless you know what you are talking about.
    bullet656
    April 25, 2008 11:43 a.m"

    Feel free to contradict yourself again.

  • BeHereNow Apr 25, 12:43 p.m.

    You know how good Christians say, "Hate the sin, love the sinner?"

    Apparently the NC GOP and those who want to play guilt-by-association with Wright and Obama are not Christians. They sure don't act like it.

    Kudos to McCain for calling a spade a spade. Kudos to WRAL for the same.

    As for the NC GOP and people who want to think like that, you are rapidly becoming an anachronsim. It's 2008. Time to get with the program.

  • doodad Apr 25, 12:29 p.m.

    I meant "exceptions"

  • bullet656 Apr 25, 12:28 p.m.

    Didn't William Buckley say GWB was not a true conservative? Didn't William Buckley criticize the war in fact say that is was a failure? Didn't William Buckley say that the neo-conservatives are wrong in their ideas?

  • bullet656 Apr 25, 12:16 p.m.

    I think Wright is probably racist. It doesn't excuse it, but he, along with many others of his generation, has every right to be mad about the way blacks were treated in the not so distant past. I'm sure its hard to get over stuff like that. I'm not going to defend him any more than that, what I'm trying to defend is Obama's association with him. How could anyone begin to call Obama a racist purely b/c someone he associated with might be? Can you honestly say you don't have or have had any close friends who are racist? I do. My best friend is pretty racist. Otherwise he a pretty intelligent person who I like to discuss other stuff with. If I was in office I would not ask for his advice on policies where his racism might affect his judgement. I think Obama is smart enough to do the same.

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