Updated: 6:26 p.m. Thursday, April 24, 2008 | Posted: 5:07 p.m. Thursday, April 24, 2008
North Carolina GOP Leadership Divided Over Ad; WSOC-TV Will Not Air Ad
RALEIGH, N.C. —
North Carolina Republican leaders said they are standing by a television ad criticizing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama despite objections in their own ranks and the refusal of a television station to air it.
Republican National Committee member Linda Shaw said Thursday she was shocked her colleagues decided to produce and air the ad, which shows a picture of Obama with his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and a clip of the firebrand's comments about America.
"I do not support it," Shaw said. "I had nothing to do with it. I wish she had not done it. And I'm very disappointed."
Shaw, a longtime party leader, said she repeatedly urged state party Chairwoman Linda Daves to withdraw the spot. Likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain also asked party officials to not run the ad -- a stance he reiterated Thursday.
"I cannot dictate to the North Carolina Republican Party what their message is, but I condemn it and I can appeal to the overwhelming majority of Republicans in the state of North Carolina," McCain said during a stop in New Orleans.
State GOP spokesman Brent Woodcox said officials still plan to air the ad during evening newscasts Monday. He said the party had not finalized the details on the size of the ad buy.
WRAL-TV in Raleigh posted a message on its Web site that said the station decided not to run the ad but didn't provide details. A station spokesman did not immediately return a message Thursday. WSOC-TV also will not air the ad. Station management said, "Because of its implications of racism, we believe it is inappropriate to air."
Despite the ad's overwhelming focus on Obama, Woodcox has said the spot is targeted at Democratic gubernatorial candidates Richard Moore and Bev Perdue, who have both endorsed the Illinois senator. The ad was posted online Wednesday.
Democratic party officials have decried the ad. On Thursday, state Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Meek urged Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole to use her power to keep the ad off the air.
"As the highest-ranking Republican in the state, you have both the ability and responsibility to erase this stain on our state," Meek wrote in a letter to Dole. "Your silence tells North Carolinians that you will also sanction similar gutter tactics in your own campaign."
Dole said in an interview she didn't want to get involved.
"I am concentrating on getting my work done here in the Senate, and I'm just not going to get into refereeing a third party political ad that has nothing to do with my race," she said.