McCain Ad Angers RNC

Has the Democratic National Committee gone too far? Republicans say yes.

The party organ (ha!) launched its ad wars last week with an ad featuring John McCain erroneously describing our nation as “better off” under the Bush administration. A new ad, which debuted yesterday, revolves around McCain’s infamous “100 years” remark, as in the United States could be in Iraq for another century.

The Republican National Committee, however, described the commercial as misleading and “maliciously false”, have asked networks not to run the advert and are now threatening to sue the DNC:

Sean Cairncross, the RNC’s legal counsel, told reporters [yesterday] that the ad is subject to legal challenge because — in his opinion — stations are not obligated to run spots from “third parties” such as the DNC. And when stations do run such ads, they can be held liable if the information is false or defamatory, he argued. Stations can not be held liable for the content of candidates’ ads, he said.

The Republicans also accuse the DNC of colluding with their potential nominees, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a charge the DNC denies.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean, meanwhile, bit back, saying that he understand he and his staff “struck a nerve,” but maintains that the ad sheds light on McCain’s irresponsible politics:

He is completely out of touch with where the American people are on the war. There is nothing false about this at all… [These are] John McCain’s own words… You are going to see a lot of this kind of stuff.

As for the potential lawsuit, Dean challenged his rivals, “Let them do it. I understand the RNC thinks it’s illegal to criticize John McCain.”

In McCain’s defense – words we never thought we’d write – his original remarks came during a town hall meeting when he was discussing strategy in Iraq. It doesn’t seem to us that he wants the United States to occupy Iraq for another 100 years. The Senator was, quite simply, stating a fact: we may have troops in the country for 100 years and later likened it to our involvement in Korea and Vietnam. This, we think, is a valid statement. It’s not an entirely appealing statement, but valid.