The Republican National Committee is accusing the Democratic National Committee of creating a misleading advertisement that doubles as an illegal campaign contribution to the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
RNC Chairman Robert “Mike” Duncan said a newly-produced DNC ad alleging Republican presidential candidate John McCain supports “100 years of war” is “maliciously false and misleading” in a conference call with reporters Monday.
He is calling on television networks not to air it.
On Friday, the DNC emailed a fundraising solicitation to supporters asking them to contribute money to air the new spot on television. A link provided in the email went to a DNC website with an embedded video. Click here to watch.
The video says McCain “wants to be in Iraq 100 years” and contains combat images and a photo of McCain and President Bush.
The Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review and Annenberg Public Policy Center have previously issued articles explaining how Democrats have been taking a statement McCain made on the campaign trial out of context for political advantage in the same way the DNC has done with their latest video.
RNC Chief Legal Counsel Sean Cairncross said, “The DNC is deliberately putting out a falsehood.”
DNC Chairman Howard Dean said he was not distorting McCain’s words in an appearance on MSBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “What Senator McCain is saying doesn’t make any sense, we cannot be in Iraq for a hundred years,” Dean said.
RNC officials cannot prohibit the DNC from creating misleading ads, but believes television networks should “protect” the public by not airing the spot. If the networks choose to air the ad Cairncross said, “We will have to assess that when we get there, if and when we get there.”
According to Cairncross, the spot also constitutes an “excessive contribution” to the Democratic presidential campaigns. The RNC says the ad is an “in-kind” contribution to Clinton and Obama and it exceeds a $5,000 contribution limit.
“It is uncredible for the DNC to argue this is an independent expenditure,” Cairncross said. “The DNC is paying for a national ad buy attacking John McCain. The content of that makes it a contribution to those campaigns.”
The Republican Party of Virginia filed an official complaint with the Federal Elections Commission to contest the ad as an excessive contribution Monday.
On Meet the Press Dean said the complaint “is a joke.”
“There’s no evidence for that whatsoever, and it’s plain untrue,” Dean said. “Neither one of the campaigns ever saw this ad or knew anything about it before we put it on.”