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DNC to John McCain: North Carolina ad tests leadership

April 24, 2008 |  9:25 am

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is calling out John McCain on the controversial North Carolina GOP ad which, in one fell swoop, uses Barack Obama's controversial ex-minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to try to sully two Democratic candidates in the state.Presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain objects to a North Carolina ad that features Barack Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Dean is framing McCain's suggestion that the North Carolina Republicans do not air the ad as a test of his leadership, basically saying that if he can't get party minions to take his advice, how can he run the country?

So far, the state officials have declined to change course.

Here's the DNC release:

"According to reports, the chair of the state Republican Party in North Carolina is planning to move forward with its plans to air its racially divisive campaign ad despite John McCain's emailed complaints. While the McCain campaign made a show of protesting the ad, McCain made no mention of the fact that key officials in the North Carolina GOP are members of McCain's state steering committee and McCain donors.

"Nor did he mention the fact that the state chair who is bucking his leadership is a member of the arrangements committee of the Republican National Convention. Given his ties to state Republican leaders, if McCain is serious about making sure this ad never airs, he should have no trouble making it happen. If not, McCain should return their contributions, remove them from his campaign committees, and strip the state chair from her role on the GOP's convention committee.

"Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean today issued the following statement calling on McCain to exercise real leadership and pull the plug on this ad:

'This is a test of leadership for John McCain. If he can't pick up the phone and make members of his own party stop airing a television ad he claims to oppose, how can he lead our country through an economic crisis or the war in Iraq? After shifting his positions on gun control, immigration and tax cuts throughout this campaign, McCain should not equivocate on this issue. Making a show of releasing your emails to the press is not leadership. If he is serious, he will get this ad pulled.' "

-- Frank James

Frank James writes for the Swamp of the Chicago Tribune's Washington bureau.

Photo credit: Associated Press

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