April 23, 2008 / 3:54 PM / 12 years ago

McCain demands withdrawal of anti-Obama ad

INEZ, Kentucky (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Wednesday demanded the North Carolina Republican Party withdraw an advertisement critical of Democrat Barack Obama over his controversial pastor.

Republican Presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) talks with George Stephanopoulos on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" at the Newseum in Washington April 20, 2008 . REUTERS/Lauren Victoria Burke-ABC NEWS/Handout

“We asked them not to run it,” McCain told reporters on his campaign bus as he rode to an anti-poverty event in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky.

“I’m sending them an e-mail as we speak asking them to take it down. I don’t know why they do it. Obviously, I don’t control them. But I’m making it very clear that there’s no place for that” in his campaign.

Obama has come under fire for attending a Chicago church for two decades where the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was pastor. Wright espoused inflammatory views including saying the U.S. government spread the AIDS virus to African Americans. He has since retired.

The 30-second ad in question attacks Democratic North Carolina gubernatorial candidates Beverly Perdue and Richard Moore for their endorsements of Obama, referencing the Illinois senator’s “judgment” in supporting Wright and calling him “too extreme for North Carolina.”

North Carolina is one of two states holding the next crucial Democratic primaries on May 6 in the tight race between Obama and Hillary Clinton to oppose McCain in the November presidential election.

Traveling with McCain, Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan said he had tried to call the chair of the North Carolina party to ask the ad be withdrawn.

McCain said he wanted to run a respectful campaign.

“Americans want better,” he said. “I understand that it moves (opinion) numbers, negative ads and all that, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.”

(Reporting by Steve Holland, editing by David Wiessler)

To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at blogs.reuters.com/trail08/

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