April 25, 2008 / 1:53 AM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Confusion over anti-Obama ad in North Carolina

(Updates throughout)

NEW ORLEANS, April 24 (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s campaign and North Carolina Republicans clashed on Thursday over an advertisement critical of Democrat Barack Obama’s links to a controversial preacher.

After the McCain campaign said it had been assured the ad would be withdrawn, the North Carolina Republican Party served notice that it still planned to air the advertisement.

Time magazine’s The Page website quoted North Carolina Republican Party Communications Director Brent Woodcox as saying the commercial is still scheduled to air early next week.

McCain senior adviser Charlie Black said he had been informed by the Republican National Committee’s representative in North Carolina that the state party had agreed to withdraw the ad.

McCain, the Republicans’ presumptive presidential nominee, appealed to the state party to withdraw the ad, saying he wanted to run a respectful campaign.

Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan said “The fact that Senator McCain can’t get his own party to take down this misleading, personal attack ad raises serious questions about his about his promise to the American people that he will run a civil, respectful campaign.”

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

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

The Raleigh News & Observer reported the Raleigh television station WRAL had said it would not run the ad.

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. (Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Bill Trott) (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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