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Conservatives rolling out attack ads aimed at Obama, supporters
Nick Juliano
Published: Wednesday April 23, 2008

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Willie Horton ad creator takes credit for Clinton win in PA, unveils new attack aimed at Obama, Clinton

Two vicious attack ads aimed at Sen. Barack Obama and his supporters have emerged in as many days, previewing what could become the most brutal onslaught from the GOP and its allies in modern history. A third spot that appeared Tuesday attacked Obama and his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

The North Carolina Republican Party unveiled an ad Tuesday that invokes the most incendiary comments from Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to attack two Democratic candidates for governor who have endorsed Obama for president. North Carolina holds its primary in two weeks.

Also on Tuesday, Floyd Brown, the conservative ad-man who created the infamous Willie Horton ads in 1988, unveiled an ad accusing Obama and Clinton of wanting to raise taxes and it targeted Obama for supporting drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants

That spot came a day after Brown unveiled his first attack ad, which seemed to try to blame Obama for several gang-related murders in Chicago after he had voted against a proposal to impose the death penalty for gang related crimes. The ad quoted an editoral describing the murders as "urban terrorism" before displaying a picture of Ground Zero and questioning Obama's toughness in the war on terror. The narrator says the editorial demanded action on gang violence, but it was written more than three months after the bill it references, which was vetoed by the Illinois governor.

Obama's campaign released this fact check discounting the ad's contentions.

A press release announcing Brown's newest ad credited his first effort with delivering Pennsylvania to Clinton in Tuesday's primary, saying 7 million copies were distributed to political activists. As of noon Wednesday, the ad had been viewed just 25,000 times on YouTube.

Time magazine called the links the ad tries to portray "indirect and tenuous," and the Obama camp panned it as "garbage" that represents "everything the American people hate about politics."

Brown also said he would run his ads in North Carolina.

The state GOP's ad was the first televised effort to bring up Rev. Wright's comments, although right-wing ad makers have been salivating at the opportunity to exploit his statements since they first emerged last month.

The Republican National Committee and Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, both quickly denounced the North Carolina party's efforts.

On a landing strip near Inez, Ky., RNC Chairman Mike Duncan said he put in a call this morning to the chairwoman of the North Carolina Republican Party. "I left a voicemail encouraging her not to run the ad," he said. Katie Wright, an RNC spokeswoman, elaborated, saying the national party first learned of the ad last night, and raised objections at a staff level. "We didn't see it as helpful or appropriate. But they are an independent organization," she said of the North Carolina state party.

A few minutes later, McCain weighed in himself. "We asked them not to run it. I am sending them an email as we speak asking them to take it down," McCain said. "There is no place for that kind of campaigning."

ABC reports the North Carolina party has "no real money behind the ad right now," but a YouTube version asks for donations and the party will decide soon how widely to run the ad.

The North Carolina Republican Party issued this attack spot Wednesday morning:

This ad debuted Tuesday from Floyd Brown, creator of the infamous "Willie Horton ad":

Brown followed up with this spot Wednesday: