ABC NEWS’ Bret Hovell and Russell Goldman report: Sen. John McCain said Thursday that if elected president — and becomes the de facto head of the GOP — he would not demand a change in the leadership of the North Carolina Republican Party despite condemning its plan to air an ad attacking Sen. Barack Obama, D- Ill, and his controversial minister.
At a press conference in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward the Arizona senator and presumptive Republican nominee said, “I cannot enforce my will [but] I can make it clear to them that I will have no part of it.”
As reported by ABC NEWS’ Jake Tapper Wednesday, McCain condemned the state party’s plan to roll out an ad which equates Democratic gubernatorial candidates Richard Moore and Beverly Purdue with controversial comments made by Obama’s longtime minister Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Moore and Purdue are vyng with each other to be the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in North Carolina and both have endorsed Obama.
The GOP ad features a clip of Wright making a 2001 speech in which he says “God bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America.”
"For 20 years, Barack Obama sat in his pew listening to his pastor," the narrator says, then mentioning Moore and Purdue.
"They should know better," the narrator says. "He’s just too extreme for North Carolina."
In New Orleans, where McCain is visiting in part to court African American voters, McCain reiterated his displeasure with the ad.
“There’s no place in the Republican Party for the kind of ad that was put up by the North Carolina Republican Party. We communicated with them in the strongest possible terms,” he said.
One day after McCain first called for the party to withdraw the ad, a spokesperson for the state North Carolina GOP said the television spot would run next week.
“The ad will still run,” Brent Woodcox, spokesman for the N.C. Republican Party, told ABC News. “It’s going to be rolled out beginning next week.”