ABC News’s Bret Hovell reports: Sen. John McCain maintained Sunday that he does not approve of the political advertisement being run by the North Carolina Republican party that links his potential presidential rival Sen. Barack Obama with comments made by the Illinois Democrat’s pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, but at the same time brought up new comments by Wright that he says he found disturbing.
Speaking with reporters in Coral Gables, Fla., McCain, R-Ariz., said he has done all he will do to convince the North Carolina GOP to take the ad down, noting that though he himself did not call and request its removal, members of his staff did call and ask that the ad be taken down.
"I will continue to say that I think that ad should not be run," McCain said. "But I won’t continue to try to be the referee here."
McCain has said in the past that Wright’s comments should not be an issue in the campaign, because he does not think Obama subscribes to the views.
"My position that Sen. Obama doesn’t share those views remains the same," McCain said Sunday.
But McCain noted that Obama said on Sunday on Fox News that Wright was an issue, seemingly opening a door for McCain to connect the Democrat to his former pastor.
"I saw yesterday some additional comments that have been revealed by Pastor Wright, one of them comparing the United States Marine Corps with Roman Legionnaires who were responsible for the death of our Savior, I mean being involved in that. It’s beyond belief…" McCain said.
"I can understand why Americans, when viewing these kinds of comments, are angry and upset," McCain said.
Obama campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan said McCain had broken his word to the American people about running a respectful campaign.
"With each passing day, John McCain acts more and more like someone who’s spent twenty-six years learning the divisive, distracting tactics of Washington," Sevugan said in a written statement. "That’s not the change that the American people are looking for."