ABC News’ Bret Hovell, Tahman Bradley and Teddy Davis Report: The North Carolina Republican Party is going forward with plans to air a controversial ad featuring the Rev. Jeremiah Wright despite a Thursday claim by a senior McCain adviser that the ad would not air.
"I don’t know where this is coming from but this ad is scheduled to go on the air early next week as we have always said," Brent Woodcox, a spokesman for the North Carolina GOP, told ABC News.
Charlie Black, a top adviser to Arizona Sen. John McCain, maintained Thursday to ABC News and Time Magazine that the North Carolina Republican Party was not going to air its controversial ad.
"The ad has been pulled. I don’t think it ever ran, except on the web," Black told Time.
The ad links Wright to two North Carolina Democrats running for governor who have endorsed Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
Asked about Black’s claim, Woodcox checked with North Carolina Republican Party Chair Linda Daves and said the senior McCain adviser’s claim was unfounded.
Told of the North Carolina Republican Party’s plans to go forward with the ad, Black backed off the claim, saying that he is now hearing conflicting reports.
Earlier Thursday while campaigning in New Orleans, McCain himself addressed the ad.
"I cannot dictate to the [North Carolina Republican] Party what their message is," said McCain. "But I can condemn it. I have no further options. I cannot impose my will on people who are the elected leaders of their own party."
Watch the ad, which is set to begin airing Tuesday, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXxkctYRAZQ.