ABC News’ Rick Klein Reports: A Republican political action committee on Monday is launching a new TV ad campaign in three battleground states featuring Sen. Barack Obama alongside the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, in the latest salvo from a GOP-aligned group to use clips of Obama’s controversial former pastor.
The ad, from the National Republican Trust PAC, features now-famous video of Wright declaring “God damn America,” and the “US of KKKA.”
“For 20 years Barack Obama followed a preacher of hate and said nothing as Wright raged against our country,” the ad says. “He built his power base in Wright’s church. Wright was his mentor, adviser and close friend. For 20 years Obama never complained — until he ran for president. Barack Obama. Too radical. Too risky.”
An adviser to the PAC said the ad will start airing Monday night in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida — the three most-populous battleground states. The National Republican Trust is putting $2.5 million behind the ad, after soliciting donations online and through conservative groups, the adviser said.
Sen. John McCain himself has declared Wright’s inflammatory statements to be off-limits for his campaign. While he has repeatedly raised questions about Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground, he has refused to bring up Wright.
In April, when the North Carolina Republican Party announced an ad campaign using clips of Wright’s sermons, McCain condemned the ad and asked that it be taken down.
But McCain has no control over state parties or outside groups. Other organizations to have used Wright in anti-Obama ads include the Our Country Deserves Better PAC; the Freedom’s Defense Fund; and the Judicial Confirmation Network
A previous ad from the National Republican Trust blasts Obama for backing drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants, using images of 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and the ruins of the Twin Towers.
National Public Radio reported that the PAC was formed in September “by a former Defense Department strategist, a freelance journalist and a lawyer who have tried to prove a link between Saddam Hussein and the Sept. 11 attacks.”
ABC News’ Tahman Bradley contributed to this report.