McCain is out with a Christmas ad.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Another Republican presidential candidate is out with a Christmas television ad prominently featuring a cross, but no one will be able accuse this ad of telegraphing anything subliminal.
The ad will run in South Carolina and New Hampshire beginning Friday and will broadcast until "a few days after Christmas," according to a McCain aide. It's McCain's first TV ad in South Carolina.
"One night, after being mistreated as a POW, a guard loosened the ropes binding me, easing my pain," McCain narrates in the 30-second spot. "On Christmas, that same guard approached me, and without saying a word, he drew a cross in the sand."
The ad uses grainy footage to re-enact the moment as a man, off screen, draws a cross in the dirt using a twig.
"We stood wordlessly looking at the cross, remembering the true light of Christmas," the ad continues. "I will never forget that no matter where you are, no matter how difficult the circumstances, there will always be someone who will pick you up."
Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, was accused of subliminally using a "floating cross" in the background of his new Christmas ad as a nod to evangelical Christians. He denied that charge.
While he did not condemn Huckabee's ad, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said Tuesday that he hoped "we don't divide America on the basis of faith."
"I hope Gov. Huckabee, like all of us at this time, is sensitive to that diversity of faith and the liberty of peoples to worship God as they choose," Romney told reporters in South Carolina.
South Carolina's Attorney General Henry McMaster, a chairman of McCain's campaign in the Palmetto State, said at a press conference revealing the new TV spot that "it's perfectly appropriate and good" to use the cross in an ad about Christmas.
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby