(CNN) - John McCain’s campaign accused Barack Obama’s Monday of encouraging a “Swift Boat-style” attack ad, produced by an independent group, that debuted this week on national cable.
McCain-Palin spokesman Michael Goldfarb pointed to news reports as evidence the spot from Brave New PAC and Democracy for America had been launched “apparently at the behest of the Obama campaign.”
In the 30-second ad, McCain’s fellow prisoner of war Philip Butler describes the Republican nominee as “unfit to lead” – making the spot one of the first to mention McCain’s POW stint in a negative context.
"The prisoner of war experience is not a good prerequisite for president of the United States," says Butler. "He was known as a very volatile guy and he would blow up and go like a Roman candle. John McCain is not someone I would like to see with his finger near the red button."
The ad’s release comes amid reports that the conservative American Issues Project is planning a multi-million dollar negative ad buy aimed at the Democratic nominee.
None of these groups are allowed to communicate or coordinate with the campaigns in any way because of federal campaign finance regulations.
“It's unfortunate that Senator Obama has fallen so far, from opposing outside expenditures and supporting public financing at the beginning of this race to opting out of public financing and now ‘looking the other way’ on independent expenditures - no matter how vile,” said Goldfarb, in a statement on the campaign’s Web site titled “Obama Unleashes 527.”
Goldfarb criticized the media for reporting Obama campaign attacks on McCain’s honor, amid a concerted Democratic effort to paint McCain as ‘dishonorable.’ He also charged that Obama had also questioned McCain’s patriotism, although he did not provide an example.
In the news stories cited by the McCain team, unnamed sources within and close to the Obama campaign - which had publicly called for liberal groups not to run negative ads on his behalf – said they would no longer be raising those objections. The reports also noted a recent public silence from the Obama campaign on the issue. The Illinois senator’s campaign has publicly denied a shift in their position. John McCain’s campaign has not made a similar request of conservative organizations.