(CNN) - Embattled community organizing group ACORN is taking the offensive with a new ad targeting Sen. John McCain and the Republican Party, accusing the GOP presidential nominee and his party of attempting to intimidate voters.
The new ad, entitled “Not This Time,” is shot in black-and-white and features an African-American man who ages before viewers’ eyes. “It happened to him in 1960, 1965, and again in 2000. He was intimidated so he wouldn’t vote,” an announcer says as a traditional Southern hymn plays. “Tell John McCain: not this time,” the announcer says as the ad ends, and the phone number of McCain’s Capitol Hill Senate office appears on screen.
“Senator McCain needs to instruct his operatives and supporters to cease and desist. Nothing is more important to the fabric of our democracy than protecting the rights of American voters,” said Steve Kest, ACORN’s executive director, at a Wednesday press conference where the ad was released.
In a statement issued Wednesday about lawsuits recently filed in New Mexico, Sean Cairncross, the Republican National Committee’s Chief Counsel, said the only voter suppression has been that directed at false voter registrations.
The McCain campaign also swiftly responded to the allegations of suppression in the new ad. “I am not sure how any allegation relating to what might have happened 48 years ago has any relevance to the McCain campaign,” former GOP senator John Danforth, the co-chair of the McCain campaign’s Honest and Open Election Committee, said on a conference call with reporters. “Our response is that any kind of intimidation or suppression is illegal, it’s reprehensible, it is condemned by the McCain campaign, it has been condemned specifically by Sen. McCain himself.”
ACORN says the new ad will air 48 times on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Channel in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. The group said it is hoping to raise enough money to continue to air the ad through Election Day.