November 10th, 2007
02:17 PM ET
15 years ago

Thompson and McCain hit S.C. airwaves, in different ways

Thompson and Romney will both officially be running TV ads in South Carolina. McCain wants an ad with his image pulled.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Starting Monday, former Sen. Fred Thompson will become the second Republican presidential candidate to officially run television ads in South Carolina, his campaign said Friday.

Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain's name and image showed up in another television ad running in South Carolina unrelated to his presidential campaign, and McCain has called for the ad to be removed.

Both advertisements, official or not, follow several TV spots from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has been running ads across the state since Labor Day. Lacking the same kind of name recognition as his more well-known Republican rivals, Romney has devoted significant resources toward developing a reputation in the Palmetto State.

On Tuesday, Thompson accused Romney of trying to "buy South Carolina" with his large personal fortune.

The Thompson campaign did not provide details about size of their ad buy, but confirmed that the 60-second ad "Consistent Conservative" will begin running on Monday "throughout South Carolina."

That ad started running in Iowa this week.

The spot notes Thompson's southern roots in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee and echoes themes from the his campaign stump speech: small government, conservative judges and "a 100 percent pro-life voting record."

Unofficially, it was McCain who became the second Republican candidate to show up on South Carolina television this week, according to the Associated Press.

An independent 501 (c)4 non-profit organization called "The Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America," which is focused at promoting a strong national security posture and combating pork-barrel spending, ran an ad here on Friday that featured McCain's name and image, declaring that the Arizona senator is a leader in the country's efforts against terrorism.

One of the creators of the ad, Rick Reed, was a co-producer of the 2004 "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" ads, which McCain condemned at the time. As a crusader for campaign finance reform, McCain has also been a harsh critic of political advertising from independent groups that are not required to disclose their donors.

McCain issued a statement Friday night saying the ad should be taken off the air.

“I have always fought for full disclosure of all money spent in federal elections and I have opposed the expenditure of soft money by independent groups trying to influence federal elections," McCain said. "This remains my position and I condemn such spending in this election."

"To me, the question is not if it is legal but if it is really the best way to conduct a campaign. If anyone considering an outside expenditure thinks they are benefiting me I would prefer they not air the ads. If there are ads up I believe they should come down."

CNN was unable to reach Reed by phone on Saturday morning. According to The New York Times, Reed released a statement late Friday saying the group will not pull the ad.

“We have the greatest respect for Senator McCain,” Reed said in the statement. “He’s a man of deeply held principles and convictions. And, clearly, he has been consistent on what he sees as a need for campaign finance reform. It is our view, however, that the issue of campaign finance reform pales in comparison to the need to identify leaders who not only understand the threat of Islamic radicalism, but have the experience, judgment, and resolve to support policies that will defeat it.

“Moreover, he is a leader who won’t put his own political interests ahead of America’s by supporting earmarks and special interest spending which, if not curtailed significantly, will surely put America’s prosperity at great risk. These are the paramount issues of our time.”

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Fred Thompson • John McCain • Mitt Romney • South Carolina
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Karen,ny

    Does this character ever stop. Most politions want their ads on, but of course John wants his pulled. If he ever got into the white house we would be in trouble, but I would much rather have him than the other Republicans because he lifts my spirits.

    November 10, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. Anne in Waco,Texas

    Looks more like Curly,Moe, and Shemp and just about as smart.Well at least there in the right state.Their T.V Adds should be no more difficult than a reading of "The Pet Goat".

    November 10, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |

    I actually have nothing to say about this.

    November 10, 2007 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  4. Mike, Alexandria VA

    McCain is right. It is important that we need to have campaign finance reform or these privately backed organizations have unfeathered access to our elected officials.

    If we really want change in DC then McCain is our only option.

    November 11, 2007 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  5. Zach

    The media is keeping the Clinton plant story alive. It is decidedly the most insignificant issue you can focus on. The fact that Obama and Edwards are grabbing it speaks more about their failing campaigns than anything else.

    November 13, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |