November 12th, 2007
04:31 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain calls for end to independent ads

McCain called for an end to independent advertisements Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful John McCain renewed his call Monday for backers to "cease and desist" supporting independent advertisements intended to benefit his campaign, the kind he has railed against for years as a practice that corrupts the political process.

"If you respect me or my principles, I urge you to refrain from using my name and image in any ads or other activities," McCain said.

Meanwhile, presidential rival Mitt Romney personally went after McCain on this at a stop in Concord, New Hampshire today, saying “it is the height of irony that the author of McCain-Feingold now has his supporters raising apparently vast sums of money, well above any contribution limits that normal citizens see, to support his campaign and it's really quite unfortunate."

But the supporter McCain is singling out, GOP ad maker Rick Reed, tells CNN not only will he keep running an ad now up in South Carolina, he intends expand it to Wisconsin as soon as Tuesday.

McCain is a long time critic of so-called independent expenditures like the controversial "swift boat" ads run against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004.

Reed helped make those ads.

His group now, "Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America," is a 501 (c) 4 in the tax code, which means it can raise unlimited funds without disclosing the donors.

Reed would not say who his financial backers are, or how much money is being spent on the ad.

The ad, now running in the early presidential contest state of South Carolina, highlights McCain, as well as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Rep. John Shadegg, R-Arizona, for supporting the Wounded Warriors Act, and criticizes Democrats for holding it hostage to "pork barrel spending."

Reed is a long-time supporter of McCain, working for his 2000 presidential campaign and briefly for his 2008 run as well. He has personally donated to McCain's campaign.

McCain's authorship of 2002 campaign finance reform banning so-called "soft money" is unpopular with many conservatives, who call it an affront to the first amendment.

In his statement Monday asking that the independent ad be taken down, McCain said he "will not win this election, nor would I want to win it, by acquiescing in anyone's attempt to put my campaign before my principles."

Reed insists his group is just focused on issues like national security, and McCain is "among the best."

"We would never limit support to any particular campaign's donors. It's a broad issue group that welcomes political adherents of any stripe," Reed tells CNN.

- CNN Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash

Filed under: John McCain • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire • South Carolina
soundoff (14 Responses)

    You know John, I just went out and bought next weeks winning Lotto ticket, and I planned on running a few ads in your favor, but now you went and messed it all up! Idiot! Now Rudy gets it all!

    November 12, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. Tom Z, FL

    It's interesting that CNN should mention only the "Swiftboat" ads. What about the ads?

    November 12, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. EE

    Senator McCain,
    you're an honest goodman. you might not be president but i have incredibly enormous respect from you.i respect your view of civility of the electoral process.

    George Bush is a christian but he is terrible to me. i cant imagine a christian like bush to use karl rove demagogy to remain in the white house.

    courage senator mcCain

    November 12, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |

    John McCain, I agree with my friend Keith James Loutitit, you don't stand a snowball in hell of a chance of winning the nomination. You had your chance in 2000 and refused to rebuff those zealots in S. C.. Once vetted and lose, you're done.

    November 12, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Wayne, Greenville TX

    His group now, "Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America," is a 501 (c) 4 in the tax code, which means it can raise unlimited funds without disclosing the donors.

    Reed would not say who his financial backers are, or how much money is being spent on the ad.

    So unknown people can raise unlimited amounts of money to influence our political system?

    This isn't a matter of "Freedom of Speech", and many people will maintain it is. It's a matter or irresponsible character assassination – the political equivalent of yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater.

    November 12, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  6. Bill,boston,ma

    Just ask for your retirement package. we need a fresh blood in the white house!

    November 12, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. john williams san diego, ca.

    GO AWAY created Feingold and Move destructive liberal and an American hatred group

    November 12, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. Mark, B'ham, Al.

    You can tell that John McCain graduated from a Service Academy by his honesty and solid principles compaired to all the other candidates whose alma-maters liberal professors dropped the word integrity from their curriculums. If it wasn't for illegal immigration I would be 100% behind McCain since he wants to fight the war on terror, in Iraq and Afganistan to "Win" not loss like the Dems.

    November 12, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. Paul Thompson

    I don't like to be critical of a Veteran, but this is like asking me to support Beetle Bailey for President.

    He almost sank an aircraft carrier single handed and wound up as a prisoner of war. I know he's a hero...and I do respect him and all the others that served with honor and courage, but he is not a good fit for President.

    November 12, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  10. Daniel, NY

    In good news for the McCain campaign, he is second for the first time in months in the latest Rasmussen national tracking poll - he is ahead of Thompson, which had not happened for a while. Link.

    November 12, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. Brad, the great state of Texas

    I agree with you Mark. I like what I see in McCain–he's tough on terrorism, and he proposed the surge a long time ago(which IS working, despite what the media reports), which leads me to believe he would make realistic decisions about Afghanistan and Iraq. McCain also has the honor and integrity to lead, which this country needs! But like you, I can't quite get past his views on illegal immigration. In that respect, he is too much like Reagan.

    November 12, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  12. karen h, dover de.

    no way will Americans warm up Mccain with Rudy and Mitt in the mix

    November 12, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  13. Jenny, Plano, TX

    Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black when Mitt Romney talks about "supporters raising apparently vast sums of money, well above any contribution limits that normal citizens see"? How much has Romney given to his own campaign? Far more than the normal citizen will ever see.

    November 13, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. Matt, Chicago

    No. Tom Z from FLA – it's not interesting.
    Though Moveon (like countless other 'soft $' groups) had '04 ads in the pres election, I dont think the overwhelmingly majority of americans could remember a single one.

    The swift-boat ads were an issue in the election and thus very effective (albeit selective in truthfulness + mostly BS). These are the exact same ads at issue in this article.

    The Moveon Petraus ad (true, yet likewise overblown) is the one people know and had nothing to do with the '08 election in its content.

    I love the 'liberal media conspiracies.' So refreshing if it wasn't categorically false. Conservative op-ed writers + pundits outnumber liberal ones by more than 2 to 1. But hold onto your fear buddy – I'm sure its keeping you warm.

    November 13, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |