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Ad controversies

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The Republican National Committee's controversial TV ad criticizing Tennessee Senate nominee Harold Ford (D) has come off the air.  Per MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell and Jennifer Yuille, an RNC aide said yesterday that the ad had "run its course," rejecting the suggestion that they pulled the ad because of political pressure.  A new ad is being rotated in.  The new spot calls Ford "Tennessee's most liberal Congressman.  He campaigns in a church, but took cash from Hollywood's top X-rated porn moguls.  Ford talks values.  But voted to recognize gay marriage.  Voted for taxpayer-funded abortions 12 times.  And wants to give the abortion pill to our schoolchildren."  On Imus this morning, Ford tried to use the controversy over the first ad to cast doubt on the charges in the new one.

Though off the air, the ad still gets front-page treatment in the New York Times: "Critics asserted that the advertisement was a clear effort to play to racial stereotypes and fears, essentially, playing the race card." 

NBC's Chris Donovan reports that on Wednesday's broadcast of The 700 Club, Pat Robertson criticized the ad: "If you're like me, I'll be so glad when this thing is over, and all this mudslinging.  You turn the TV on, and one after the other, you know, this one is that, and that one's the other, and it's just unbelievable.  But that one (laughing) in Tennessee was probably over the top, but the Republicans are grabbing for it, and so are the Democrats."

The ad featuring a debilitated Michael J. Fox asking voters to support Democratic Senate candidates because they favor expanded stem cell research "has touched off an unusual war of celebrity sound bites against the backdrop of the World Series," says the Los Angeles Times.  After a Fox ad for Missouri Senate nominee Claire McCaskill aired during Game One, "opponents of the measure rushed to assemble their own celebrity commercial.  The 60-second spot, due to air during Game 4..., features the Cardinals' starting pitcher, Jeff Suppan. (The game was postponed Wednesday due to rain and is now scheduled for tonight.)" 

The Des Moines Register reports that Fox will campaign on Monday for Iowa gubernatorial nominee Chet Culver (D).