From NBC's Mark Murray
The Republican National Committee held a conference call with reporters this afternoon, announcing that it is asking TV cable networks not to run a "maliciously false" and "misleading" TV ad by the Democratic National Committee whacking McCain on the Iraq war.
The ad -- which the DNC said it will air on MSNBC and CNN -- hits McCain for his past statement that he would be fine with US soldiers remaining in Iraq for "maybe 100" years. McCain did say that, but as the RNC and other fact-checkers have pointed out, it was in the context of talking about a peace-keeping force in Iraq after the violence there had ended.
The RNC also charged that the DNC and the Obama and Clinton were coordinating with each other (by sharing similar pollsters and polling firms and having meetings), and that made this new TV ad illegal.
DNC spokeswoman Stacie Paxton tells First Read that: "1) we used McCain's own words and 2) there has been no coordination. These are just baseless claims -- we obviously struck a nerve." The DNC will elaborate on those arguments in its own conference call later this afternoon.
*** UPDATE *** In the DNC's subsequent conference call, chairman Howard Dean shot back, "I understand that we have struck a nerve with the RNC with this ad." After reading back McCain 100-year quote, Dean added that the ad makes two arguments: "One, we don't think Americans want us to be in Iraq under any circumstance... We don't want to be there for 100 years, whether there is a war there or not. Two, anyone who thinks we're going to be occupying Iraq for 100 years and doesn't think there will consequences ... doesn't understand what is going on Iraq."
"He is completely out of touch with where the American people are on the war," Dean said, later saying: "There is nothing false about this at all... [These are] John McCain's own words... You are going to see a lot of this kind of stuff."
Also on the DNC call, general counsel Joe Sandler said the RNC's claim of coordination between the DNC and the Democratic presidential campaigns is "completely baseless." And he noted that there was no indication from MSNBC and CNN that they would NOT air the ad.