John McCain has written emails and letters to Linda Daves, the chairwoman of the North Carolina GOP, to implore her not to run this tasteless ad linking two gubernatorial candidates who support Barack Obama to his former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Dear Chairman Daves,
From the beginning of this election, I have been committed to running a respectful campaign based upon an honest debate about the great issues confronting America today. I expect all state parties to do so as well. The television advertisement you are planning to air degrades our civics and distracts us from the very real differences we have with the Democrats. In the strongest terms, I implore you to not run this advertisement.

This ad does not live up to the very high standards we should hold ourselves to in this campaign. We need to run a campaign that is worthy of the people we seek to serve. There is no doubt that we will draw sharp contrasts with the Democrats on fundamental issues critical to the future course of our country.

But we need not engage in political tactics that only seek to divide the American people.

Once again, it is imperative that you withdraw this offensive advertisement.

John McCain

Charlie Black, John McCain’s senior adviser and former lobbyist extraordinaire, first said that the "party would pull the ad" and then lectured reporters on the failure of the RNC to control the ads of state parties.

So, the question is: will the ad run on Monday? And will cable gasbags continue to run the ad as news, providing John McCain with headlines like CBS did: "Amid Negative Ads, McCain Claims High Road."

Republican Chairwoman Linda Daves of Charlotte, at the center of the controversy, said pulling the ad "has never been a consideration." She said the reaction received by the party is running 10-to-1 in favor of the ad.

Two North Carolina television stations have declined to run the ads — one of them is WRAL, where Jesse Helms got his start as a political commentator. Jesse Helms’ former megaphone has more power than John McCain — and more class, too.

Howard Dean released this statement:

‘This is a test of leadership for John McCain. If he can’t pick up the phone and make members of his own party stop airing a television ad he claims to oppose, how can he lead our country through an economic crisis or the war in Iraq? After shifting his positions on gun control, immigration and tax cuts throughout this campaign, McCain should not equivocate on this issue. Making a show of releasing your emails to the press is not leadership. If he is serious, he will get this ad pulled.’

Is John McCain powerless? Is he impotent?

Can he really not get the ad pulled? Or does he relish the controversy, sailing above the argument on the media-defined high-road?

Impotent? Or a sleazebag? Or both?

Teddy Partridge

Teddy Partridge