An October 27 New York Times article reported that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was among those offering "denunciations" of a controversial Republican National Committee (RNC) advertisement featuring a scantily clad actress posing as someone who "met" Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr. "at the Playboy party." In fact, the Times article went on to quote a McCain spokesman saying simply: "We're pleased that the ad has been pulled down" -- a statement that in no way constitutes a "denunciation" of the ad's content.
As Media Matters for America noted, the ad, despite reports that it has been pulled from the airwaves by the RNC, is still reportedly airing in some areas.
In the Times article, reporters Anne E. Kornblut and Jim Rutenberg stated:
No Republicans wanted to take credit [for the ad]. When the identity of the producer, Scott Howell, emerged, Democrats quickly pounced on his history of bare-knuckled tactics and close relationship with Karl Rove as evidence of a familiar Republican approach.
And the incident quickly set off a wave of denials and denunciations from Republican officials, including the national party chairman and Senator John McCain of Arizona, who has hired Terry Nelson, another consultant affiliated with the spot.
The article went on to note, however:
John Weaver, an adviser to Mr. McCain, said Mr. Nelson would continue as an adviser to the senator despite the incident. But, Mr. Weaver said: "We're pleased that the ad has been pulled down."