O'Reilly claimed "McCain has no power at all" in NC to stop state GOP from running ad attacking Obama

››› ››› RYAN CHIACHIERE

Referring to a controversial ad by the North Carolina Republican Party attacking Sen. Barack Obama, Bill O'Reilly said: "[T]he reality -- and we've researched this -- is that Senator McCain has no power at all in North Carolina, all right? ... And that's the truth." But several people identified as having leadership positions in the North Carolina Republican Party also have "official" roles in the McCain campaign. Additionally, neither McCain nor the Republican National Committee, which has also denounced the ad, has suggested that the North Carolina GOP will face any repercussions for its refusal to pull the ad.

On the April 24 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host bill O'Reilly, discussing a controversial ad by the North Carolina Republican Party attacking Sen. Barack Obama and Democratic gubernatorial candidates Beverly Perdue and Richard Moore, asserted, "[T]he reality -- and we've researched this -- is that Senator McCain has no power at all in North Carolina, all right? And Republican leaders in that state think that ad is going to help them, so they're going to go with it, no matter what McCain says." O'Reilly added, "And that's the truth. And that's what we do on 'Reality Check.' " But, contrary to O'Reilly's assertion that McCain "has no power at all in North Carolina," several supporters listed on McCain's website are also listed as having leadership positions on the North Carolina Republican Party's website and have also donated money to both the North Carolina GOP as well as Sen. McCain's presidential campaign. McCain has yet to remove their names from his website and has not reportedly returned their donations to his campaign. Additionally, neither McCain nor the Republican National Committee (RNC), which has also denounced the ad, has suggested that the North Carolina GOP will face any repercussions during this campaign season, at the party's nominating convention in September or otherwise, for its refusal to pull the ad.

Neither McCain nor the RNC has given any indication that they will try to force the hand of ranking members of the North Carolina Republican Party who also have "official" roles in the McCain campaign or the RNC. These include:

Ferrell Blount III and Richard Vinroot

On March 8, 2007, McCain's campaign released a statement saying, "U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign today announced that former North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Ferrell Blount and Former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot will support the Arizona Senator's presidential candidacy. In addition, Blount and Vinroot will serve as state steering committee members for Senator McCain's presidential campaign in North Carolina." According to its website, Blount serves on the central committee of the North Carolina GOP.

According to Congressional Quarterly's MoneyLine (subscription required), during the 2007-08 cycle, Blount donated $1,000 to the executive committee and $2,300 to McCain's campaign. Vinroot gave $250 to the executive committee and $1,000 to McCain's campaign in that same period.

Linda Shaw

RNC member Linda Shaw is listed on the official "supporters" page on McCain's campaign website. She is also listed as National Committeewoman on the North Carolina GOP's leadership page. According to RNC organizational rules, the national committeewoman is one of three state-level GOP officials (along with national committeeman and state party chairman) from each state who make up the "general management" of the national Republican Party.

Shaw has donated $250 to the NC GOP's executive committee in the 2007-08 cycle.

An April 24 Associated Press article reported Shaw's reaction to the ad:

Republican National Committee member Linda Shaw said Thursday she was shocked that her colleagues decided to produce and air the ad, which shows Obama with his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and a clip of Wright's anti-U.S. comments.

"I do not support it," Shaw said. "I had nothing to do with it ... and I'm very disappointed."

Shaw, a longtime party leader, said she repeatedly urged state party chairwoman Linda Daves to withdraw the spot.

State Rep. Ric Killian

North Carolina state Rep. Ric Killian is also listed on the official "supporters" page on McCain's campaign website. Additionally, according to their website, Killian is a member of the North Carolina GOP's executive committee. Killian is Republican freshman chair in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Sen. Richard Burr

On March 9, 2007, the McCain campaign released a statement announcing, "U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign today announced that U.S. Senator Richard Burr will support the Arizona Senator as he seeks the presidency." Burr is listed on the official "supporters" page on McCain's campaign website. Burr is also listed as a member of the North Carolina GOP's executive committee.

Further, as the blog Think Progress noted, Linda Daves, chairwoman of the North Carolina GOP, asserted during an interview on the April 24 edition of NPR's All Things Considered that she has not had "a conversation with John McCain about" the ad.

From the April 24 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: We begin with Senator Obama reacting to John McCain's condemnation of a North Carolina political ad that mentions Obama and Reverend Wright.

OBAMA [video clip]: Well, my understanding is that the Republican National Committee and John McCain have both said that the ad's inappropriate. I take them at their word. And I assume that if John McCain thinks that it's an inappropriate ad, that he can get them to pull it down, since he's their nominee and standard-bearer.

O'REILLY: All right. As I said in the "Talking Points Memo," it's a very shrewd answer by Senator Obama, because if the ad runs, he can say either McCain didn't want, or was too weak, to stop it.

But the reality -- and we've researched this -- is that Senator McCain has no power at all in North Carolina, all right? And Republican leaders in that state think that ad is going to help them, so they're going to go with it, no matter what McCain says.

And that's the truth. And that's what we do on "Reality Check."

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Bill O'Reilly
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John McCain, 2008 Elections
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