AJC report on McCain appearance at Chambliss rally ignored his criticism of Chambliss' "disgraceful" 2002 ad

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Sen. John McCain appeared at a rally in support of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), but the article did not note that McCain reportedly criticized as "disgraceful" and "reprehensible" a campaign ad Chambliss used during his 2002 race against then-Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA).

In a November 14 article, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Sen. John McCain appeared at a rally the previous day in support of the re-election of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). But unlike articles about the event by The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and USA Today, the Journal-Constitution article did not note that McCain previously reportedly criticized as "disgraceful" and "reprehensible" a campaign ad Chambliss used during his 2002 race against then-Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA). The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee highlighted McCain's comments in a web ad released November 11.

Chambliss' 2002 ad featured images of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and asserted that Cleland -- a decorated Vietnam War veteran and triple amputee -- "says he has the courage to lead. But the record proves... Max Cleland is just misleading." In a July 3, 2003, article (accessed from the Nexis database), The Washington Post reported that McCain "denounced" the ad "[i]mmediately," and quoted his assertion: "I've never seen anything like that ad. ... Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden next to a picture of a man who left three limbs on the battlefield -- it's worse than disgraceful, it's reprehensible."

From the November 13 AP article:

Democrats greeted McCain's arrival in Georgia with an Internet spot reviving remarks the Arizona senator made in condemning a tough ad Chambliss used in his 2002 campaign against Democratic Sen. Max Cleland, a triple amputee wounded in Vietnam. The ad questioned Cleland's national security credentials and flashed a picture of Osama bin Laden.

"I've never seen anything like that ad," McCain, a Vietnam prisoner of war, said in 2003. "Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden next to a picture of a man who left three limbs on the battlefield, it's worse than disgraceful, it's reprehensible."

From the November 14 LA Times article:

In a video released this week, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reminded voters that McCain once criticized as "disgraceful" and "reprehensible" a 2002 Chambliss campaign ad that questioned the courage of then-opponent Max Cleland, a veteran who lost three limbs in Vietnam.

From the November 13 NY Times article:

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is spending its money reminding voters of Mr. Chambliss's attack on former Senator Max Cleland, the Democratic incumbent he defeated in 2002. The advertisement, still bitterly remembered in Democratic circles, showed pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, and criticized Mr. Cleland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam, for voting against homeland security measures.

At the time, Mr. McCain was among those who defended Mr. Cleland, as the Democratic campaign committee's advertisement points out: ''I've never seen anything like that ad,'' Mr. McCain said. ''It's worse than disgraceful. It's reprehensible.''

From the November 14 USA Today article:

The Martin campaign is trying to remind Georgia voters of McCain's condemnation of a television ad Chambliss aired in his successful 2002 race against then-senator Max Cleland, D-Ga. The ad questioned the national security expertise of Cleland, a triple-amputee Vietnam War veteran, and used images of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. At the time, McCain called the ad "worse than disgraceful. It's reprehensible."

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