Newsweek noted that McCain recently "stumped" for Chambliss, but not that McCain criticized Chambliss' "reprehensible" 2002 attack ad

››› ››› MORGAN WEILAND

Newsweek reported that Sen. John McCain is among the Republican "Party luminaries" who "have stumped" for Sen. Saxby Chambliss, but did not mention that McCain reportedly criticized as "worse than disgraceful" and "reprehensible" a campaign ad Chambliss used during his 2002 race against then-Sen. Max Cleland.

In a November 22 online article for Newsweek, Suzanne Smalley listed Sen. John McCain among the Republican "Party luminaries" who "have stumped" for Republican incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss during the runoff election for Chambliss' Georgia Senate seat, but Smalley did not note that McCain reportedly criticized as "worse than disgraceful" and "reprehensible" a campaign advertisement Chambliss used during his 2002 race against then-Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA). In fact, Smalley's article -- headlined "Battleground Georgia" -- did not mention Chambliss' ad against Cleland at all, even though the "Conventional Wisdom" section of the November 24 issue of Newsweek featured the following one sentence description of the Georgia Senate race, under the headline "Chambliss": "Georgia on our mind: GOP sen. who smeared Max Cleland now in tight runoff."

Chambliss' 2002 ad featured images of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and asserted that Cleland -- a decorated Vietnam War veteran and triple amputee as a result of battlefield injuries -- "says he has the courage to lead. But the record proves Max Cleland is just misleading." In a July 3, 2003, article (accessed via the Nexis database), The Washington Post reported that McCain "denounced" the ad "[i]mmediately," and quoted him saying: "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."

In contrast to Smalley's Newsweek article, The National Journal (retrieved via Nexis) reported on November 22:

Chambliss is still drawing heat from Democrats for an ad he ran six years ago that tried to draw a connection between Cleland, who was terribly wounded in the Vietnam War, and Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Democrats were not the only ones furious at the tactic. When McCain campaigned this month for Chambliss, a number of Georgia newspapers highlighted the Arizona senator's denunciation of the ad six years ago.

"I'd never seen anything like that ad," McCain told CNN. "Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden next to the picture of a man who left three limbs on the battlefield. It's worse than disgraceful. It's reprehensible."

As Media Matters for America noted, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution similarly failed to mention that McCain criticized Chambliss' 2002 ad in a November 14 article about a campaign appearance McCain made on Chambliss' behalf.

From Smalley's November 22 Newsweek article:

For incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the Republican National Committee has pumped $2 million dollars and dozens of staffers into Georgia. Party luminaries, including John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, have stumped for Chambliss. Romney reminded voters of what's at stake, and where his party's focus is, when he warned an Atlanta crowd Friday, "We have to decide if we want two parties in Washington or only one that gets everything it wants." Not to be outdone, the Democrats have already brought Bill Clinton to Atlanta, and [Al] Gore is on the way.

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2008 Elections
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