(WASHINGTON) Two liberal political action committees, Brave New PAC and Democracy for America, launched an aggressive attack on John McCain's health this morning in an ad featuring unflattering images of his melanoma scars. The ad calls for McCain to release his medical records, something he already did earlier this year.
"Another bout of cancer for John McCain while he is president of the United States would profoundly impact his capacity lead," Dr. Michael D. Fratkin says in the ad. "Melanoma is the deadliest of skin cancers," Dr. Noah Craft then explains, adding "the chances of survival if you have melanoma spread through your body are very slim." The ad closes with a graphic asking, "Why won't John McCain release his Medical Records?"
The 30-second television spot is set to run on MSNBC in a $50,000 buy over a few days. The groups hope to extend the buy to battleground states or possibly purchase a full page ad in the NY Times in the coming weeks if they are able to raise necessary funds through donations from supporters.
"Special interest attack ads are part of what is wrong with Washington," Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant said in response. "It is absurd that Barack Obama's allies would be attacking John McCain at a moment when when we are trying to put politics aside."
In addition to the ad, the groups initiated a petition for doctors with the hopes that with enough signatures they will "ultimately deliver the petition and create enough grassroots support to get a full disclosure of the [medical] records," Brave New PAC spokesman Axel Woolfolk told CBS News. So far they say they have collected 2,500 signatures.
However, the thing is, McCain has released his medical records.
On May 23, a small group of reporters were sequestered in a reading room outside of Phoenix, Ariz., and given several hours to review 1,173 pages of McCain's medical records spanning from 2000 to 2008. In 2000, during McCain's first presidential bid, his campaign released hundreds of pages of medical records including psychological tests run after his prisoner of war confinement.
There is in fact a precedent for releasing medical and other records in a highly supervised and time-limited way. In 2004, a small group of reporters traveling with John Kerry were allowed a half-hour to review 36 pages of his military medical records. According to the New York Times, the Kerry campaign argued their review parameters were generous compared to the 20 minutes the White House allowed reporters earlier that year to review Bush's military medical records.
"We don't think its misleading at all," Woolfork said when asked about the May records release, "this release was so limited it wasn't really a release, it was a press stunt."
"It was extensively reported that this release was done in three hours, no cells, no internet no cameras," he added.
Meanwhile, the liberal MoveOn.org secured a $100,000 national cable buy today to run an ad which attacks McCain for his association to Rick Davis, Phil Gramm and President Bush, who the ad argues contributed to the financial crisis. "Americans shouldn't have to foot the bill for mistakes that John McCain and his friends made," a narrator claims.
The McCain campaign announced Wednesday that they will suspend all campaign events, including pulling down all television and radio ads, until Congress reaches a deal on the financial bailout.