Live

Watch CBSN Live

Republicans Fire Ad Firm For "Hicky" Casting Call

}

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has fired the firm responsible for the "hicky blue collar" casting call that caused some controversy last week. The committee said it learned today that the company was directly responsible for offensive language in the casting call, despite its past claims.

The NRSC and West Virginia's Republican Senate candidate John Raese came under fire last week after a casting call surfaced seeking actors with a "hicky blue collar look" to portray West Virginians in an ad attacking Gov. Joe Manchin, the Democratic Senate candidate.

In response to the uproar, the NRSC said it had hired the consulting firm Jamestown Associates to produce the ad, which in turn hired another talent agency to handle casting. The NRSC provided evidence to CBS News suggesting that the talent agency, and specifically talent agent Kathy Wickline, were responsible for choosing the casting all language.

"No one at the NRSC, or associated with the NRSC, had anything to do with the language used in this casting call," the NRSC told the Hotsheet at the time.

Today, however, Wickline provided Politico with an e-mail to show that she took the phrase "hicky blue collar look" directly from Jamestown Associates.

The NRSC said today that this is the first it has heard of Jamestown Associates' role in the controversy.

"When originally confronted last week, [Jamestown Associates] flatly denied having anything to do with the unacceptable language and we took them at their word. Upon learning these facts this morning, the NRSC immediately fired Jamestown Associates," NRSC spokesperson Brian Walsh said in a statement. "Because we did not know the truth, we have made incorrect statements over the last eight days, and we regret doing so."

Walsh continued, "The NRSC unequivocally denounces the offensive language that Jamestown Associates used in producing this ad. We apologize to any West Virginia voter who may have been offended by this firm's actions, and we extend our apologies to Kathy Wickline and all those who were misled as a result of Jamestown Associates' actions. The NRSC will have no further dealings, now or ever, with Jamestown Associates, but they were our vendor and we take responsibility for this unfortunate matter."

The NRSC has already pulled the ad from the air in West Virginia.

Manchin and Raese are locked in a tight Senate race, which CBS News has labeled a toss up.

West Virginia Senate Election: Joe Manchin (D) vs. John Raese (R)
CBSNews.com Special Report: Campaign 2010


Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.