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Attack Ad Targets McCain’s POW Status

By Manu Raju at The Hill

A 70-year-old man who was imprisoned with John McCain during the Vietnam War says the Arizona senator lacks the temperament to be president.

Phillip Butler says in a new attack ad that McCain’s prisoner-of-war status is not a qualification for the presidency and McCain is not somebody he wants to see “with his finger near the red button.”

“He was well known as a very volatile guy and he would blow up and go off like a roman candle,” Butler says in the ad, which was produced by Brave New PAC, a political action committee associated with the liberal film company Brave New Films.

Leighton Woodhouse, a spokesman for the company, said that the 30-second ad will air on CNN, MSNBC and ESPN from Thursday through this weekend.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and his Democratic surrogates have repeatedly raised questions about McCain’s temperament, but they have praised his war record. Brave New Films has no affiliation with the Obama campaign.

“If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next commander-in-chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have,” Obama said last week in his speech accepting the Democratic nomination for president.

Meanwhile, Republicans are highlighting McCain’s P.O.W. status to highlight his service to the country. And former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) spoke in detail in a primetime address at the Republican Convention Tuesday about the torture McCain suffered in 1967 at the hands of the North Vietnamese.

”They took him to the Hanoi Hilton, where he lapsed in and out of consciousness for days,” Thompson said. “He was offered medical care for his injuries if he would give up military information in return. John McCain said, ‘No.’”

The advertisment on McCain’s service will almost certainly be compared to the so-called Swift Boat attacks on 2004, when conservative groups questioned Democrat John Kerry’s war record.

But Woodhouse says that such comparisons are “totally irresponsible,” saying they are “completely different situations.”
A McCain campaign spokesman could not be reached for comment.