National Right to Life Responds to McCain on Pro-Life Ads

McCain Aides Put Out False Information to Deflect Attention from Substance of Radio Ads in New Hampshire and South Carolina

Washington -- In response to radio ads being broadcast in New Hampshire and South Carolina, Senator John McCain is attempting to deflect attention away from the substance of his own past actions by suggesting that all criticisms are motivated by self- interested opposition to his "campaign reform" proposals.

In New Hampshire, Citizens for Life (the state NRLC affiliate) is running a radio ad that reports "jokes" made by McCain regarding Alzheimer's disease and seizure disorders. (The pro-life movement is concerned that lack of respect for the elderly will increase the demand for euthanasia.) The Concord Monitor today reported the response of McCain's "New England political director," Mike Dennehy: "'The right to life organization is deathly afraid of McCain becoming president, because they know he will enact campaign finance reform and they will lose their six-figure salaries,' Dennehy said."

"Maybe McCain's handlers have confused their own fat political consulting fees with our modest salaries," said Carol Long Tobias, director of National Right to Life PAC. "National Right to Life has an unpaid president, and no staff member has ever drawn a six-figure salary -- although McCain himself has a six-figure salary of $141,300. The salary of the executive director of Citizens for Life, the group sponsoring the ad, is also far from six figures. As to McCain's campaign reform bill, we oppose it not because of money but because it would censor our independent free speech about the voting records and positions of politicians, which is vital to advancement of the pro-life cause."

In South Carolina, South Carolina Citizens for Life PAC and National Right to Life PAC are sponsoring two anti-McCain radio ads. One ad accurately reports McCain's August 19 statement to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board that "certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade." The second ad accurately describes McCain's 1992 flip-flop on the issue of federal funding of research using body parts of aborted babies.

Today's Greenville News quoted "Richard Quinn, McCain's South Carolina consultant," as commenting, "This is about money, the first of a series of Washington-based special interest groups attacking us because they feel threatened. John McCain has a 17-year pro-life voting record that no one else running can match."

NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson commented, "In reality, every other Republican candidate has a stronger pro-life position than McCain. And it is simply false for McCain's staff to suggest that McCain has a more pro-life record than Senator Orrin Hatch, who never voted for federal funding of research using aborted babies' body parts -- and who never said he would oppose repealing Roe v. Wade."

"It is a transparent diversionary tactic for McCain to suggest that pro-life groups need an ulterior motive to justify criticism of his San Francisco statement that he would oppose the repeal of Roe v. Wade, or to criticize his votes for tax-funded research using body parts of aborted babies," said Johnson. "McCain is Mr. Johnny-One-Note -- his all-purpose defense is to assert that anybody who criticizes his positions must be motivated by money. With this ad hominem tactic, any high-school debate coach would give him a failing grade."

Source: National Right to Life Press Release, Jan. 12, 2000
For further information contact Holly Gatling, South Carolina Citizens for Life PAC, (803) 252-5433 or Carol Long Tobias, National Right to Life PAC, (202) 626-8825.

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