(1st Add: Includes comments by RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie.)
(CNSNews.com) - The anti-war group MoveOn.org is firing back at the Republican National Committee which accused it of posting political ads to its website comparing President Bush to German dictator Adolf Hitler. The ads appeared on a website sponsored by MoveOn.org, advertising a contest called Bush in 30 Seconds.
The winner of the contest would see his or her work aired as part of a TV ad campaign during the week of the president's 2004 state of the union address.
After RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie criticized the Democratic voter fund of "poor taste" for posting the ads on the group's website, MoveOn.org fired back, accusing the RNC of spreading misinformation.
"The Republican National Committee and its chairman have falsely accused MoveOn.org of sponsoring ads on its website which compare President Bush to Adolf Hitler. The claim is deliberately and maliciously misleading," said Wes Boyd, founder of MoveOn.org Voter Fund, in a statement Tuesday.
"During December, the MoveOn.org Voter Fund invited members of the public to submit ads that purported to tell the truth about the President and his policies. More than 1,500 submissions from ordinary Americans came in and were posted on a web site, bushin30seconds.org, for the public to review," said Boyd.
"None of these was our ad, nor did their appearance constitute endorsement or sponsorship by MoveOn.org Voter Fund. They will not appear on TV. We do not support the sentiment expressed in the two Hitler submissions," Boyd added.
"They were voted down by our members and the public, who reviewed the ads and submitted nearly 3 million critiques in the process of choosing the 15 finalist entries," Boyd said, adding that he agrees that "the two ads in question were in poor taste and deeply regret[s] that they slipped through our screening process."
Boyd promised "in the future, if we publish or broadcast raw material, we will create a more effective filtering system."
Boyd compared the RNC's reaction to the Bush/Hitler ads with conservatives' use of TV ads that morphed the face of Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.) "into that of Osama Bin Laden during the 2002 Senate race."
"MoveOn.org and the MoveOn.org Voter Fund exist to bring the public into the political process and produce a more fact-based election process. We regret that the RNC doesn't seem to embrace the same goals," concluded Boyd.
RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie responded to MoveOn.org's claims that the RNC spread misinformation about the anti-war group.
"The RNC never suggested MoveOn.org produced or sponsored any of the ads submitted," Gillespie said in a statement.
"MoveOn.org ad campaign rules state, 'we're not going to post anything that would be inappropriate for television.' MoveOn.org made the decision to post both Hitler ads for consideration by the 2.9 million people who voted in their contest demonstrating a disconcerting lack of judgment," Gillespie added.
See Earlier Story:
RNC Takes MoveOn.org to Task Over Bush/Hitler Ads (Jan. 5, 2004)
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