Thomas’ Supporters Won’t Stop Ad Assailing Senators
Conservative groups on Thursday spurned a personal appeal from White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu to quit airing a pro-Clarence Thomas television ad that attacks the ethics of three Democratic senators.
The groups said they would keep running the commercial until “left-wing groups . . . enter into a political cease-fire” over the Supreme Court nomination.
The White House said that Sununu called L. Brent Bozell III of the Conservative Victory Committee to urge him to stop running the commercial, which assails Democratic Sens. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and Alan Cranston of California.
“Unfortunately, the Administration has no desire to confront the radical left,” Bozell, the committee’s executive director, and Floyd Brown, chairman of Citizens United, said in a statement.
“We didn’t start the politicization and ‘attack’ campaigns now surrounding the nomination,” they said, charging that liberal groups “viciously destroyed Judge (Robert H.) Bork in 1987" in his unsuccessful confirmation fight.
“Until the left agrees to discontinue all its efforts against Judge Thomas, our two-week campaign in the D.C. market will continue,” the conservative activists said.
President Bush has called the ad offensive and counterproductive.
Bozell said the two groups were spending $100,000 to run the ad locally.
The ad says that Thomas, a black conservative who sits on a federal appeals court, “faces bitter opposition from liberal Democrats . . . . How many of these liberal Democrats could themselves pass ethical scrutiny?”
A somber voice says that Kennedy was “suspended from Harvard for cheating. Left the scene of the accident at Chappaquiddick where Mary Jo Kopechne died. And this year, Palm Beach.”
Biden was “found guilty of plagiarism during his presidential campaign,” it intones, and Cranston was “implicated in the Keating Five S&L; scandal.”
Democratic National Committee Chairman Ron Brown said Wednesday that Bush was letting others conduct a “gutter campaign.”
Asked if Bush plans to do anything else to persuade the conservatives to stop running the ad, White House deputy press secretary Gary Foster said: “He’s made his views known.”