We argued earlier this week that a TV spot launched by NARAL Pro-Choice America went farther than the facts allowed in attacking John Roberts: The spot, based on Roberts' work as deputy solicitor general under George H.W. Bush, suggested -- unfairly and unnecessarily, we thought -- that Roberts excused violence by antiabortion activists when he took their side in Supreme Court litigation.
We weren't alone in our view. Republican senators howled about the spot, while FactCheck.org said simply, "The ad is false." And as the Associated Press reports, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, who has bristled before over the role interest groups have played in trying to pressure senators on judicial nominees, told NARAL that its spot was "not helpful to the pro-choice cause which I support."
Thursday night, NARAL pulled the ad. "We regret that many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement about Mr. Roberts' record," NARAL president Nancy Keenan said in a letter to Specter. "Unfortunately, the debate over that advertisement has become a distraction from the serious discussion we hoped to have with the American public."
According to the AP, Keenan says NARAL will replace the ad with one that "examines Mr. Roberts' record on several points, including his advocacy for overturning Roe v. Wade, his statement questioning the right to privacy and his arguments against using a federal civil rights law to protect women and their doctors and nurses from those who use blockades and intimidation."