Planned Parenthood retaliates over McCain’s ‘kindergarten sex-ed’ ad

Planned Parenthood Action Center on Friday released a TV ad set to air in Denver and other markets where the McCain campaign has been advertising a claim that Barack Obama favored teaching kindergarteners about sex. The bill supported by Obama, Planned Parenthood says, would in fact teach youngsters to protect themselves from sexual predators.

Calling the McCain ad “false” and “dishonest,” Planned Parenthood says its own ad aims to “sets the record straight on Obama’s support for a bill intended to help children recognize inappropriate touching and highlights John McCain’s propensity to play loose with the facts.”

Planned Parenthood also called on the McCain campaign to pull its ‘Education’ ad:

“We are asking the McCain campaign to take down their attack ad because it is patently false and dishonest. The American public deserve better,” said Richards. “Until the McCain campaign pulls its ad, Planned Parenthood will run its ad to set the record straight.”

A release from Planned Parenthood lists several news and watchdog sources that have debunked the claims made in McCain’s ad. A statement slams McCain, including a quote from former McCain rival Mitt Romney, who told FOX News, “I think Senator McCain is willing to say anything to try and get elected. He’s been looking for this job for a long, long time.”

“John McCain’s latest ad is yet another example that he will say anything to get elected,” said Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards. “In ad after ad, he’s made false statements and twisted the facts. In this case, he is dishonestly attacking Senator Obama and distorting a bill that Planned Parenthood helped introduce in the Illinois State Legislature and which was intended to protect children.

Including a link to the actual bill supported by Obama, Planned Parenthood argues the legislation bears no resemblance to McCain’s description:

Illinois State SB 99, the bill that the McCain campaign highlights in their negative ad, states “Course material and instruction shall teach pupils to not make unwanted physical and verbal sexual advances and how to say no to unwanted sexual advances and shall include information about verbal, physical, and visual sexual harassment, including without limitation nonconsensual sexual advances, nonconsensual physical sexual contact, and rape by an acquaintance.”

Planned Parenthood along with other health care advocacy and education groups, including the Illinois Parent Teacher Association, the Illinois State Medical Society, and the Illinois Public Health Association, supported the bill that would have taught kindergartners how to recognize inappropriate touching and how to defend against sexual predators.

CQ reported the McCain campaign “did not respond to questions about the ad, including whether McCain thinks it is bad for young children to learn in school about how to avoid predators.”

In an appearance on ABC’s The View on Friday, McCain defended the ad when host Joy Behar grilled him about the kindergarten ad and another ad released this week, saying, ““Now, we know that those two ads are untrue, they’re lies. and yet you at the end of it says, ‘I approved this message.’ Do you really approve them?”

“They’re not lies,” McCain replied.

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Ernest Luning

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