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South Carolina television stations pull anti-Rubio ad amid legal concerns

Marco Rubio accuses Ted Cruz of lying
Marco Rubio accuses Ted Cruz of lying

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Story highlights

  • Some South Carolina television stations are pulling a negative television advertisement from a group supporting Ted Cruz
  • Because of the claims it makes against Marco Rubio

Washington (CNN)Some South Carolina television stations are pulling a negative television advertisement from a group supporting Ted Cruz because of the claims it makes against Marco Rubio.

A spot from Stand for Truth Inc., a shadowy super PAC formed just a few months ago, had spent $125,000 to air the spot titled "Sanctuary" on Iowa television and on digital platforms, according to advertising tracker CMAG/Kantar Media. The group has not shared much information about its advertising plans, and is using a high number of companies to receive and direct donations. The group had begun to air the ads in South Carolina before the legal team for one media company, Media General, determined it had to be pulled.
    The decision by television stations was first reported by The New York Times.
    It is not uncommon for campaigns to try and litigate the fairness of attack advertisements with television stations, though the advertiser usually does not order a spot to be removed from the airwaves. And there is no evidence that other South Carolina television representatives find the ad similarly objectionable.
    Randy Ingram, the general manager for WBTW, the CBS affiliate in Myrtle Beach, said the company received a cease-and-desist order and that Media General, which also operates a CBS and NBC affiliate in the Upstate and Charleston areas, decided to honor it.
    "I'm not sure why legal decides we run something different," Ingram said, declining to say who specifically had requested the ad be pulled. He said Stand for Truth replaced "Sanctuary" with a different spot in its advertising rotation.
    The ad, like other pro-Cruz spots, attacks Rubio as insufficiently tough on the border and in particular for being too accommodating of sanctuary cities that flout federal immigration law: "Marco Rubio and Chuck Schumer's risky plan? An America full of sanctuary cities," the spot concludes.
    Eric Lycan, a spokesman for Stand for Truth, said the advertisement would continue.
    "The Rubio campaign convinced one station that his Gang of Eight amnesty bill, which turned a blind eye to sanctuary cities and allowed them to continue to flout the law, is somehow different from actively supporting them," Lycan said. "This was a Friday afternoon ploy to keep South Carolina voters from hearing the message about Rubio's disastrous record on border security."