Laura Bush landed in the middle of the same-sex marriage debate Thursday — and quickly shut down a national ad highlighting her support for gay couples.
The former first lady, along with Colin Powell, Dick Cheney and President Obama, was featured in a new commercial from the Respect for Marriage Coalition. The ad was supposed to run for weeks, but Bush asked to be removed, and the group quickly agreed: Instead of editing her out of the 30-second spot, which has aired on CNN and MSNBC, they’ll stop running it altogether after Friday, a coalition spokesperson told us.
The flap began Wednesday when the group — gay-rights and same-sex marriage advocates, including the D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign — launched a $1 million ad campaign using political celebrities and other prominent voices.
Bush speaks first: “When couples are committed to each other and love each other, then they ought to have, I think, the same sort of rights that everyone has.”
It comes from a 2010 interview with Larry King — and her team says she had no notice that her remark would be included in the commercial. Bush spokeswoman Anne MacDonald told the Dallas Morning News that the former first lady “did not approve of her inclusion in this advertisement nor is she associated with the group that made the ad in any way.”
It’s not unusual to grab sound bites from broadcast interviews or speeches in campaign ads without the speaker’s permission — Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comment became the star of an Obama ad. But it is unusual for public figures to object when they seem to support an issue.
The ad “used public comments. . . from American leaders who have expressed support for civil marriage,” the coalition said in a statement. “We appreciate Mrs. Bush’s previous comments but are sorry she didn’t want to be included in an ad.”
Advocates have been quick to tap into the star power of leading GOP families on this particular cause. Cindy McCain posed in a photo campaign protesting California’s ban on gay marriage; former first daughter Barbara Bush taped a video two years ago for the Human Rights Campaign.
The coalition is replacing Bush’s commercial with a second spot starring a Marine and his wife who support same sex-marriage because his brother is gay. That ad will begin airing this weekend.
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