Weak, although it ends up hurting Hillary more than McCain since she’s the one who stood to benefit most immediately from it. Like LiveLeak vis-a-vis “Fitna,” though, they accomplished part of their mission simply by getting it out on the Net, where cable news picked it up and gave it a day’s worth of free national airtime. They accomplished something else, too — baiting Obama into saying something as stupid as this:

Obama, in Indiana, said he assumes if McCain “thinks that it’s an inappropriate ad, that he can get them to pull it down since he’s their nominee and standard bearer.”

Oh, the fun we’ll have reminding him of that going forward. Does that precedent apply only to state parties, I wonder, or to any and all outside groups — like, say, MoveOn or that new David Brock outfit — over which the party might conceivably have sway? There’s a lot more Democratic weaponry at stake here than Republican so Barry had better put his head together with this imbecile’s and sketch out for us when, precisely, the nominee should be expected to ride herd over his ideological allies. Exit question: When does he intervene to get this crap yanked?

Update: Reuters and MSNBC say they’re pulling it, but it’s news to the party.

Reports that the N.C. Republican Party is pulling a planned TV advertisement about Barack Obama are false, Republican chairwoman Linda Daves said Thursday.

“I can’t be emphatic enough that we’re running the ad,” Daves told the Observer. “We are not pulling the ad. It has never been a consideration for us to pull the ad.”

Several media outlets, including MSNBC, have reported that the party reversed course Thursday and will not run the ad. The ad has been scheduled to begin running Monday on evening newscasts in North Carolina…

Daves, of Charlotte, said the reports originated with a “miscommunication” among party leaders, including National Committeeman Dave Lewis.

“He made the statement, `We’re going to run the ad once,’ or something,” Daves said. “It’s a work in progress. We could run it once. We could run it five times.”