McCain campaign blocks own ad from YouTube

A campaign ad for Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Meghan McCain knocks Bannon: 'Who the hell are you' to criticize Romney? Dems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress MORE's 2010 reelection bid was blocked on YouTube earlier this week, per a request from the Arizona Republican's 2016 reelection campaign.

The ad was uploaded by the campaign of McCain challenger Rep. Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickHouse Dems highlight promising new candidates Vulnerable House incumbents build up war chests Cook Political Report shifts 11 House races towards Democrats MORE (D-Ariz.), and it was unmodified except for the addition of Spanish subtitles. The spot shows McCain walking by the border fence and telling Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu to "complete the danged fence."

ADVERTISEMENT
"John McCain is trying to hide his comments and agenda from the Latino community and Arizonans now that he admits he's caught in the 'race of his life,' " said D.B. Mitchell, a Kirkpatrick campaign spokesman.

McCain acknowledged earlier this month the challenge of confronting a confluence of anti-immigrant rhetoric by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE and an increasingly Hispanic voting population in Arizona.

The ad in question was not blocked because of its content, according to Lorna Romero, a McCain campaign spokeswoman.

"The Kirkpatrick campaign launched a digital ad which was a clear copyright violation and YouTube agreed," Romero said.

The subtitled TV spot was reinstated Thursday, but it was not immediately clear if YouTube acted unilaterally or with input from the McCain campaign.

Mitchell argued that political ads fall under fair use regulations, a notoriously difficult-to-interpret area of copyright law. According to Stanford University, fair use of copyrighted content must either fall under "commentary and criticism" or "parody."

McCain can expect to be aggressively targeted, not only because Democrats would revel in toppling one of the Republican Party's most prominent senators, but because they believe the Hispanic vote can turn Arizona into a swing state for the presidential election.

"McCain's admission that his own Trump-like commercial is a political liability isn't 'straight talk,' it's more proof he's changed after 33 years in Washington," Mitchell said.

But McCain's record on immigration parts from Trump's 2016 rhetoric. As a member of the Gang of Eight, McCain helped write and promote 2013's comprehensive immigration reform bill, which passed the Senate but never made it to the House floor.

"John McCain is very proud of his long record of working to reform our broken immigration system and secure our border, while Democrat Congresswoman Kirkpatrick has zero record of accomplishment on this important issue," said Romero.

Regardless, Democrats have made it clear they will use Trump's reputation with Hispanics to attack vulnerable down-ballot candidates.

Babeu is running for Congress in Arizona's 1st District, Kirkpatrick's current seat.

Scott Wong contributed to this report.

This story was updated Friday, May 20 to reflect that the video in question has been reinstated.