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Uproar Leads Democrats to Pull Flag-Draped Casket Ad

Democrats pulled an Internet ad that showed flag-draped coffins Friday after Republicans and at least two Democrats demanded it be taken down on grounds the image was insensitive and not fit for a political commercial.

The ad by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called for a "new direction" and displayed a staccato of images, including war scenes, pollution and breached levees as well as a photograph of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay doctored to look like a police mug shot.

The campaign committee replaced the ad with a radio commercial that targets Rep. John Hostetler, R-Ind., for opposing an increase in the minimum wage. Democrats have made a minimum wage increase a central theme of this year's election.

Democrats had featured the video ad for nearly two weeks on the DCCC Web site where it had gone largely unnoticed until Republicans began objecting to it this week. On Thursday, more than a dozen Republicans, many with military backgrounds, called on DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., to apologize. Democratic Reps. John Spratt of South Carolina and Chet Edwards of Texas asked Emanuel to pull or alter the ad.

"We're moving to another major effort that we're highlighting on our Web site," DCCC spokesman Bill Burton said.

In South Carolina, Spratt's Republican challenger, state Rep. Ralph Norman, commended the removal. It was "the right thing to do for the state, country and especially the brave men and women who serve in our military," said Norman's spokesman, Nathan Hollifield.