BOSTON (AP) – U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and his niece, Caroline Kennedy, urged a Republican organization Thursday to pull ads that use the name and image of the late President John F. Kennedy.

The ads, which push for President Bush’s tax cut, are “politically irresponsible and grossly inaccurate,” the Kennedys wrote in a letter to the Club for Growth.

The organization said the ads would still run.

“John F. Kennedy’s name and image are in the public domain,” Club for Growth President Stephen Moore said in a telephone interview.

The disputed ads draw a parallel between tax cuts backed by President Kennedy, a Democrat; tax cuts backed by Republican President Ronald Reagan; and the cuts currently proposed by Republican President George W. Bush.

A narrator in the ad, which includes footage of President Kennedy, says, “President Kennedy cut income taxes and the economy soared. President Reagan cut taxes more and created 15 million new jobs. President Bush knows tax cuts create jobs and that helps balance the budget.”

The ad then urges citizens to tell their senator to “support the Kennedy, Reagan, Bush tax policy that will bring jobs back” to their state.

“The issue is not whether John F. Kennedy’s image is in the public domain,” said Stephanie Cutter, a spokesman for Sen. Kennedy. “The issue is giving viewers a false impression that President Bush’s tax cut is a responsible tax cut. Using John F. Kennedy’s name and image in an ad gives the Bush tax cut false legitimacy.”

The organization began running the ad in Ohio on Wednesday, targeting Sen. George Voinovich, and will begin running the same ad Friday in Maine against Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Club for Growth spokesman said. Both Republicans have drawn the ire of the organization because they haven’t supported Bush’s tax cut.

The letter sent by Sen. Kennedy, D-Mass., brother of the late president, and Caroline Kennedy, the president’s daughter, argued that Kennedy’s tax cut was different in crucial ways from Republican tax cuts.

Kennedy’s tax cut was focused primarily on “lower and middle income working families” in contrast to the Bush and Reagan tax cuts, which mainly help the wealthy, the letter argued.

While Bush’s plan proposes eliminating the tax on dividend income, President Kennedy opposed giving dividend income any special treatment, the letter said.

The letter also argued that if the Bush tax cuts were to pass, the country would be burdened by a $4 trillion deficit by 2013.

“The ad speaks for itself,” said Moore. “President Bush is trying to cut taxes and the economy will boom and will create more jobs if he’s successful.”

The Club for Growth’s stated mission is to elect candidates who support “the Reagan vision of limited government and lower taxes.”

The organization has 10,000 members, Moore said. The Club plans to spend $25,000 on the ads in Ohio and $20,000 in Maine.


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