13 September 2008

Obama Responds to McCain Ads “With the Truth”

That’s his claim: Senator Obama will counter Senator McCain’s current round of television and Internet ads with “the truth.”

Whether or not the Obama campaign will begin running ads that mirror those of the McCain campaign, they’ve certainly chosen to remind voters of Senator McCain’s decades-long Congressional presence, and his participation in policies that have contributed to the nation’s current situation. In Dover, New Hampshire, Obama addressed voters at a town hall meeting,

“We can’t afford four more years of out-of-touch, you’re-on-your-own leadership in Washington,” Mr. Obama said in Dover, N.H. “John McCain likes to rail against the Washington herd, but the truth is when it comes to issues that really matter in your lives, he’s been running in that herd for 26 years.”

These comments raise the question whether Senator McCain would break ranks with that herd once he became president, or would he propose or enact policies that reflect his similarities with President George W. Bush?

Obama's comments manifest in the newest Obama ad, which zeroes in on Senator McCain’s attempts to identify himself as an agent of change after “running with that herd for 26 years”:

The Obama ad counters McCain's promise to change Washington with reminders of the length of time that has passed since the Arizona senator was first elected to Congress. After flashing on screen the year he was first elected, 1982, the ad uses such dated imagery of the era as a mirrored disco ball, a chunky early cell phone, a record turntable and a Rubik's cube.

Though the ad does not specifically mention McCain's age, which Obama has avoided making an explicit issue, it clearly serves as a reminder.

Senator McCain’s age, or Senator McCain’s time in Washington ? Of course, the two are inseparable, someone who spends twenty or thirty years in Washington is bound to be an older person. However, the ad also alludes to McCain’s unfamiliarity with innovations such as email. This particular swipe is a step into the season’s sandbox silliness; while the ad’s analogy—that McCain remains tied to the past—might be correct, Obama’s campaign would be more on target to train its attentions specifically on the McCain campaign’s economic policies and McCain’s recent Congressional record. Some metaphors don’t work, and they might even alienate some (in this case older) voters.

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