New Obama Ad Takes On McCain

Given Barack Obama's secure position, he doesn't need to describe John McCain as "erratic in crisis."

It is a loaded term and a not-subtle suggestion that the 72-year-old senator's age and temperament might be an issue.

McCain's temperament is an issue, but not one the Obama campaign ads need to address directly. At this point in the campaign, Obama has no reason not to take the high road. Apart from that quotation, the ad nicely links McCain to Bush on the economy while condemning McCain for launching false attacks when he should be proposing economic solutions. Does it work for you?

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    It's a waste of money (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by esmense on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 04:48:59 PM EST
    They don't need to demonize McCain. They need to reassure people and get them excited by, and therefore ready to come out and vote for, Obama (rather than stay home).

    People know we need change. But do they know what kind of change Obama represents? Obama's real opponent at this point isn't McCain -- its the apathy and distrust that might keep some voters, who could be decisive in the always close swing states, away from the polls.

    Great point (none / 0) (#9)
    by ruffian on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 04:55:00 PM EST
    I think trying to recapture that enthusiasm would be a great idea.  People are really tired of this campaign.

    Won't bring in new voters (none / 0) (#41)
    by sj on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 01:05:29 PM EST
    Recapturing that enthusiasm might bring those young voters to the polls.  But the issue is that for the "not-preconverted" the enthusiasm wasn't there to begin with.  

    esmense is right.  He can't recapture undefined "hopey-changey".  Obama needs to define what type of change he represents in order to bring in new voters.


    Demonizing McCain is fine with me (none / 0) (#33)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 07:53:03 PM EST
    I want him to walk away from this election with a limp if he can walk away at all.  

    I'm not much of a joiner or belonger (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by esmense on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 08:50:36 PM EST
    -- appeals based on tribal nonsense tend to drive me away rather than make me want to be part of a particular group. I don't vote based on how much I hate the other team.

    If that's what turns you on, fine.


    McCain and his "team" ... (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by FreakyBeaky on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 12:14:27 AM EST
    ... have run this country into the ground, and they propose to do it some more.

    If that strikes you as "tribal nonsense," fine.


    This sounds idealistic: (none / 0) (#40)
    by esmense on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 11:34:24 AM EST
    "I tolerate with the utmost latitude the right of others to differ from me in opinion without imputing to them criminality. I know too well the weakness and uncertainty of human reason to wonder at its different results. Both of our political parties, at least the honest part of them, agree conscientiously in the same object--the public good; but they differ essentially in what they deem the means of promoting that good. One side...fears most the ignorance of the people; the other, the selfishness of rulers independent of them. Which is right, time and experience will prove." Thomas Jefferson

    But, in fact, it is an attitude that must prevail if democracy, in a country and society as diverse as ours, is to prevail.


    works for me (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Howard Zinn on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 04:50:59 PM EST
    If Obama just coasts, he could wake up one day to see that McCain is dictating the focus of the campaign again and has put him on the defensive, lipstick style.  Ratcheting up the pressure on McCain isn't necessarily a bad thing, IMO, just as long as McCain is seen in the MSM as the swift-boater, not the other way around.

    Research suggests that negative ads (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by esmense on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 06:04:16 PM EST
    diminish turnout.

    In this race, the candidate who benefits from discouraged, cynical and apathetic voters is McCain, not Obama.

    McCain's turn toward harsh, negative advertising at this point makes sense strategically. He needs to diminish trust in and enthusiasm for his opponent.

    But they same tactic makes no sense for Obama.


    Exactly (none / 0) (#38)
    by phatpay on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 10:53:09 PM EST
    he needs to be on point.
    This is not a country that is dominated by the intelligentsia.
    They need to be reminded of the stark contrasts each candidate represents.
    Obama is doing it with a soft touch on that one.
    Worked for me.
    Especially the close with him smiling alongside of Bush.

    I'll add that I saw this ad actually on TV (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by ruffian on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 04:52:58 PM EST
    here in FL this morning.  One of the few times I've seen an ad on TV before I've heard about it in the internet. Right after it was a similarly negative McCain ad about Obama's economic positions.  I think for most people they probably cancel eachother out.  Then later there was a positive McCain ad, with him talking about how he knows times are hard, blah blah blah and we're going to get through it.  I think an Obama ad in that vein would be helpful to him.

    Well, "which ad did you see last?" (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by andgarden on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 04:54:00 PM EST
    is an important metric. Obama will win that one by outspending McCain.

    It will be interesting (none / 0) (#11)
    by ruffian on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 05:02:24 PM EST
    I've never lived in a battleground state before. Solid blue Illinois and California, and solid red Colorado (last election anyway), so I have been spared the ad wars.

      I usually tune out commercials - never sit and watch them,  but I'll try to pay attention, just to get a feel for how they are going.


    I lived in PA in 2000 (none / 0) (#14)
    by andgarden on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 05:22:58 PM EST
    so I was inundated with them. This particular commercial is tattooed on my brain.

    Wow. I remember that one (none / 0) (#15)
    by ruffian on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 05:31:19 PM EST
    But I didn't see it all that much in Colorado at the time.

    Al Gore looks so young!  But then so did I 8 years ago.


    Obama (none / 0) (#34)
    by prose on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 07:58:58 PM EST
    has that ad.  He has several in Indiana where he is just sitting and talking to the camera.  I think he has to walk the line of cutting off the swift-boating and not going negative.

    Erratic (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by WS on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 05:03:32 PM EST
    People will associate erratic with McCain's recent gyrations over the economic meltdown. Like Obama said,

    "He's now going around saying, 'I'm going to crack down on Wall Street' . . . but the truth is he's been saying 'I'm all for deregulation' for 26 years,"

    "He hasn't been getting tough on CEOs. He hasn't been getting tough on Wall Street. . . . Suddenly a crisis comes and the polls change, and suddenly he's out there talking like Jesse Jackson."

    What's perplexing is that McCain proposed a regulation moratorium back in the mid 1990's probably in the throes of conservative fervor after retaking Congress.  McCain cannot be trusted.  

    Whaaa? (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by AF on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 05:43:31 PM EST
    Since when is erratic an age-related term?  If anything, age and experience is supposed to make you steady at the helm, while the young and inexperienced are supposed to be erratic.

    John McCain has had an erratic temperament since he was a young man and has run his campaign erratically.  It is absolutely a legitimate issue for Obama to raise and has nothing to do with age.

    Erratic... (none / 0) (#32)
    by wasabi on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 07:20:42 PM EST
    In viewing the ad I didn't perceive "erratic" as referring to his age.  I think that's a bit of a stretch for someone to relate age with erratic behaviour, unless one personally has someone with dementia in the family.  I don't thankfully, so I didn't make the connection.

    I have to agree that his campaign has been erratic of late.


    Are You Kidding? (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Nevart on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 06:02:59 PM EST
    "Erratic" is not a charged word -- it's an accurate description of McCain's behavior over the past month and an important indicator of how he would govern.  It's perfectly legitimate -- and not a low blow.

    And this ad is designed as well to deflect some of the sting from the crap that McCain will now throw at Obama about Ayers, Rezko, etc.

    Better this pre-emptive ad than an Obama ad that goes after McCain for his associations with Charles Keating, G. Gordon Liddy and the bunch of whackos and anti-Semites that Paul Begala mentioned this morning on Meet the Press.  

    Obama -- or better, a 527 like MoveOn -- may have to go there at some point, if McCain gets any traction with the Ayers stuff, but it would be better if he didn't have to.

    But he didn't start this "character" food-fight -- and if McCain really wants to go there, he has every right to hit back just as hard.

    Agreed, (5.00 / 0) (#23)
    by KeysDan on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 06:38:51 PM EST
    erratic is not necessarily age-related. It is descriptive of McCain's inconstant behaviors and positions.  We speak often in judge selection of the need for a judicial temperament, and it is certainly, of equal or greater import as a criterion in the evaluation of a presidential candidate. McCain's unpredictable temperament is not new and has been mentioned  by a fellow Republican senator (e.g. Thad Cochran).  His mercurial temperament has surfaced on the campaign trail  and was a topic in the recent interview given to the Des Moines Register.  We have policy examples in his speeches on the financial crisis such as where he is at war with himself in the same paragraph (e.g., we need less regulations, but more oversight).  If, for some, the word erratic itself is counterproductive, it, for pragmatic reasons, should be jettisoned. However, the concern for a "steady-hand" should not be.

    An accurate term can be (none / 0) (#30)
    by Cream City on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 07:16:15 PM EST
    a charged term, so your dichotomous reasoning is unclear.  Explain?

    McCain has definitely been erratic recently (5.00 / 0) (#22)
    by lilburro on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 06:32:01 PM EST
    take his suspending the campaign as just one example.  His follow up on that was simply pathetic.  So I think recent events will support the relevance of the "erratic" characterization.  As far as McCain's temperament goes?  I think that is totally fair game.  Now is a good time to put in a good dig about that.  

    Obama's best ad is the one where he is (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Teresa on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 06:50:51 PM EST
    alone speaking to the camera and talking to us about the economy.

    Totally wrong... (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Addison on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 06:57:50 PM EST
    ...it reinforces a narrative AND puts the economy as a front and center issue of a campaign ahead of a McCain distraction narrative attempt.

    The idea that this ad is wrongheaded is nonsense.

    It's hard to believe that anyone thinks this week's push is a mistake.


    When the GOP is floundering.... (5.00 / 0) (#28)
    by A DC Wonk on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 07:12:19 PM EST
    throw them an anvil.

    Sorry -- but "Erratic" does describe McCain's loony "suspend the campaign and debate" stump.

    And, for that matter, "Erratic" describes his pick of Palin, too.

    As for McCain's temperament, DC insiders have known for a long time (decades) his tendency to fly off the handle in a very serious way, hold grudges, etc.  (Refusing to make eye-contact with Obama during the debate, etc.)  His actions at the White House meeting, the day after he "suspended" his campaign, back that up.

    A comparison of McCain's temperament and Obama's projection of calm, cool, and collected in a time a crisis is a fair comparison to make.

    Not negative to me (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by obiden08 on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 07:16:13 PM EST
    Obama will never do anything that satisfies all of us, it seems.

    When I read the text of this ad, I was bothered by the "erratic" and hoped that when I saw the video it would be presented in an article.

    After I saw the ad, and saw that the phrase was taken from a newspaper, I was okay with it.

    "Dishonorable" ...about time (5.00 / 0) (#37)
    by pluege on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 09:33:44 PM EST
    they finally used it - a key word and concept that everyone understands. Its exceptional and good that they describe Big Liar John the way he is: dishonorable.  

    The ad complains about an "assault" (4.00 / 2) (#1)
    by ruffian on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 04:45:34 PM EST
    on Obama, during an ad assaulting McCain.

    I have no idea if these negative ads work.  Focus groups say they don't, but I I've been told focus groups are not the real test. They don't work on me because I'm a sceptic - i don't believe anything I hear in advertising.  

    The ad experts I hear interviewed say this time around people want ads that offer solutions.

    This is the kind of ad that, if McCain ran it, we'd be calling him desperate.

    Of course ... (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 04:48:30 PM EST
    in politics anything your opponent does is described as "desperate."

    wha... (5.00 / 0) (#35)
    by prose on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 08:00:30 PM EST
    I'd call this responding to swift-boating.

    Okay ad ... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 04:45:39 PM EST
    but why does it say:

    Struggling families can't afford to turn the page on this economy.

    And families that aren't struggling can?

    I would prefer:

    Your family can't afford to turn the page on this economy.

    If you look at demographics... (none / 0) (#27)
    by Addison on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 06:58:49 PM EST
    ...in the swing states it's families that are struggling that are up for grabs.

    It is a loaded term and no need to give impression (none / 0) (#3)
    by befuddledvoter on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 04:45:58 PM EST
    that Obama camp is slamming McCain on the age issue.

    I just returned from wedding shower for only nephew. Sat at table with mostly middle aged suburban women and some older.  One was college educated, rest were not.  All voting for Obama. Some said they liked McCain until he chose Palin.  They think she is a nitwit.  Interesting to see this.  I am in Cambridge but the suburbs are not Cambridge.  Also, despite educational background none of these women thought Palin was competent.  Many resented her presentation of herself as "hockey mom" and thought the 5-children schtick was just that.  None thought she was in any way burdened the way other mothers of 5 are.  Eye opening afternoon.

    It is a loaded term, agreed (none / 0) (#16)
    by Cream City on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 05:34:09 PM EST
    and unwise for that reason.

    Interesting about your gathering -- I gather this is Cambridge near Boston, i.e., these all are Easterners?


    Yes, all Noreasters (none / 0) (#20)
    by befuddledvoter on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 06:08:45 PM EST
    but when you get outside the Boston/Cambridge area, the suburbs are really different.  This was heartening.  Note, all the women had been staunch supporters of Hillary prior.

    My own Cambridge/Somerville story (none / 0) (#21)
    by Coral on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 06:31:38 PM EST
    In a store, overheard conversation between saleswoman (50+) and customer (also 50+): "I don't care what kind of sex they're having in the White House... I care about how they're running the country." "Palin is Bush with lipstick."

    I asked, "So, who are you going to vote for?"

    Sad look from both women, "Obama, I guess. I was for Hillary...."

    This was last week. Of course, MA is going to Obama no matter what, but these are the type of voters that Obama needs to win...and they are, however reluctantly, going to vote Obama in November. Because, it's the economy, stupid.

    And, yes, they can't stand Palin. (Or, McCain).

    I'm hoping there are similar conversations going on in NH stores.

    I spent most of the last 2 weeks watching TV coverage of the unfolding financial meltdown. McCain is erratic in a crisis.

    I think it's perfectly okay to remind people of this in a TV ad.

    McCain/Palin are about to sling a lot of mud. And they aren't being coy about it.


    Stauch supporters of Clinton are Democrats (none / 0) (#24)
    by esmense on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 06:45:02 PM EST
    Yes, absolutely (none / 0) (#42)
    by befuddledvoter on Mon Oct 06, 2008 at 03:48:28 PM EST
    and that is making all the difference!!

    Thanks. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Cream City on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 07:17:47 PM EST
    I research regionalism, so your story is another indication of its significance.

    the erratic (none / 0) (#12)
    by ruffian on Sun Oct 05, 2008 at 05:03:07 PM EST
    are very sensitive!