McCain Chicago Attack Ad to Air Nationally

Bump and Update: On a conference call today, McCain's campaign said the ad described below will air nationally and in the battleground states.
Steve Schmidt, a top McCain strategist, said the TV ad was a “real buy” that would air nationally and “will air across the depth and breadth of the battleground states.” Schmidt also belittled the media for not providing a “symmetry” to their probing of Obama’s background compared to the scrubbing that the team of McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has received.

Original Post: 9: 52 a.m.

McCain Ad Attacks Obama and Chicago Machine

Displaying his customary lack of self-awareness, John McCain has released an ad about Obama and the Chicago machine on the first day of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens trial.

I read the ad and substitute Gov. Sarah Palin for Barack Obama -- and Ted Stevens and his cronies, including a lobbying firm with close ties to Stevens, for those named from Chicago. [More...]

“His economic adviser, William Daley. Lobbyist. Mayor's brother. His money man, Tony Rezko. Client. Patron. Convicted Felon.

His "political godfather." Emil Jones. Under ethical cloud. His governor, Rod Blagojevich. A legacy of federal and state investigations.

With friends like that, Obama is not ready to lead.”

Either is Sarah Palin, and she's got no relevant national experience and the evangelical right behind her to boot.

Sarah Palin and Ted Stevens:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin began building clout in her state's political circles in part by serving as a director of an independent political group organized by the now embattled Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

Palin's name is listed on 2003 incorporation papers of the "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.," a 527 group that could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors. The group was designed to serve as a political boot camp for Republican women in the state. She served as one of three directors until June 2005, when her name was replaced on state filings.

On Palin's connections to a Stevens-connected lobbying firm:

As mayor of Wasilla, however, Palin oversaw the hiring of Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh, an Anchorage-based law firm with close ties to Alaska's most senior Republicans: Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens, who was indicted in July on charges of accepting illegal gifts. The Wasilla account was handled by the former chief of staff to Stevens, Steven W. Silver, who is a partner in the firm.

Don't even bother raising the argument that Palin is only running for Vice-President. She'd be a heartbeat away from the Presidency should the 72 year old McCain, with four bouts of cancer in his medical history, become unable to serve. And if you think Vice Presidents have no real power, you haven't followed Dick Cheney in the past 8 years.

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    I saw the ad today (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by kenosharick on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 10:58:58 AM EST
    and it is actually pretty mild. I am still surprised the repubs and right-wing 527s have not gone way negative yet.

    They are building a case (none / 0) (#56)
    by Salo on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 06:52:07 PM EST
    Obama is the child of 68 street fighting.

    He's in the pocket of devilish Syrian Financiers.

    and waht was the other one?


    Oh yes (none / 0) (#57)
    by Salo on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 06:55:16 PM EST
    He's a Chicagoan Machine Pol.

    That might be an interesting attack from the perspective of midwestern states that border Illinois and various people who have witnessed the way Illinois functions politically.

    I understand that a large number of small bussiness owners in Missoui, Indiana etc detest the power of the Democratic Machine in Illinois.

    There's also the Obama big city ID and the poor clingy hick thing to exploit.


    His governor! Gasp. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by lilburro on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:12:54 AM EST
    I hope mine doesn't do anything ruinous to my reputation in the near future.  

    PS. . . (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:14:14 AM EST
    I'll see "Obama's governor" and raise you "McCain's President".

    I'm already. . . (none / 0) (#8)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:13:31 AM EST
    out of luck.

    Good Point (none / 0) (#30)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 01:13:17 PM EST
    By this ads reckoning you should be the target of  Vice Investigation.

    So.... (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by kdog on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:50:58 AM EST
    the feds are about to increase the national debt by 20% with the stroke of some pens and McCain is running with this tired sh*t?

    Maybe he'd have scored some points with this 2 weeks ago, but now I don't think anyone cares.  To quote the latest issue of The Economist..."The Federal Reserve and the Treasury are nationalizing the financial sector faster than you can say Hugo Chavez".  

    Earth to John...it's all about the bailout baby. If you could use your clout to put the kibosh on the bailout, that'll help your poll numbers.  Same for Obama...stop this bailout, at least in the current rush-rush form, and the election is yours.

    are dems (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:55:32 AM EST
    still trying to prove that their presidential candidate is more qualified than the repub vice presidential candidate? Does this sound like a winning strategy?

    An Introduction (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Cairo Faulkner on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 06:13:55 PM EST
    This ad strikes me as an introduction. The way it highlights each individual, I expect follow-up ads to this going in greater detail for each one. They'll probably see how this goes down, and shelve it if it doesn't work. In addition, they may be relying on 527s to be more vicious.

    McCain's people must feel very comfortable (2.00 / 1) (#6)
    by steviez314 on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:10:15 AM EST
    that they can ignore any potential "Keating Five" attack ad.

    That was 25 years ago. Not exactly (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by hairspray on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:25:40 AM EST
    recent history. Many younger voters weren't even aware of that scandal.

    I'm not sure younger voters (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Faust on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:30:20 AM EST
    are where Obama has his biggest problem.

    amazing! (none / 0) (#12)
    by wystler on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:30:06 AM EST
    so simply dismissed as old, like a young'un'd do with a black & white bit of visual media

    uh ... wasn't the S&L crash startling similar to ... ??? (albeit, in a much smaller way?)


    I imagine. . . (none / 0) (#18)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:34:52 AM EST
    Many younger voters weren't even aware of that scandal.

    . . . they will be.


    Sure (3.00 / 1) (#21)
    by CST on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:40:28 AM EST
    but it doesn't matter

    Younger voters don't trust McCain anyway.  They are already in the basket for Obama.  And I have a feeling they will be turning out in greater numbers than people expect.


    NYT article re McCain (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:57:38 AM EST
    and female telecomm lobbyist seemed to give McCain a pass on Keating 5 despite detailed discussion of the scenario.  

    They can't ignore it, and reminders (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:58:58 AM EST
    would serve Obama.  My spouse was one, and a smart one, who said he had forgotten McCain's connection to Keating until I reminded him.  So reminders to those older voters could pay off.

    Btw, spouse will vote for Obama, anyway (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 12:48:21 PM EST
    (and was for Clinton in the primary here) -- but I think that it could serve to remind older voters about the McCain-Keating connection as insulation, anyway.  Insulation now to firm up votes for Obama is a good plan, if the expected 527 attacks come.  Then it can be too late to strengthen some voters' resolve, as it can be too late then to cut through the clutter -- and as the reactive responses are defensive responses, which work less well.  

    This whole 'Chicago Machine' thing seems so '60s (none / 0) (#2)
    by steviez314 on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:01:11 AM EST
    Now when people hear Chicago they only think of Cubs and Bears.

    Hilarious, Stevie! (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by oldpro on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 01:42:26 PM EST
    So Chicago only gives rise to thoughts of the Cubs and 'da Bears,' hmmm?

    You'd be surprised, I guess, how many of us lived through the 60s, remember especially '68 in Chicago and recognize the Daley name and the Daley machine politics.  And FYI...we always vote.

    One more thing...those without a sports fixation might actually have seen the movie or the stage show in recent years and think of Richard Gere or Roxy! or any number of non-Bear/non-Cubs images.


    Traffic (none / 0) (#4)
    by pooks1976 on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:05:12 AM EST
    I don't follow sports, when I think Chicago I think traffic and those awful speed cameras.

    Chicago is pretty bad though (none / 0) (#5)
    by votermom on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:06:56 AM EST
    with the Silver Shovel stuff.

    (I'm not saying Obama is part of that, but wasn't Axelrod was Daley's spokesman during that period?"


    Well, this should have been expected (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:02:45 AM EST
    I wonder how, if at all, Obama intends to deal with it. Politico suggests that it's not really going to be aired anywhere.

    He should deal with it (none / 0) (#14)
    by CST on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:30:34 AM EST
    By ignoring it and focusing on the economy.  Keep it to the issues.  If something must be done, let surrogates hit back and keep his own hands clean.  It will make McCain seem petty.

    Bingo (none / 0) (#19)
    by TheRizzo on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:35:29 AM EST
    Even if the ad gets played in many states, its really not something to fight back on.  It was pretty mild in the attack so just ignore it and stay on message.

    Save the fight for later in the month when the real hard hitting ads start coming and the return of Rev Wright etc.


    Riiiiight, CST... (none / 0) (#35)
    by oldpro on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 01:47:48 PM EST
    like those swiftboaters seemed petty picking on that nice Lt. Kerry, a war hero with cred to burn.

    Uh huh.


    Nonsense (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by daring grace on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 06:10:24 PM EST
    There may be plenty of Viet vets who resent Kerry's eventual anti war efforts, and are now willing to believe the worst about him, but his service and the fact that he earned his citations and medals is well documented by people who were there on the boat with him as well as the fellow serviceman he rescued.

    What is the basis for your alleged fact? (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 08:28:58 PM EST
    Let me give you some other facts:

    As generally understood, the Purple Heart is given to any U.S. citizen wounded in wartime service to the nation.

    One of the mission's support helicopters had been hit by small-arms fire during the trip  up the Bo De and the rest had returned with it to their base to refuel and get the damage inspected. While there the pilots found that they wouldn't be able to return to the Swifts for several more hours. "We therefore had a choice: to wait for what was not a confirmed return by the helos [and] give any snipers more time to set up an ambush for our exit or we could take a chance and exit immediately without any cover," Kerry recorded in his notebook. "We chose the latter."

    Just as they moved out onto the Cua Lon, at a junction known for unfriendliness in the past, kaboom! PCF-94 had taken a rocket-propelled grenade round off the port side, fired at them from the far left bank. Kerry felt a piece of hot shrapnel bore into his left leg.

    With blood running down the deck, the Swift managed to make an otherwise uneventful exit into the Gulf of Thailand, where they rendezvoused with a Coast Guard cutter. The injury Kerry suffered in that action earned his his second Purple Heart.

    Historian Douglas Brinkley

    For the record, Purple Hearts are given for the following enemy-related injuries:

    a) Injury caused by enemy bullet, shrapnel or other projectile created by enemy action.

    b) Injury caused by enemy-placed mine or trap.

    c) Injury caused by enemy-released chemical, biological or nuclear agent.

    d) Injury caused by vehicle or aircraft accident resulting from enemy fire.

    e) Concussion injuries caused as a result of enemy-generated explosions.

    Does anybody dispute that Kerry's wound was created by enemy action? As the stipulation also makes clear, Kerry would have been awarded a Purple Heart even if he never bled, if, for example, he had suffered a concussion from a grenade. So to set the record straight: Kerry deserved his first Purple Heart -- period. To say otherwise is to distort the reality of the medal.

    Do you dispute the wound was created by enemy action ?

    Kerry earned his purple hearts.  The SBVT by the way, claimed Kerry's first wound was self inflicted. Get your smears straight!

    How are those McCain points coming?


    Darthnole (none / 0) (#62)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 01:04:07 AM EST
    was a troll and has been vaporized.

    I know a lot of Viet vets (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 08:57:30 PM EST
    and not a one would say what you said here.  Nor would the Iraq and Afghanistan vets I know -- because they know that Kerry qualified without question for the Purple Heart, and you don't know a thing about the requirements.

    And because the men and women I know have a solidarity from the field that is amazing to see to this day, even among those who hated the war.  Actually, all of them I know hated the war -- as anyone who ever actually has been in one does.


    Yea (none / 0) (#40)
    by CST on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 05:12:13 PM EST
    The swiftboaters didn't come out in the middle of an economic crisis.  That changes things.

    Obviously negative ads work, but they have to be timely.  This is bad timing on McCain's part, IMO.


    Doesn't matter where it gets aired (none / 0) (#20)
    by ruffian on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:39:44 AM EST
    It will get talked about and 'aired' by the MSM talking heads. Surrogates better be ready.

    #1 makes sense in Midwest swing states (none / 0) (#15)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:31:53 AM EST
    if it's restricted to those.  There is a love-hate relationship in a lot of the upper Midwest with Chitown, owing to a certain arrogance it has toward its surrounding "hicks" -- and for those of us close to it, its corruption resonates.

    Frankly, I think that national ad buys ought to be limited.  This is a very regionalized nation, as marketers know who tailor messages by regions.

    Even economic messages have to be tailored, much as you're spot on that, as Carville famously said to win before, it's about the economy.  But the economic message to parts of the suffering upper Midwest, for example, would be different even from the message to other parts.  I.e., Minnesota is in comparatively good shape, but not so in its neighbors to the east, Wisconsin and Michigan.

    Watch for whether Obama tailors his message in Wisconsin today.  I'm betting he/Axelrove will have something to say about the economy today, and that it will be a message for Green Bay that will not be quite like the message would be in Milwaukee -- or much of the rest of the state.

    RNC (none / 0) (#16)
    by TheRizzo on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:34:03 AM EST
    Also helps pay for McCain's ads and they are the ones that are really bringing in the cash so its not like McCain is having to use only the public financing money to support his whole campaign and ads.  

    When you factor in McCain, the RNC and the 527's the right wing can go pretty toe to toe with Obama in ads if they want.  Remember Obama has a much larger staff and operation costs for offices, payroll and travel expenses which really eat into his fund raising which is why he has to fund raise so hard right now to make sure he has the funds to compete since the DNC is doing a poor job of fund raising right now.

    I agree the Obama campaign should (none / 0) (#17)
    by hairspray on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:34:39 AM EST
    stay focused on this economy although the Reppublican apologists in our newspaper are saying that it isn't really so bad.  They are trying to play this as the Democratic ploy: "the sky is falling."  Indeed, that could work in the short term because these things don't affect most people until a few months down the road and by that time the election is over.  That is why the weak tea responses from Obama have not taken as much hold as they should.  there needs to be more urgency in Obama's voice and actions.  This weekend my rather liberal paper reports, neither candidate offered any new proposals on the economic meltdown.  Of course Paulson was blanketing the TV programs with pleas to take the Bush medicine NOW.

    Yeah, the sky's not falling (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by litigatormom on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 12:41:28 PM EST
    That's why our government has nationalized Freddie, Fannie and AIG, and is allowing financial institutions that bought all those mortgage-backed pieces of crap to get them off their books.  Because the sky is not falling.

    Paulson apparently told Congressional leaders on Thursday that the sky WAS falling. And no one is saying that the Paulsen plan is going to magically end the current financial crisis.  It's supposed to slow the downward spiral in values long enough for the crappy papers to be sold in an orderly way.  Problem is, the paper is so crappy that no one really knows at this point what it's worth.  And as long as foreclosures continue at the current pace -- and there is nothing to prevent that in Paulsen's plan -- then the value of the crappy paper will continue to grow crappier in the government's hands.

    To really cut off the spiral effect of the foreclosure crisis on the size of the government bailout, you have to provide homeowners with foreclosure relief, i.e., allow them to restructure their loans so that they can stay in their homes, rather than having those homes come into a deteriorating housing market. I don't see where Paulsen's plan does that.  Dodd's proposal of today attempts to address that problem, although I don't know whether the proposal would be practicable.  In any event, the administration will take the "my way or the highway, you don't have time to negotiate or even think" approach to passing the legislation, and the Dems will probably capitulate for fear of being called obstructionist.


    I would love to see Obama step up to (none / 0) (#37)
    by hairspray on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 04:01:52 PM EST
    the plate on this.  He is the potential leader and could call the tune pretty well at this time.  The Democratic congress really NEEDS him and he could drive a hard bargain if he tried.

    Yeaahh.... (none / 0) (#44)
    by PWT on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 05:42:54 PM EST
    There will be no joy in Mudvielle if Barry steps up to the plate.  He is best served sitting on the bench.  He has not got the gravitas or the knowledge to handle this problem, for that matter, few in Washington do.  Sadly, no one will listen to the ones that know what to do because they would ask ALL americans to bear some of the burden, i.e., tax increases for high income earners and reduced services for low income earners - that is only fair after all.  

    Hardly fair... (none / 0) (#50)
    by alexei on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 06:32:38 PM EST
    low income earners already have "reduced" services - in many case, none at all like health care.  Whereas, heaven forbid, high income "earners" would really be hurting with taxes like they had in the 1990s, yea what a hardship for those poor high income "earners".

    I don't think this is lack of self-awareness. (none / 0) (#24)
    by Joelarama on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 11:52:30 AM EST
    The Republicans' MO is to go on the offense where they are weakest at the moment.  Thus, when real evidence of corruption is associated with Republicans, they accuse Democrats of corruption.

    It often works for them.

    Um, what? (none / 0) (#31)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 01:19:02 PM EST
    Obama ran against the Daley machine to get his Senate seat (his winning the primary is actually one of the more impressive political wins he's had), and "his Governor" seriously, what the hell, does John "Keating 5" McCain really want to go there:

    His Buddy "Duke" Cunningham in Jail for bribery
    His AZ campaign head (AZ Congressman) under indictment
    His political patron Keating bribes 5 congressmen only one doesn't have the deceny to man up and resign.
    Seriously, John McCain is sleazy he's skates through this crap due to his "honor."

    Forget the polls, Obama will win, (none / 0) (#32)
    by KeysDan on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 01:19:41 PM EST
    based on the newest indicia: William Kristol, who in today's NYTimes op-ed argues against Paulson's plan to such an extent that I almost thought I was reading Paul Krugman's article on the opposite side of the page. If Kristol and right-wingers of his ilk are suddenly concerned about transparency, oversight and vesting too much authority in the executive branch, they must feel (fear) that Mr. Obama will win.  The Paulson plan may be OK if the Republicans are in control, but the fear of an Obama win changes everything.  

    Perceptive comment (none / 0) (#33)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 01:37:17 PM EST
    and thanks -- yes, Kristol is the ultimate Villager.  You may have figured out how to figure out what they're up to, and you now can relax out of the required pretzel position to think like them.:-)

    The pretzel has taken (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by KeysDan on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 04:58:35 PM EST
    a different twist here, in that previously I have used Bill Kristol for determining what is right by considering the opposite of what he says.  After all, he has been wrong on just about everything so thinking the opposite usually puts me in good stead.

    He's channeling Glenn Greenwald (none / 0) (#36)
    by oldpro on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 02:00:32 PM EST
    yesterday and today's posts...

    Glenn nails it, as he often does.


    Yes they are going back to (none / 0) (#38)
    by Salo on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 04:07:19 PM EST
    little government arguments. Although, that theoretcially works for Mccainin too.

    Apparently that conference call (none / 0) (#42)
    by indy in sc on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 05:20:31 PM EST
    was something to behold.  They called Obama a liar and backed up the claim with...lies.

    . . . which may be a way of challenging media (none / 0) (#43)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 05:34:54 PM EST
    to prove McCain's camp wrong on these "exaggerations," as Politico calls them (I may have missed that it calls them lies, too).  

    So to disprove the McCain camp, the media do discuss these stories -- and that may not be good for Dems.  I.e., it's a tactic that can work when media aren't doing their work.  But media are so accustomed to having their work done for them that it may not work anymore.


    Politico didn't say "lies" (none / 0) (#45)
    by indy in sc on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 05:44:30 PM EST
    --that was my extrapolation.  They described the claims as "misstatements of fact."  They did point out in an earlier post that this was the McCain camp's attempt at
    'Hey, look over here' politics" -- the campaign's urgent attempt to change the subject from the economy.

    But you're right, time spent on this is time away from where Obama wants to be right now which is "all economy, all the time."  Probably why the O campaign hasn't responded to today's McCain conference call.


    You may want to reword this part, Jeralyn (none / 0) (#46)
    by Dawn Davenport on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 05:49:27 PM EST
    "With friends like that, Obama is not ready to lead."

    Either is Sarah Palin,

    Because it sounds like an admission that Obama isn't ready to lead--unless you meant by the qualifier after that the difference is that Obama has the relevant national experience and has rejected the support of evangelicals.

    Which neither are are true... (none / 0) (#52)
    by alexei on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 06:37:49 PM EST
    he has very little Senate experience since he has been campaigning full time for Prez and his latest, greatest "Lallapollaza" tour with Kmiec has already been discussed in another thread.

    I agree that the ad is pretty weak tea, but... (none / 0) (#47)
    by outsider on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 06:06:02 PM EST
    ...it might have another purpose.  The quote from Schmidt in the update suggests that the McMain campaign is trying to provoke the media to going for another round of digging into Obama's past.  And, if they take the bait, thus changing the media narrative, that is bad for Obama, whether they find anything or not.

    Exactly. (none / 0) (#53)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 06:43:52 PM EST
    See #43 above.  But let's see if the media remember what they learned in journalism school.

    At least, those who actually went to journalism school.  Fewer of those all the time. . . .


    It's the start of thematic (none / 0) (#58)
    by Salo on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 06:58:20 PM EST
    three pronged attack on Obama's background.

    Daley, Rezko and Chicagoans.  They also seem to have slipped in a refernece to 68


    This is (none / 0) (#59)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 07:58:09 PM EST
    the way I saw it too. It's an introduction to Obama's associations.

    Chicago Trib (none / 0) (#63)
    by JThomas on Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 10:18:24 AM EST
    editorial page responded today to the McCain ad and basically said it was bull. They are no friend to Obama but they said flat out that he was not Daleys or Blago's guy. And that Obama met with them on Rezko and answered every question to their satifaction.

    They admitted that Chicago has earned their bad rep as corrupt but made it clear that Obama was not in the mud with the rest.