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Lowering the Boom

This ad from John McCain aims not just to obliterate his opponent’s housing attack, but turn it to McCain’s advantage. Although on the road, I did manage to touch base with a McCain official who responded succinctly to my observation that the ad took no prisoners: ” The Obama camp will come to regret the decision they made.” From that I took away two things. First, the McCain camp saw the Obama slam at his multiple homes as a low blow aimed at his wife’s property holdings. Second, they were itching for an opening on Tony Rezko and were more than happy, on the eve of Obama’s convention, to walk through the door his campaign opened.

I agree entirely with Jonathan Martin–this isn’t the last we have heard about Rezko. The McCain camp isn’t going to fire a closing shot now. Stay tuned for more in October. (Rezko’s sentencing is now a week before the election.)

Meanwhile, the McCain camp put out another ad about The One. A few additions to the last version include Obama body surfing during his ill-timed vacation and potential VP Tim Kaine bizarrely and inaccurately praising the Russian withdrawal from Georgia at Obama’s urging. (That will come in handy if he’s the VP pick.)

All of this says something about where the race is heading: straight for Obama’s soft spots. The McCain team is aiming not just to minimize the impact of the Democratic Convention, but to use it as the next installation of their Obama-debunking ad offensive.

The message from these two ads is clear: Obama is a phony, one with sleazy relationships and a weirdly arrogant self-regard. Will this work? It has helped pull McCain into a tie, when most voters were only dimly paying attention. If the message permeates to the rest of the electorate and McCain continues to press his advantage on national security and energy, the summer may well end on a high note for the McCain camp. And suddenly the Obama team that could do no wrong against the Clinton campaign now looks like the gang that can’t quite shoot straight–or rather one that has handed over all the ammunition its opponents could possibly want.



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