The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Ad Watch

McCain Stresses Maverick Roots

John McCain

The Ad:John McCain: "Since I've been in Washington, I've made a lot of people angry. I made defense contractors angry when I blew the whistle on a $30 billion boondoggle and the culprits were sent to jail. I upset the special interests and Washington lobbyists when I passed campaign finance reform. I made the Pentagon angry when I criticized Rumsfeld's Iraq strategy, and I upset the media when I supported the strategy that's now succeeding. I angered the big spenders in Congress when I called for earmark and spending reform. No more $233 million bridges to nowhere or $74 million for peanut storage in a defense spending bill. I didn't go to Washington to win the Mr. Congeniality award. I went to Washington to serve my country. I might not like the business as usual crowd in Washington. But I love America. I love her enough to make some people angry. I'm John McCain and I approve this message."

Analysis: This 60-second spot, airing in New Hampshire, is a classic attempt to make lemonades out of political lemons--to cast a positive sheen on the very issues that have caused the Arizona senator considerable trouble with his fellow Republicans.

For McCain to say that he "upset the special interests" in passing his signature campaign finance law is true--and deflects attention from how angry many conservatives remain at what they view as an infringement on free speech.

To say that he criticized former Pentagon chief Rumsfeld's Iraq strategy is true--but fails to mention that McCain, from the outset, has been perhaps the highest-profile congressional supporter of the unpopular war. McCain did not "upset" most journalists by backing President Bush's surge, but most news organizations described that support as a campaign albatross--one that now looks lighter with decreasing violence in Iraq.

McCain has earned bragging rights with his long crusade to curtail pork-barrel spending, which has created friction with other lawmakers fighting for pet projects. McCain also held hearings on what became a procurement scandal involving airborne tankers at Boeing.

This no-frills ad--which consists mainly of McCain speaking against a black backdrop--seems aimed more at the independents attracted to his maverick style in 2000 than at the party's hard-core conservative base.

--Howard Kurtz

Posted at 2:44 PM ET on Nov 26, 2007  | Category:  Ad Watch
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McCain is a One Trick Pony! He is speciallized in the military. Cripes, his whole family's legacy is!

He would be an EXCELLENT addition to Mitt Romney's Cabinet, BUT, falls a few Feathers short of having the Bonnet of a real Chief! Big Chiefs also need to Trade with other Tribes, not just fight them!

Posted by: rat-the | November 26, 2007 3:51 PM

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