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Obama Knocks 'Old Politics' of McCain

By Howard Kurtz
The Ad: John McCain is blaming Barack Obama for gas prices? The same old politics. Barack Obama thinks high gas prices deserve serious answers and a serious plan. Crack down on oil speculators, raise mileage standards and fast-track alternative fuels.

Analysis: This response ad by Barack Obama uses a classic jujitsu move to turn the attack back on his Republican opponent. Even some McCain supporters acknowledged that his commercial blaming rising gas prices on a Democrat who has been in the Senate for four years was a stretch, especially when McCain himself has said the problem was 30 years in the making.

The key message is that McCain is a practitioner of "old politics" -- the word "old" sits adjacent to the 71-year-old candidate's face -- an approach that both invites viewers to dismiss his charges and positions Obama as espousing a fresh approach to Washington.

But Obama's proposed solutions are long-term in nature and would have no impact on gas prices for years. Many experts doubt that oil speculators are to blame for rising oil prices. Higher mileage standards have already been proposed, and stalled, in Congress, and there is no guarantee that alternative fuels would be financially feasible. Beyond that, the ad says nothing about the cost of a major research program to develop alternatives to gasoline.

The Obama campaign waited to respond to the McCain spot, suggesting a belated concern that the Arizonan's continued attacks on Obama's opposition to offshore oil drilling could be gaining some political traction.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 29, 2008; 7:25 PM ET
Categories:  Ad Watch  
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