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McCain's Congratulary Ad -- A Nice Touch

DENVER -- When the news broke earlier today that John McCain would launch an ad speaking directly to Barack Obama following the formal nomination of the Illinois senator, most people -- The Fix included -- assumed it would be some sort of challenge.

We were wrong.

The ad, which you can watch below, features McCain calling today "truly a good day for America."

He adds: "Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, congratulations."

It's a pitch perfect ad from a campaign that has often been accused of going overboard in its television advertising. For the undecided voters who tune in to catch Obama's speech, they will see the kindler, gentler McCain that won over many moderates and even some Democrats during the 2000 presidential campaign.

While a single ad won't overshadow the massive history of Obama's acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination, it's a nice political stroke from the McCain team to keep themselves in the conversation.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 28, 2008; 7:10 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama Speech Sneak Peak
Next: The Speech: How Did He Do?


Why is it so difficult for you people to set aside race, gender and age? Why is it so hard to believe that perhaps McCain's truly sincere as he thanks Obama. Although it's clear to see that he isn't congratulating Obama for the great things that he's done. In fact, what McCain is saying is, "it takes a lot of courage and dignity to come this far in a presidential election." this ad only makes McCain seem more confident in where he stands. It's a thanks to Obama for basically being a shoe in.
But shame on all who believe that Obama has been truthful as well as innocent in this campaign. This is indeed one of the worst of all that I have seen, with some of the worst slander and bickering of all. Times are critical, and it's more than important and essential to keep in mind the real problems that are going on in America as well as our fellow countries over seas and south of the border.
Obama's inexperience and pompus attitude all but offers too much insight to the kind of president he will be. I highly encourage people to vote not based on popularity, or the mistakes that George Bush has made, but to vote for the future, and the most honest candidate: John McCain.

Posted by: Audrey Bowden | August 31, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"Democrats are also likely to hone in on questions of whether Palin"

You can hone a razor to make it sharp, but a missile homes in on a target. Home, as in your house. Another one I see all the time in the POST is the incorrect usage of "jerry built" and "jury rigged" in which poor jerry and jury get swapped at random. Somebody in the copy editing department needs to know this stuff.

Posted by: George Larson | August 30, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

When I listened to Obama's acceptance speech I was listening for an acknowledgement of this ad at the beginning. My thinking was that Obama had a chance to thank McCain for the nice words and invite him to continue the civil tone and make the election about the issues, not attack ads, etc. Coulda been good, thoughts?

Posted by: T-dog | August 29, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

A very clever ad. Doesn't detract from the fact that McCain's strategists undoubtedly encourage all sorts of slander about Obama, ranging from race and religion to patriotism. If McCain had been truly honest, he would have said something like: "I'm proud of this milestone in American history, and salute a true Godloving American!"

Posted by: RogerChoate | August 29, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I agree that's it's a brilliant political stroke. It worries me that people would see it as anything else given the history of the McCain campaign, but still, very impressive.

Posted by: ltanzania | August 29, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Insincere. Condescending. A weak head pat from McCain. The Fix is sold but I'm not. McCain is lying everyday about Obama's record and running from his own and this is supposed to make me think McCain has integrity? What a maverick, he's independent of his own convictions.

Posted by: Noah | August 29, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

McCain is 72 today, not 73. And his age has nothing to do with his ability to be president, just as with Obama.

Posted by: Age is just a number | August 29, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

It was a decent thing to do. The DNC spent alot of money to show America that they can be highrollers and bigspenders like the Republicans are, and John was just letting them know what a nice whitewash job they did. Thankfully, no one was watching the convention but the Liberal media, so it was all for naught.

Posted by: RightwingWarDog | August 29, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

I only heard one bit of McCain's speech on the radio news, the "good job" part. Personally, if I did hear it correctly, McCain sounded condescending.

Maybe I'd change my mind if I watched the whole thing.

Posted by: EL | August 29, 2008 7:20 AM | Report abuse

I think Obama should give McCain a surprise call too today and congratulate him today on choosing a running mate and on his birthday.

No, no I am not trying to insunate McCain age (he will be 73 today) into this. It's just a courtesy call returned as graciously as McCain did. BTW 73 is a respectable age. You can do whatever you like ... like running for president... or choose to go with pension
in a nice house if you have one ...or choose to be a different person that you may have been or people have you to be.

No my friends it's not about the age. I think Obama should return that courtesy call and congratulate McCain on beinf 73 today while choosing his running mate.

Posted by: fa | August 29, 2008 7:05 AM | Report abuse

I do appreciate the gesture but give me a break. After all those lies with the negative ad insulting our intelligence and you think this would do: Give me break.

Eight is enough!

Posted by: fa | August 29, 2008 6:55 AM | Report abuse

I dont know what you people think a battleground state is but the ad ran in calif as a commercial break and I dont think Cali is "too close to call"

Posted by: SocalLib | August 29, 2008 2:52 AM | Report abuse

What a desperate attempt to steal the spotlight. It's like when he went to a biker rally and pretended they'd shown up for him (and offered them his wife, naked).

Posted by: Aleks | August 29, 2008 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Does McCain think this will cover up all the negative ads that promote hate and racism that he has been approving?

What a crock!

Just because he can get it together for 30 seconds and say something nice doesn't erase months of I, ME, Mine!

From the phallic symbols in the ad about blonde Paris and Britney.

To the implications from his campaign that Senator Obama is ignorant.

To his simplistic responses to questions that treat all of us Americans as if we Americans are all stupid raving lunatics.

30 seconds of nice is not enough after he's tried to destroy the one candidate who is for us, those of us "We The People" who aren't Fat Cats, Big Business or Warmongers.

Posted by: Bill Lenner | August 29, 2008 1:49 AM | Report abuse

A classy touch for a grumpy old guy. Must have been his wife's suggestion (surely it can't come from Karl Rove).

Posted by: Black and Bitter Like Coffee | August 29, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Never misses an opportunity to put his distorted face out.

Posted by: Teacher | August 29, 2008 12:43 AM | Report abuse

He stuck his head out of the mud for a few minutes, but he'll be back under tomorrow.

I love when people say they are supporting McCain for his "character". This is the same guy who has pretty much changed everything he once stood for to run for President. He has pandered to the far right, reversed his previous positions, and adopted the same slimy tactics that Bush once used on him. He has no "character".

Posted by: Michael | August 29, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, that was classy. If only the whole damn mess could go like this...

Posted by: Eric | August 28, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

This campaign will be much, much more civil than would what was thought to be the Presidential match at this time last year: Romney vs. Clinton. There would be no ad's such as this one and no talk of bi-partisanship at all.

Obama/Biden vs. McCain/? will certainly be a more civil campaign. It makes you wonder if McCain will pick Lieberman. If so, bipartisanship will be a major issue in the campaign...which gives McCain an advantage. Obama has never did anything bipartisan, really. I do believe McCain & Obama are relatively decent people, so that is certainly something to be said for that.

Posted by: reason | August 28, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Obama's speech was a compilation of many of his speeches even lines borrowed from other Dems during primes. The speech was good as far as that goes but as for something new it did not go far enough. He did not explain the reasons behind not giving the job of VP to Hillary. He did not talk about sitting on his hands and allowing Hispanics being discriminated against and treated diffrently in his home state of Illinois.(Substantiated) He did not denounce or dispute his disturbing connection with Ayers being more than he first led us to believe. He spoke of You, We, Us, wanting change but not why he should be trusted to deliver it...

Posted by: Denver Source | August 28, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I really think Obama is a reality show an we haven been told yet. He is an empty suit that has done nothing if substance and speaks in great generalities - but people are follows and they may follow this fool

Posted by: paul | August 28, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

He is not reading the speech all that well and he seems like McCain has gotten under his skin

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse


"Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses..."

-- Barack Obama acceptance speech, 8/28/08

Just one problem: that bankruptcy law, the one that critics say eviscerated consumer rights and served the interests of the banks and credit card companies, was partly written and sponsored by Obama's pick for vice president, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden.

And Biden's son has been a lobbyist for the credit card industry.

This could be a huge problem for Obama out of the gate. Obama's goals and promises, as stated in the speech, are at odds with the legislation authored by his running mate, who is accused by consumer advocates of doing the bidding for the credit card and banking industries.

In today's Politico, there was an item about speculation that Obama may be forced to ask Biden to withdraw.

How will the Washington press corps, which openly worships Obama and cuts him every break, handle this one?

And will McCain, who backed the same legislation, use this issue against the Obama-Biden ticket? The betting is that he will not; that is probably why Obama picked Biden despite his public record on the bankruptcy issue.

Was that a miscalculation? Much depends on whether the press will seize upon this story as an example of hypocracy on the part of the Obama campaign, or simply ignore the story in deference to their personal favorite in the presidential race.

Posted by: Outside the Box | August 28, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse


And what is it the MSM has been broadcasting all week? The Democratic National Convention and they're all giddy while doing it. James Carville. Yes, James Carville!, is the most objective media type person I've seen this week.

Who's really playing the media?

Posted by: Pot/Kettle | August 28, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

McCain's strongest points are his policies, but his character. He is a brave and fundamentally decent man. Remember how he rose to Sen. Obama's defense when Hillary was beating him over Rev. Wright. He didn't have to do that, but he did.

I'd like to see Sen. Obama win, but however it turns out, it will a nation free of Bush and free of Clintonian divisiveness. Maybe bipartisanship can have a chance to develop again.

Posted by: gbooksdc | August 28, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I will vote for McCain - I am proud to do so.

Posted by: Excellence | August 28, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Come out and shake hands! Go to your corners.

We know you are going to play dirty. It's in your beady little eyes.
We'll give you back, two for one.
You say "Resko" -- we'll say Keating.
You say "Experience" -- we'll note that it was at cheating.
You say "Judgement" -- we'll say lousy.
You say Military, we'll warn how much you love war.

Posted by: chris holte | August 28, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Boy, the GOP knows how to play the MSM... the poster below said it. It's a video news release that gets free play, and the MSM obligatorily calls it an "ad." Betting here is that it will get only free play because, why should they buy time when they are getting it gratas?

That said, well played, indeed, Senator. Smart and classy; more of this side of you and we'll be calling you POTUS... that is, if you move to the center and become the McCain of 2000. Your VP pick will tell us which McCain you intend to be.

Posted by: scrivener | August 28, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse


Is Obama's Campaign going to be entirely made up of false charges of racism or are they going to fabricate something else?


Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I think it is traditional for the party not in the White House to have its convention first.
I suspect that the thinking is that it takes longer to introduce the opposition candidate to voters than it does for the candidacy who represents the incumbent.

Posted by: Mouse | August 28, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Theres no need to spin it negatively.
In a low key moment accept it, Thank them for it and move on.
No need to make a big deal out of it.

McCain will soon be rebutting anything in Obamas speech so that will move the press on.

Seriously why do the democrats have their convention first? It give the republicans the advantage?

Posted by: joe | August 28, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

A very nice ad, and a very nice touch.

It's so weird:
John McCain comes out with a positive ad, displaying a new kind of politics... and Obama's supporters come on this blog and display the old kind of politics!

What's wrong with this picture?

Oh, yeah, I forgot, BHO and his supporters are a bunch of hypocrites.

Posted by: Jan | August 28, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Its a clever ad.
It makes McCain seem like the elder respected statesman ie presidential and changes his image a little at the same time as giving him news during "Obamas time".

Obama should thank him for it and use it say that they are grateful that McCain is following Obamas lead in showing respect for the process, the historic moment and candidates rather than the recent name calling . Ie stand above it.

Of course if he was a republican he would probably have used it to say that even McCain supports Obama.

Posted by: greg | August 28, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't El WaPo have to claim this free run ad as a campaign contribution?

Posted by: capemh | August 28, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't agree more with you Dennis L. He's said he'd run a civil campaign and he couldn't wait to sling the mud when he couldn't move the polls.

Posted by: John in NYC | August 28, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Another video press release that will run in about 2 markets that are paid for, but you guys run nationwide for free.

When are you going to get it??

Posted by: fred | August 28, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me? A nice touch? You don't slime a man's character, leadership potential, and qualifications for the office to which he is being nominated, and then celebrate yourself as above it all. McCain's ego is out of control.

Posted by: Dennis L. | August 28, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

"A Nicer Touch would have been for McCain to have voted for the MLK national holiday the first or second or third...on and on..time.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Lyndon LaRouche predicts McCain will install billionaire NYC Mayor Bloomberg to be his VP tomorrow as per oligarghy made up of international bankers and financiers. He will fulfill their agenda of privatizing U.S. government's programs, infrastructure and jobs for big profit$$$ as the depressing economy threatens their wealth.

The country is going into a major economic depression with over 5000 banks are already bankrupt today with more day by day.

Hillary was rid of because she would fix the economy by bringing back President FDR's economic Bretton Woods policy to fix current economic collapse. This policy caters to the 80% of the forgotten people and threatens the oligarghy's wealth and whose ultimate goal is to rid of all governments, peoples' sovereingties and Constitutions and ultimately install fascism.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Is this really an ad? Is it going to air anywhere or is this just another video press release from the McCain camp? I appreciate the sentiment, but let's call it what it is: a video press release.

Posted by: natthedem | August 28, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Acasilaco can't think of a negative spin on this? Oh, heck, that's easy. And I'm not even part of the Obama campaign. It's a limited buy that's only shown once but which will generate enormous media attention, lavishing praise on the Good McCain of the past, not the Wicked McCain of 2008. BUT--in the spirit of niceness, the Obama campaign won't spin that spin.

Posted by: DRW | August 28, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Lyndon LaRouche predicts McCain will install billionaire NYC Mayor Bloomberg to be his VP tomorrow. He will fulfill their agenda of privatizing U.S. government's programs, infrastructure and jobs for big profit$$$ as the depressing economy threatens their wealth.

The country is going into a major economic depression with over 5000 banks are already bankrupt today with more day by day.

Hillary was rid of because she would fix the economy by bringing back President FDR's economic Bretton Woods policy to fix current economic collapse. This policy caters to the 80% of the forgotten people and threatens the oligarghy's wealth and whose ultimate goal is to rid of all governments, peoples' sovereingties and Constitutions. To install fascism.

In total contrast, Hillary would have fixed the bad economy by using President FDR's Bretton Woods system and is why she was rid of as the most qualified candidate.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Very Classy.

Wait till tomorrow and all bets are off.

Still want answers about.....

Annenberg Challenge,
And the list goes on

Posted by: countryruger | August 28, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Seems a little cheesy to be doing this in the midst of hard-hitting attack ads. No one in their right mind should bu the authenticity of it. But folks will...

Posted by: matt | August 28, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

It is a classy move by McCain. Unfortunately it's undercut by the fact that it's not a national ad buy, but rather a buy in "battleground" media markets making it a calculated "look-at-how-big-I-am" moment. Reminds me of when he apologized for voting against MLK day, but did it under the balcony where he was shot while a blue-collar black man held his umbrella. Nice thought, but awkwardly executed.

Still... a civil touch in an an heretofore uncivil campaign.

Posted by: DaveB | August 28, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I find the idea of a John McCain presidency pretty repugnant...much the way I have found most of his Rove-style campaign. So as much as it annoys me to say this, that's a pretty smart ad. Well done, jerks.

Posted by: John Wykoff | August 28, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm a liberal Dem who has never voted for a non-Democrat in my life, but I'm also a long-time fan of McCain's -- at least, of the McCain I watched in the Senate for 20-odd years. This campaign has seen a coarsening of McCain's style and shift of some of his positions -- climate change particularly -- that I haven't liked at all, but this ad reminds me of the guy I liked. If this is the guy who is on the ballot November, I might just vote for him. If some bastardidization of this guy by Rove et al is who we have to chose for, I won't.

Posted by: John | August 28, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

the spellchecker says Congratulatory, I knew it didn't look right....

Posted by: DeenaJR | August 28, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Makes me want to vote for him until I think about the war, health care and the supreme court.

Posted by: Tool4TheMan | August 28, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

It's a nice touch. I can't think of a way the Obama campaign can spin it negatively. And it keeps McCain's name and face in front of the voters in a positive way, even though tonight is clearly going to be Obama's night.

Posted by: acasilaco | August 28, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

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