By: Heather Ellerbock
In the last few months Obama supporters have been rolling their eyes at John McCain attack ads against the Democratic Presidential candidate. Now it seems that McCain may have gone too far. In an interview on Fox News this Sunday, George Bush’s top campaign advisor and staunch Republican, Karl Rove, has stated that McCain’s ads do not pass the 100% truth test.
With Karl Rove stating that McCain’s ads have gone one step too far, could this mean that the McCain campaign will have to reform their campaign policies?
The most current McCain campaign ad, “Education”, that has sparked this debate is a claim that senator Obama passed legislation to, “teach comprehensive sex education to kindergartners.” Now John McCain is being called a liar. What is at question here is, has McCain become too vague in his now seen as dishonorable campaign? In an interview on MSNBC, syndicated columnist David Sirota agrees that McCain is being too vague and argues that McCain is aiming to paint Obama as culturally different than the majority of Americans. The solution? Sirota states that Obama needs to inform the American people that not only is he the same as them but that he is also on their side economically.
However, this is not the first as that McCain has released that is not only vague but in ways an outright deception. In McCain’s “Higher” ad, the commentator continues the notion of Obama’s celebrity status stating in the first line, “Celebrities don’t have to worry about family budgets, but we [the American people] sure do” (I could get into how Obama has in the past 30 years had to worry more about his family budget than McCain but I will stay away from that). The ad continues with the understanding that the American people are paying more for food and gas making it harder to save for college and retirement. “Obama’s Solution? Raise Taxes.”
While it is true that Obama will raise taxes, you have to make approximately $250,000 per year for his tax policies to effect you. Furthermore, “Obama would also introduce new tax breaks for lower and middle-income groups. Such breaks include expanding the earned income tax credit, giving those making less than $150,000 a $500 tax credit per person on the first $8,100 in income, giving those making under $75,000 a 50% federal match on the first $1,000 of savings, and exempting seniors making less than $50,000 from having to pay income tax. John McCain’s tax policy? “…those in the lowest income groups would only see thier after-tax income raise by less than 1% (or between $19 and $319). By contrast, the highest-income households – those with incomes of at least $603,000 – would see a boost in after-tax income of 3.4%, or more than $40,000.” I think we can all agree that people who have a harder time saving for college and retirement fall in the “less than $150,000” category.
Beyond these few examples, McCain’s ads continue to be vague and deceiving to the American people. Rupublican strategist Brad Blakeman spoke on MSNBC on behalf of the McCain campaign to shed some light on if McCain has indeed gone too far. His attempt was almost embarrassing concerning the “Education” ad with Blakeman stating, “Well, look, we don’t know what was intended in that bill…if you read that bill it is unclear what the intent was regarding education for children.” Blakeman pretty much shoots himself and John McCain in the foot for the sole purpose that they are running an ad with a staunch claim Obama wanted to teach sex education to kindergartners. If you don’t know what was intended in the bill then how can you run that claim?
It will be interesting to see how the McCain campaign handles this situation and what his new ads will consist of. The positive side to all of this is that it seems Barak Obama is going to be tougher in the next 50 days. Obama’s new ad, “Honor”, is attacking the integrity of John McCain with the clear message that McCain’s deception is all he has left. Obama has received a lot of criticism from his supporters who feel that he is not attcking right back. John Ridley writing for the Huffington Post recognizes that, “Since the day he [Obama] tossed his hat into the ring he has been hit up with vicious innuendo and outright lies regarding his heritage, his patriotism, and his religion. And in almost every circumstance his denials have been tepid when not simply nonexistant.” From here we can hope that Obama will come out clawing and stand up for not only himself but the integrity that should be part of a presidential campaign.