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Obama's Quiet Anti-McCain Campaign

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While John McCain has received plenty of attention and criticism for his anti-Barack Obama ad spots, most might think Obama has been taking the high road. Not exactly true. Obama has run numerous anti-McCain spots, mostly in swing states. The Obama campaign has simply decided to keep those ads quieter and not publicize them in the way the McCain campaign has publicized their negative advertizing.

To see nine of Obama’s negative ads, check out the link above. They range from snarky to purposefully misleading and they’re exactly what you’d expect from any politics-as-usual campaign. But I guess Obama is still concerned with appearing as a “new kind” of politician, so his campaign has made sure most of these ads are seen only in swing states.

I have a feeling Obama will soon have to start hitting McCain on a national level. One of the ways negative advertising works is that the spots get replayed endlessly by cable news stations and discussed by the talking heads. It’s one thing for Obama to call McCain clueless on the economy. It’s a whole other thing to have Wolf Blitzer posing the question “Is John McCain clueless on the economy?” The cable news channels fall for that kind of bait with surprising regularity.

Pretending to take the high road won’t get Obama very far. While the voter in me would prefer this to be a substantive, respectful campaign, the political strategist in me thinks Obama can’t afford to only kinda-sorta get in the trenches. It’s a shame the campaign has had to go this way – but they all eventually do, don’t they?