Ad Roundup: Competing Energy Policy Ads, Barack Obama as the Messiah, and John McCain Is the "Original Maverick" That Democrats Love

This week brought negative energy ads from both candidates and plenty of mocking and backlash.

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Our weekly look at the latest campaign ads to hit the airwaves:

John McCain: "The One"

This ad, released August 1, mocks Barack Obama as America's messiah, complete with celestial images, biblical rhetoric, and a clip of Charlton Heston as Moses in The Ten Commandments. It uses some of Obama's words against him, at times taking them out of context, and asks Americans, "Can you see the light?" While Rush Limbaugh called it "fabulous," the Obama camp deemed it "juvenile." Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan said, "It's downright sad that on a day when we learned that 51,000 Americans lost their jobs, a candidate for the presidency is spending all his time and the powerful platform he has on these sorts of juvenile antics." On the McCain front, senior aide Nicole Wallace defended the ad, calling it a "communication to our supporters" and emphasizing the need to inject a little humor into the campaign.


Barack Obama: "Pocket"

This Barack Obama ad (released August 4) accuses John McCain of being in the pocket of "Big Oil," claiming that the Republican candidate has received $2 million in campaign contributions from oil companies and wants to give the oil industry $4 billion in tax breaks. Obama caught flak from conservative bloggers for engaging in the negative campaigning that he previously denounced. In response to the ad, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said in a statement, "Barack Obama's latest negative attack ad shows his celebrity is matched only by his hypocrisy, after all it was Senator Obama, not John McCain, who voted for the Bush-Cheney energy bill that was a sweetheart deal for the oil companies. Also not mentioned is the $400,000 from big oil contributors that Barack Obama has already pocketed in this election."


Barack Obama: "National Priority"

Another energy-themed Barack Obama ad asserts Obama's commitment to make energy independence a national priority. The ad has aired in the battleground states for a week but the press didn't get wind of it until August 4 because its release was never announced. According to the ad, Obama will "raise mileage standards" and "fast-track technology for alternative fuels," while they say John McCain will vote against those initiatives.


John McCain: "Broken"

In this ad, released August 5, John McCain tries to separate himself from President Bush (without directly criticizing him) by admitting that "Washington's broken" and "we're worse off than we were four years ago." The ad reinforces this point by calling McCain the "original maverick," a reformer who has "taken on big tobacco, drug companies, fought corruption in both parties." Conservative bloggers found the ad risky, though, because it opened McCain up to the question of why Washington is broken after McCain has spent 26 years there. The Obama camp jumped on that opening: Spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement that McCain is trying to make Americans forget that "he's fully embraced the Bush policies he once opposed."


Barack Obama: "Original"

A new Obama ad showed up on YouTube August 5 that responded to John McCain's ad that claims he is "the original maverick." The ad attempts to link McCain to President Bush, using a McCain quote that "a recent study showed that I voted with the president over 90 percent of the time," and asks whether the Republican candidate is really "just more of the same." "Being a maverick isn't practicing the same kind of politics we have seen from Washington for decades," Bill Burton, a spokesman for Obama, said in a statement.


John McCain: "Family"

This John McCain ad (released August 6) plays the celebrity card again on Barack Obama and asks whether the "biggest celebrity in the world is ready to help" America's families. The spot opens with chants of "Obama" and flashbulbs but unlike the first "Celeb" ad features no cameos from Britney or Paris. In the ad McCain promises energy independence and more jobs and accuses Obama of promoting changes that will lead to fewer jobs. Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton responded to the ad by calling it a "dishonest attack" and pointed to tax breaks he says McCain plans to give to oil companies and corporations.