DENVER—Attacks on John McCain at the Democratic National Convention this week are only the start of a final offensive by Barack Obama's supporters against the Republican presidential candidate.
Among the attack lines: McCain voted with the unpopular President George Bush more than 90 percent of the time; McCain is not the maverick he says he is, and he is out of touch with everyday Americans, a senior Obama adviser says.
In addition, McCain will be criticized for failing to know how many homes he owns—a controversy which erupted last week based on comments McCain made in an interview, and which the Democrats won't allow to die. It shows he is too rich and isolated from middle-class life to understand Americans' economic pain, Obama strategists say.
For their part, McCain and his allies have criticized Obama harshly in the past week, dismissing him as a celebrity lightweight who doesn't have the answers to today's problems and who lacks the experience to be commander in chief. Up to now, the Obama team says it has been reluctant to respond in kind.
Now that's changing. The Democratic rhetoric is heating up as voters start to pay more attention to the presidential race. "The world changes after the Democratic and Republican conventions," says a senior Obama adviser.
At the Democratic convention Tuesday, the tone turned negative and the barrage was intense. Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a former presidential candidate, linked McCain to the Bush administration. "If there were an Olympics for misleading, mismanaging, and misappropriating, this administration would take the gold," Kucinich said. "....We cannot afford another Republican administration."
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said oil companies are "placing their bets on John McCain, bankrolling his campaign and gambling with our future."
New York Gov. David Paterson said of McCain: "If he's the answer, then the question must be ridiculous."