Ad Roundup: Barack Obama and John McCain Disagree About Whether McCain Is the Same as President Bush

Ads include debate clips; the candidates disagree on whether McCain represents "more of the same."


This week both John McCain and Barack Obama incorporate moments from the final presidential debate into new ads, with McCain trying to distance himself from George W. Bush and Obama focusing on how the two are alike. And the famous "Joe the Plumber" gets some face time.

Barack Obama: "Ayers"

The Obama campaign released a TV ad last week that criticized McCain for what it called "smear tactics" and made a vague reference to Bill Ayers. The radio version of the ad addresses the Ayers issue directly. The ad says that Ayers is a "professor of education who once served with Obama on a school reform board, a board funded by conservative Republicans tied to McCain." The ad also drives home the oft-repeated point that "when Ayers committed crimes in the '60s, Obama was 8 years old." The Republican National Committee responded to the ad with a statement from spokesman Danny Diaz. "According to Barack Obama's new ad, Bill Ayers is a 'professor of education who once served with Obama on a school reform board,'" Diaz said. "What Obama doesn't tell voters is that he made an independent judgment to befriend an unrepentant terrorist who headed an organization that killed Americans.... Barack Obama's failed judgment led him to put his career before our country and it disqualifies him as a reasonable or serious candidate for the presidency." Politico has the audio of the ad here.

John McCain: “Fight”

McCain speaks directly to voters in this ad that outlines his plan to "make the next four years better" than the last eight and to "restore our country." McCain says he will do this by rebuilding Americans' savings; drilling for oil and creating a renewable energy economy; and lowering taxes and reducing spending to protect jobs and create new ones. "Stand up with me, let's fight for America," he concludes. An Obama spokesman said that McCain's new economic plan, announced Tuesday, is comprised of "trickle-down, ideological recipes [that] won't strengthen our economy and grow our middle class."


Barack Obama: “90 Percent”

While John McCain tries to distance himself from George W. Bush in his "Fight" ad, this Obama campaign ad contends that McCain and Bush are alike in many ways. The ad opens with a clip from the final presidential debate in which McCain says, "Senator Obama, I am not President Bush." The narrator says, "True, but you did vote with Bush 90 percent of the time. Tax breaks for big corporations and the wealthy, but almost nothing for the middle class--same as Bush." The ad concludes with a clip of McCain boasting about his record of voting with the president over 90 percent of the time. McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds told Time magazine's blog, the Page, that "Barack Obama goes back to the basics, running against President Bush instead of his actual opponent, John McCain. Americans know that John McCain and George W. Bush aren't the same person, but what makes this ad particularly rich is Barack Obama's own previous claims that he had voted with President Bush 'for the most part.'"


John McCain: “Joe the Plumber”

This Web ad incorporates the most memorable figure from the final presidential debate: Joe Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, who was referenced 23 times by the candidates during a discussion of Obama's tax plan. Obama had spoken previously with Wurzelbacher on the campaign trail about how his tax plan would impact the plumbing business for which Wurzelbacher works. The ad shows a clip from this exchange, with Wurzelbacher telling Obama, "Your new tax plan is going to tax me more." Obama responds, "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody." The narrator says that in fact, "Obama raises taxes on seniors, hard-working families to give 'welfare' to those who pay none. Just as you suspected, Obama's not truthful on taxes." An Obama spokesman, Brad Carroll, told the Detroit Free Press: "Since Joe the Plumber makes less than $250,000, he won't see a dime of tax increase under the Obama plan, and he's likely to get a tax cut."