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Candidates Paint Each Other as 'Celebrity' Obama and 'More of the Same' McCain

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Videos of these ads can be found at www.washingtonpost.com/politics.

Narrator: He's the original maverick. (Graphic: Really?)

John McCain: The president and I agree on most issues. There was a recent study that showed I voted with the president over 90 percent of the time.

Narrator: John McCain supports Bush's tax cuts for millionaires, but nothing for 100 million households. He's for billions in new oil company giveaways while gas prices soar. And for tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. The original maverick? Or just more of the same?

Analysis: This Barack Obama ad begins with footage of a previous McCain commercial, in which he declared himself a maverick and took a veiled shot at President Bush by saying, "We're worse off than we were four years ago." The Democrat's ad uses a 2003 Fox News interview to tie McCain to a president now far more unpopular by using the Arizona Republican's own words.

Obama is being highly selective in saying McCain supports tax cuts for millionaires. The senator from Arizona backs an extension of the Bush cuts for all income levels. The charge that he offers nothing to 100 million households -- sourced to a writer for the Nation magazine -- is based on a McCain plan to double the child dependent exemption. But McCain says that not all the childless families who wouldn't be helped are middle class, and that he offers a health-care tax credit for low-income families.

The ad is selective also in accusing McCain of backing "oil company giveaways" when such firms would simply benefit from his proposed overall cut in the corporate tax rate.

McCain voted against Democratic amendments to discourage moving jobs overseas; these were party-line votes with every Senate Republican in opposition. The "more of the same" tag line tries to cement the image of McCain, who bucked Bush on several issues, as a virtual clone of the president.

Narrator: Is the biggest celebrity in the world ready to help your family? The real Obama promises higher taxes, more government spending, so: fewer jobs. Renewable energy to transform our economy, create jobs and energy independence? That's John McCain.

Analysis: This McCain ad again uses "celebrity" as an epithet, continuing the mocking theme of a previous spot likening Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. The Republican's campaign is trying to turn Obama's popularity against him, suggesting that the much-publicized politician is not the "real" Obama.

McCain is being highly selective in charging Obama with raising taxes, since he would end the Bush tax breaks only for the small fraction of individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and families earning over $250,000. Obama would boost federal spending but argues that investment in such areas as energy would create jobs, not reduce them.

Nothing that McCain -- or Obama -- has proposed would make America energy independent for years. While McCain now champions renewable energy, he opposed legislation that would extend a tax credit for producing such energy. By beginning with shots of crowds cheering Obama, the ad tries to project an image of the senator from Illinois, who has made detailed proposals to help working families, as a phenomenon unconcerned with helping "your family."

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