More than seven months before Election Day, John McCain launched his first TV ad for the general election campaign, a heavily biographical spot that plays up his "American hero" biography.
The ad, which will air in the swing state of New Mexico, opens with McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, giving a campaign speech. "Keep that faith," he says. "Keep your courage. Stick together. Stay strong. Do not yield. Stand up. We're Americans. And we'll never surrender."
Then, the narrator talks about freedom and liberty as approving newspaper headlines scroll across the screen about McCain's tax relief plan, his readiness to be commander in chief, among other things. The announcer intones a series of questions:
"What must a president believe about us? About America? That she is worth protecting? That liberty is priceless? Our people, honorable?Our future, prosperous, remarkable and free? And, what must we believe about that president? What does he think? Where has he been? Has he walked the walk?"
The ad ends with the much-played grainy black-and-white footage of McCain, during his five-and-a-half years in the Hanoi Hilton as a prisoner of war, laying in bed and answering an interrogator's question.
"What is your rank?"
"Lieutenant commander in the Navy," McCain answers.
"And your official number?"
"624787," McCain replies.
"John McCain," the announcer says. "The American president Americans have been waiting for."
UPDATE: Democatic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean issued a statement about the ad: "The American people have been waiting for a president who understands the challenges they face, not another out-of-touch Bush Republican who promises four more years of the same failed leadership. John McCain can try to reintroduce himself to the country, but he can't change the fact that he cast aside his principles to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with President Bush for the last seven years. While we honor McCain's military service, the fact is Americans want a real leader who offers real solutions, not a blatant opportunist who doesn't understand the economy and is promising to keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years."
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