The John McCain and Barack Obama presidential campaigns exchanged memos again today, this time on whether Obama really has a record of bipartisanship.
Republican McCain started off with a list of citations of Democrat Obama toeing the party line, even on bipartisan bills, and of him voting "present" in the Illinois legislature on controversial measures.
"There has never been a time when Barack Obama has bucked the party line to lead on an issue of national importance," McCain senior advisor Steve Schmidt said in a statement. "He has never been a part of a bipartisan group that came together to solve a controversial issue. He has never put his career on the line for a cause greater than himself. Even as a state Senator, Obama voted 'present' on controversial bills. We have seen Barack Obama forced to choose between principle and the interests of himself and his party. He has always chosen the latter."
Obama's camp responded with a list of bills, including ethics reform, where he reached across the aisle. It also cited praise from Republicans, including McCain himself.
“The McCain campaign’s latest attack memo shows a fundamental misunderstanding of why the American people are frustrated with Washington," Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement. "After eight years of partisanship and attacks, the American people are looking for a leader who will work across party lines to end the gridlock and make real progress. That’s what Senator Obama did in the Illinois State Senate when he worked to cut taxes for the poor, reform a broken welfare system, and provide health care to 150,000 children and parents. In the U.S. Senate, Obama worked across the aisle to make sure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and get deadly weapons out of the hands of terrorists. And Senator Obama went against the wishes of some leaders in his own party when he worked with John McCain and other Republicans to pass the strongest ethics and lobbying reforms since Watergate.”
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.