Democrat Barack Obama today launched an unusually long TV ad in which he speaks directly to the camera -- and to voters -- about his plan to get past the financial crisis, change the policies of the current administration, and revive the economy.
The two-minute spot will begin airing in swing states today, his campaign said. It criticizes John McCain and President Bush, but in what is becoming increasingly noticeable about Obama's ads, never mentions that he's a Democrat and that McCain is a Republican.
"For eight years, we've been told that the way to a stronger economy was to give huge tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest Americans, and somehow prosperity would trickle down," Obama says.
"Well now we know the truth. It didn't work. Instead of prosperity trickling down, pain has trickled up. Working family incomes have fallen by $2,000 a year. We’re losing jobs. Deficits are exploding. Our economy's in turmoil.
"I know that that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis. But not by driving down the very same path. And that's what this election's all about. On taxes, John McCain and I have very different ideas. Instead of giving hundreds of billions in new tax breaks to big corporations and oil companies, I'll cut taxes for small and startup businesses that are the backbone of our economy. Instead of more tax breaks for corporations that outsource American jobs, I'll give them to companies who create jobs here. Instead of extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest -- I'll focus on you.
"My plan offers three times as much tax relief to the middle class as Senator McCain's. If you make less than a quarter million a year, you won’t see your taxes raised one penny under my plan. And seniors making less than fifty thousand, who are struggling with the rising costs of food and drugs on fixed incomes, won’t pay income taxes at all. The tax code we have today is over 10,000 pages long. Almost every bit of it was shaped by some lobbyist taking care of some special interest.
"Well, it's time we had a President who puts you first. I hope you'll log on to BarackObama.com and read my full plan. It will help jump-start our economy, create millions of jobs, and bring back our Main Streets all across America. The old trickle-down theory has failed us. We can't afford four more years like the last eight.
"I’m Barack Obama, and I approved this message because I know that with a new direction, and new policies focused on jobs and the middle class, we can lift our economy and our country," he concludes.
McCain hit back with a spot that calls Obama's promises on the economy, the Wall Street crisis, and energy independence "empty words."
The 30-second spot shows snippets of Obama ads where he lays out promises, then follows each with McCain's critique.
"The truth? Obama's reforms mean higher taxes," the announcer says.
To Obama's pledge to clean up the Wall Street mess, the ad cites Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson, though Raines was never an official adviser and Johnson was only on board briefly as a vice presidential vetter. "Obama's top advisers made millions, then stuck you with the tab," the announcer says.
"Obama's plan? Empty words," the announcer concludes.
The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, struck back with a web ad that also cites the Wall Street turmoil -- and warns that Obama's proposals would make the situation worse.
"Meltdown," the announcer says. "Wall Street squanders our money and Washington is forced to bail them out with – you guessed it – our money.
"Can it get any worse? Under Barack Obama’s plan, the government would spend a trillion dollars more, even after the bailout. A trillion dollars. Who pays? You do. New taxes. New spending. New debt. Barack Obama’s plan: It will make the problem worse."
UPDATE: In response to the RNC ad, Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement, “For John McCain’s party to demagogue a rescue plan that he supports in order to score cheap political points is not only dishonest and dishonorable, it is the height of irresponsibility on a day when we urgently need to pass that plan to prevent an economic catastrophe. So much for country first.”
About Political Intelligence
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 email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.