(CNN) - Few names inspire more of a heated reaction among Democrats than Karl Rove, and Barack Obama’s campaign is making a concerted effort Thursday to link the former Bush advisor to John McCain's presidential campaign.
On a campaign conference call with reporters responding to the Arizona senator's latest television ad, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said the spot is worse than anything Rove would have developed.
"This is not the John McCain voters thought they would be seeing in this presidential campaign," Plouffe said. "He's not just embracing the Rove playbook that people really are tired of, he's taking it to a further extreme."
Those comments came only hours after Plouffe circulated a fundraising e-mail to supporters in which he said McCain's campaign had taken a "nasty turn” with its "Karl Rove-style ploy."
"This Karl Rove-style ploy misleads people about Barack's energy plan and even mocks his ability to inspire voters and bring Americans back into the political process," Plouffe wrote in the e-mail.
The television ad in question compares Obama's celebrity status to that of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, and questions whether the Illinois senator is "ready to lead." Obama dismissed the ad as "game playing" Thursday while McCain said he was "proud of it."
Watch: McCain ad compares Obama to Paris Hilton, Britney Spears
Rove has no official role with the McCain campaign, though Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser in charge of the day-to-day message, was a longtime protégé of Rove's.
(CNN) — In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama spar over McCain's accusation that Obama is playing the “race card." Dana Bash reports on McCain’s aggressive claim that Obama is using racial tactics on the campaign trail.
The Obama camp fights back with the launch of a new website. The presumptive Democratic nominee blasts McCain by accusing the Arizona senator of distracting voters from the issues and engaging in “low-road politics.” Suzanne Malveaux reports.
Meanwhile: American voters are in a bad mood. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider takes a look at the latest polls that reveals voters are unhappy with how things are going in the country.
Energy policy is one of a handful of issues dominating political debate, but are the candidates really providing solutions to America’s growing energy crisis? Suzanne Malveaux has the story.
Finally: Pro-McCain or Anti-Obama? Mary Snow reports on how New York Democrats are defecting from their party and throwing their support behind McCain.
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(CNN) – A day after the Obama campaign released an advertisement entitled “Low Road,” the presumptive Democratic nominee’s camp is following up with the Web site “Low Road Express.”
The new site collects media coverage – editorials, fact check articles, and video clips - about the strategies and tactics of Sen. John McCain’s campaign in recent weeks.
The Republican National Committee recently launched two Web sites focused on Obama. On Wednesday, the RNC rolled out “Audacity Watch,” a Web site that collects together video clips of media coverage about Obama and an RSS feed of information from GOP.com. Earlier this week, the RNC also launched “BarackBook,” a site that parodies Facebook, a popular social networking Web site where Obama has amassed more than a million supporters.
The Obama and McCain campaigns have traded fire this week as McCain released an ad entitled “Celeb” that likened Obama’s public notoriety with that of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. The Obama campaign quickly responded with the “Low Road” advertisement.
UPDATE: McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds issued the following statement about the Obama campaign's "Low Road Express" Web site: “Barack Obama’s campaign created his global celebrity status - we are celebrating it and informing voters of his inexperience. If there’s a low road in this campaign, Obama’s campaign paved it when they launched the first negative attack ad in this election.”
(CNN) - The attacks and counter attacks in the presidential campaign are getting more personal.
Barack Obama today dismissed as "game playing" the McCain campaign's new attack ad comparing Obama's celebrity to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. At a town hall rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Obama taunted McCain, "I do have to ask my opponent: Is that the best you can come up with?"
When the subject came up at a McCain town hall rally in Racine, Wisconsin, McCain told a questioner, "We're proud of that commercial," and added, "campaigns are tough."
WATCH: Viewers react to McCain's "Celeb" ad
But Obama told the Iowa crowd: "Given the seriousness of the issues; given the fact that the decisions we make right now are going to help determine the future not just of the next generation but perhaps generations after that; given the magnitude of our challenges when it comes to energy and health care and jobs and our foreign policy; you'd think we'd been having a serious debate. But so far all we've been hearing about is Paris Hilton and Britney Spears."
For more on the the latest political news, tune into Campbell Brown: Election Center tonight at 8 pm ET.
(CNN) - John McCain told CNN Thursday it is fair for his campaign manager to claim Barack Obama is playing 'the race card.'
Watch McCain: Obama's playing the race card
"I'm sorry to say that it is. It's legitimate," McCain told CNN's John King. "And there's no place in this campaign for that. There's no place for it and we shouldn't be doing it."
Earlier Thursday, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis lashed out at the Democratic presidential candidate over his comments that Republicans are making an issue of his race.
"Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong," Davis said in a statement sent to reporters.
An Obama spokesman immediately denied the assertion, but noted that the presumptive Democratic nominee believes that the McCain campaign was “using the same old low-road politics to distract voters from the real issues.”
At three stops in the battleground state of Missouri, Obama told audiences that his opponent is trying to make voters “scared” of him because he doesn’t look like past presidents – an apparent reference to being black — and has a “funny name.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new poll out Thursday indicates that less than quarter of Americans think things are going well in the country.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. Poll showed that only 24 percent have a positive outlook for the country, while 76 percent say things are on the wrong track.
That figure is the lowest number on record since 1980, and the third time in four decades that the number has dropped so low.
Recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. polling has shown a steady drop in the country's mood. In April 2007, 51 percent said things in the country were going badly. A year later, 70 percent felt that way.
"Only three events - Watergate, the Iran hostage crisis, and the economic downturn of 1992 - have driven below 30 percent the number who think things are going well," CNN's polling director Keating Holland said. The mood of the country has been assessed since 1974.
The poll sampled 1,041 adult Americans by telephone on July 27-29, 2008. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – John McCain’s campaign manager charged Thursday that Barack Obama falsely accused the McCain campaign of injecting race into the presidential contest.
"Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong," McCain campaign manger Rick Davis said in a prepared statement sent to reporters one day after Obama alluded to his own race during several stops in Missouri.
“This is a race about big challenges - a slumping economy, a broken foreign policy, and an energy crisis for everyone but the oil companies,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said. “Barack Obama in no way believes that the McCain campaign is using race as an issue, but he does believe they’re using the same old low-road politics to distract voters from the real issues in this campaign, and those are the issues he’ll continue to talk about.”
At three stops in the battleground state of Missouri, Obama told audiences that his opponent is trying to make voters “scared” of him because he doesn’t look like past presidents – an apparent reference to being black - and has a “funny name.”
Our Congress should be ashamed of itself.
Despite getting nothing done about the issues troubling millions of Americans – like energy costs, high gasoline prices, offshore drilling – Congress is going to take a month-long vacation starting tomorrow.
In the Senate, Republicans have been blocking any other legislation until they get a vote on drilling. And since the Democrats' prospects seem pretty good for November, they don't want to cave in to the Republicans' demands to vote on drilling now, months before a new administration and Congress. To hell with what the public needs or wants…how can we turn the oil drilling issue into a political advantage for ourselves?
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Indicted Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of scheming to conceal thousands of dollars worth of gifts from an oil-services company.
His lawyer requested that the trial be moved to Alaska from Washington, and that it take place before November because Stevens is up for re-election.
"I want to make a request if at all possible that the trial be in October so that he can clear his name before the general elections," said the attorney, Brendan Sullivan.
He proposed moving the trial to Alaska because a majority of the witnesses are there and the events in question took place there.
Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is not related to Stevens' attorney, said he thought Washington is an appropriate location for the trial but that he will entertain a motion to move it to Alaska.
(CNN) - Barack Obama and John McCain are statistically tied in Florida and Ohio while Obama holds a clear advantage in Pennsylvania, new Quinnipiac polls out of those crucial battleground states Thursday show.
But in what could be a warning sign for Obama as voters begin to turn their attention to the general election race, Obama's lead appears to have dwindled, or barely remained steady, in all three states, even as the Democratic presidential candidate has enjoyed a wave of intense media coverage surrounding his trip abroad.
CNN Election Center: View the latest state polls
In Florida, Obama now holds a statistically insignificant 2-point lead over McCain, 46-44 percent. In a similar poll taken one month ago, Obama held a wider, and statistically significant, 47-43 percent advantage over the Arizona senator there. The difference appears to be a shift among independent voters, who now support McCain in Florida by a 5-point margin. In the June poll, Obama held the advantage among the same group of voters by a 10-percent advantage.
CNN's Electoral Map: Check out the lay of the land
In Ohio, the battleground state where a weak economy should give Democrats an advantage, Obama is ahead by a 2-point margin, 46-44 percent. That lead, also statistically insignificant, is down from the 6-point advantage the Illinois senator held there one month ago.
Obama's lead has also narrowed in Pennsylvania, though he still enjoys a clear edge there. Obama now leads McCain by a 7-point advantage, 49-42 percent, down from the 11 point advantage he had in June.
The poll was conducted from July 23-29, in the midst of Obama's trip abroad, and carries a margin of error of just under 3 points in each state.