(CNN) – John McCain’s campaign responded to Barack Obama’s new education ad Tuesday with a tough new spot that said the Democratic nominee’s only achievement on the issue was backing bills to bring sex education to children – marking a rare campaign ad foray into culture war territory.
“Education Week says Obama ‘hasn't made a significant mark on education.’ That he's ‘elusive’ on accountability,” says the announcer in the 30-second spot. “A ‘staunch defender of the existing public school monopoly.’
“Obama's one accomplishment? Legislation to teach ‘comprehensive sex education’ to kindergartners.
“Learning about sex before learning to read?
“Barack Obama. Wrong on education. Wrong for your family.”
The campaign said the ad will air in ‘key states.’
Within minutes, the Obama camp battled back. “It is shameful and downright perverse for the McCain campaign to use a bill that was written to protect young children from sexual predators as a recycled and discredited political attack against a father of two young girls – a position that his friend Mitt Romney also holds,” said campaign spokesman Bill Burton. “Last week, John McCain told Time magazine he couldn’t define what honor was. Now we know why.”
The ad marks a reprise of a primary season attack on Obama by a former McCain rival.
More than a year ago, then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney attacked Obama over his assurance to Planned Parenthood that he believed some sex education should begin in kindergarten - prompting a response from the Democrat's campaign team that during his tenure as Massachusetts governor, the state had allowed those lessons to begin as early as pre-kindergarten.
Earlier Tuesday, the Obama campaign released a new ad linking education policy to economics, accusing the Republican nominee of voting to cut education funding and telling voters “John McCain doesn’t understand.”
The McCain campaign accused the Obama team of making misleading claims in the spot.