September 19th, 2008
10:39 AM ET
6 years ago

Economy takes center stage in bruising ads

New campaign ads are out on the economy.
New campaign ads are out on the economy.

(CNN) - As the nation’s financial crisis continues to top headlines and dominate campaign trail discussion, John McCain and Barack Obama released a flurry of television ads within a few hours that play off a rising sense of economic anxiety.

The McCain campaign released an ad linking Obama to former Fannie Mae head Franklin Raines. "Who advises him?" the female announcer says. "The Post says it's Franklin Raines, for 'advice on mortgage and housing policy.'"

The Washington Post quote cited in the McCain campaign's release says that Raines has "taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters."

The Obama campaign sent out a statement from Franklin Raines denying the claims in the McCain ad. "I am not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters." Obama spokesman Bill Burton called the charge “another flat-out lie.”

The Obama campaign responded with a spot taking aim at McCain’s economic advisors. "Carly Fiorina, the fired CEO who got a $42 million golden parachute," the announcer says. "Phil Gramm, the ex-Senator who pushed through deregulation, and called Americans hurt by this economy 'whiners’… Then there's George Bush, whose disastrous policies McCain wants to continue."

Carly Fiorina is McCain’s Victory chair. Former Senator Phil Gramm officially left the campaign after his headline-grabbing comments earlier this year.

Early Friday, McCain’s team returned fire with a commercial about Obama’s relationship with former Fannie Mae chair Jim Johnson, who resigned earlier this year as head of the Democrat’s vice presidential vetting team after allegations he had received preferential terms on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial.

“What Obama says... is not what he does,” begins the announcer, as a clip plays of Obama denouncing windfall profits for executives of financially troubled institutions. “Meet Jim Johnson, former Fannie Mae CEO. Fannie cooked the books and Johnson made millions. Then Obama asked him to pick his VP. And raise thousands for his campaign. Barack Obama. More empty words.”

But the air wars aren’t limited to economic advisors: another McCain spot that picks up on the Republican nominee’s criticism this week of a "big spending, greedy, do nothing, me first, country second crowd in Washington."

“When our economy's in crisis, a big government casts a big shadow on us all. Obama and his liberal Congressional allies want a massive government, billions in spending increases, wasteful pork,” says the narrator. “And, we would pay - painful income taxes, skyrocketing taxes on life savings, electricity and home heating oil. Can your family afford that?”

Independent fact checkers have determined that the vast majority of taxpayers – all except the wealthiest Americans - would get a larger break under Obama's plan than McCain's. The Republican nominee says that his is focused on easing the tax burden on small businesses to promote economic growth.

Obama aides argue that the cost estimates assumed by the McCain team make no allowance for savings most Americans would see as a result of reduced health care and energy expenses, and jobs created by investments in new environmentally-friendly industries.

Earlier this week, Obama released a spot about the closing of a Pennsylvania factory, the latest in a series of ads blaming John McCain for the loss of Rust Belt jobs by pointing to the disappearing manufacturing base in that state, in Ohio, and in Michigan. McCain’s campaign has responded with two positive spots – on aimed at Ohio, the other at Michigan - that tout GOP job creation proposals.

“Michigan families depend on the auto industry. John McCain and his Congressional allies know it,” says the announcer. “Loans to upgrade assembly lines. Tax credits to boost sales of clean vehicles. Offshore drilling to reduce the cost of gas and spur truck sales. And financial reforms to protect your retirement. Change is coming.”

Independent fact checkers have said that offshore drilling will have no short-term, and little long-term, impact on gas prices, but McCain says it would be useful as a symbolic gesture to signal U.S. resolve not to be dependent on foreign oil.

The campaigns have said that most of these 30-second ads will be televised nationally, or on national cable, but have not released the extent of the buys. Both candidates have already released half a dozen economy-themed spots this week, following the collapse of Lehman brothers, the buyout of Merrill Lynch and the government bailout of insurance giant AIG.

soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. Amy

    Again, another mixing of lies by John McCain!!! I wish people would research these issues for themselves. I am so ashame of McCain! I know he wants to win but to tell these lies should be beneath him & Palin. This really bothers me & should bother all of you as well!

    September 19, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. Undecided

    Obama wants to "write a new chapter in Washington politics". Well, I didn't realize his idea of change was making an unprecedented 77% of his ads negative (compared with 56% for McCain).

    And that despicable ad taking Rush Limbaugh's words totally out of context (he was immitating the Mexican government) and accusing McCain of sharing those beliefs. It's the all-time low.

    We need a real candidate...one that thinks reducing the debt and protecting the dollar is more important than propping up companies that are failing.

    September 19, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Brain in DC

    So how McCain will "change" Washington? Will he shuffle the Republican appointees around?? I'd say replacement is a real change!

    September 19, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. DECIDED

    SO scary !!! I can't believe have the Blls to say he would fire Cox LOL how presidential of him.. How about he's economic advisers that call AMERICANS A BUNCH OF WHINNERS?? PLEASE MCCAIN YOU ARE SUCH A LIAR!!!! YOU ARE FULL OF IT!!! I WAS UNDECIDED UNTIL I HEARD HIS SPEECH.. I'M A REPUBLICAN THAT FOR THE FIRST TIME WILL VOTE DEMOCRAT!!

    September 19, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. Janeen

    More lies by the Mccain Campaign. Hoe does our American News Media not call him out for his blatant lies?
    What happened to the day of Cronkite!
    Tough investigative journalism has long gone by!

    September 19, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Watching this election closely...

    To PoliticoPundit:
    You should really check your facts regarding BOTH candidate's position on the bailout. In fact, both candidate's have recognized that in THIS situation it is the best alternative (...of course, OBAMA reached this very logical conclusion FIRST!). Further, you should really review each candidate's position on the raising taxes. Based on the ignorance of your comments, I highly doubt YOU will be effected by the increase- in fact, YOU will be probably receive a bigger break under the Obama plan than the McCain plan.

    Do your research and stop parroting talking points...

    September 19, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Telling the truth

    Obama in just 2 years received so much money from Fannie Mae that he ranks No. 2 for total money for the last 10 years. Rev. Wright said it best, Obama is a typical politician doing and saying anything to get elected.

    Remember when Obama said he could no more disown Wright than he could his white grandmother? Well he threw Wright under the bus, has anyone seen his white grandmother lately?

    September 19, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. Bdiddy from Chicago

    This is stupid and neither candidate should be attacking each other but how about the economy. They are too busy trying to call each other out but they should really be focusing on the issues which is what are you going to do to fix it.

    Right now I'm dissappointed in both.

    September 19, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Long time Democrat for McCain

    He is telling the truth. Obama is lying.

    September 19, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Howard

    OBAMA = BETRAYAL
    Obama supporters are foolish to think that he will never betray them.
    Obama was a close friend of Pastor Wright for TWENTY YEARS.
    Obama threw Wright under the bus for personal ambition.
    McCain would not betray his country even after 5 years of torture.
    You can put lipstick on a traitor, but he's still a traitor.

    September 19, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. Dave

    Here's the thing; Obamabots cannot say that McCain is a liar with a straight face and the McCainites cannot do the same about Obama. That's the pot calling the kettle black. These guys and their campaign staffs are filled with people lying and distorting the truth. It's a part of this sham of an election. No matter what, we don't win. We don't get a POTUS with the best interest of the citizens on their mind (and no change is coming). Special interest (aka the elite) will run this person. This country has had the two-party system enforced upon it. The sheep just continually fall for it.

    September 19, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. Amy

    McCain has sunk to an new low......
    I could write this post every day!

    September 19, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. Franky

    "In a crisis, voters want steady, calm leadership, not easy, misleading answers that will do nothing to help. Mr. McCain is sounding like a candidate searching for a political foil rather than a genuine solution," the editorial also said. "He'll never beat Mr. Obama by running as an angry populist like Al Gore, circa 2000."

    OH...MY...GOD!!! I never thought I would hear this in my LIFE!!!

    I got some advice for Conservatives...it is Senator McCain, that's all. I know how it is but even I handle myself.

    September 19, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
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