With his supporters increasingly grumbling about what feels like a campaign perpetually fighting back against John McCain’s attacks, Barack Obama began an offensive assault today.
The Obama campaign is seizing on a statement by McCain Thursday night on CNN in which the Republican senator said, “It’s easy for me to go to Washington and, frankly, be somewhat divorced from the day-to-day challenges people have.”
In a conference call with reporters Friday morning, top Obama surrogates hammered McCain for the statement. Dick Durbin, senator from Illinois, said, “[McCain] wants to continue with George Bush have failed. If he would, you know, be in the real world of American families in New York, Illinois or Florida, he would understand that.”
Rahm Emanuel, a representative from Illinois and part of the Democratic House leadership, added, “[McCain is] removed from the day-to-day challenges people have faced in their lives. And you see it manifest itself in the thing when he says, you know, I don’t use a computer. I don’t use e-mail. There’s a whole economic revolution going on. And it fundamentally changed the economy, and fundamentally changed people’s lives, and he is removed from it.”
An unnamed Obama campaign official told Politico that the campaign’s message is simple: “Out of touch, out of touch, out of touch.”
The campaign also released two new advertisements Friday morning, one of which hits McCain hard for being behind the times. In it, the narrator says, “Things have changed in the last 26 years. But McCain hasn’t. He admits he still doesn’t know how to use a computer, can’t send an email. Still doesn’t understand the economy. And favors two hundred billion in new tax cuts for corporations, but almost nothing for the middle class. After one President who was out of touch, we just can’t afford more of the same.”
The Obama campaign is also releasing a decade’s worth of Joe Biden’s tax records in the hopes of pressuring a similar move from Sarah Palin.
While the Obama campaign has a number of messaging options available to it that may be more effective than the ones it has chosen in recent days — “same as Bush,” for example — supporters will likely be happy that Obama is on the offensive at all. Obama seemingly spent the summer parrying attacks from the McCain campaign, mostly on the subject of his celebrity. The defensive posture has only become more entrenched since the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s vice president.
But now that period may finally be over. The media loves a comeback story, which may mean that next week is dominated by “Obama regains his swagger” articles. If that’s the case, Obama may blunt the recent polling swing toward McCain in time for the first debate later this month.