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McCain Ad: Obama’s a ‘Hypocritical’ Liar

In its newest TV ad, titled “Hypo,” the McCain campaign labels Sen. Barack Obama a “hypocritical” liar.

I’ll pause a moment to allow the irony — some might call it hypocrisy — of that sentence to sink in.

PRODUCTION NOTES: Oh, where to begin?

The spot begins with a story that was reported a couple of weeks ago in Missouri. The story was about Obama’s Missouri “truth squad,” which is composed of numerous Missouri public officials, including some prosecutors and sheriffs. The squad’s purpose is to rapidly respond to false or misleading anti-Obama ads in the state.

Missouri Republicans quickly pointed to the presence of law enforcement officials on the squad as evidence that the Obama campaign intended to intimidate, or even lock up, people who criticized its candidate — and the story linked above appeared to confirm that.

Matt Blunt, the Republican governor, issued a statement condemning the truth squad as “scandalous beyond words.”

However, as ABC’s Jake Tapper reported, John Mills, the reporter, subsequently clarified his story, saying that the truth squad would hold a news conference to call out misleading ads.

As for the rest of the McCain ad, it’s all fair game. There is no question that both candidates have made false claims about each other.

For McCain, however, to try to lay claim to the high road, at this late date, is more than a little absurd — especially after FactCheck.org called a McCain attack ad released yesterday “dishonorable” because of its distortions.

The real kicker is that McCain comes right out and says Obama “lied,” when he “promised better.”

Don’t forget that McCain daily promised through early summer to run an honorable campaign. So perhaps Obama did lie when he promised better, but so did McCain. Neither candidate has lived up to their early promises to run a different kind of campaign — and that’s a real shame.

It’s also the point of the ad. If McCain can convince voters that he hasn’t been the only candidate dragging the presidential campaign into the ditch, he might be able to gin up some sympathy for playing by the old rules.

But McCain’s operation developed a reputation for dishonesty early on, and such labels are hard to shake. By making William Ayers a campaign issue, and reviving Obama’s association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, as Gov. Sarah Palin has done, the McCain campaign risks resurrecting its rep for dishonesty.

Obama immediately hit back with Charles Keating. It may have been a smart move, politically, but it also played right into McCain’s hands by showing that Obama is willing to play that game too.

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