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McCain Camp Repeats Debunked Info to Support New Ad

The McCain campaign released a new TV ad attacking Sen. Barack Obama today. In the spot, titled "Family," the announcer picks up on the "Celeb" theme and refers to the presumed Democratic nominee as ‘the biggest celebrity in the world." Otherwise, the ad is relatively generic, using McCain’s familiar attacks on energy and taxes to suggest an Obama presidency will be bad for the American family. What is notable, however, is that on the press release announcing the new ad — available on the campaign Website — the McCain campaign provides a fact sheet to substantiate the information in the ad. Among these "facts" is an item that was previously discredited by FactCheck.org, the non-partisan fact-checking Website. From the press release:

· Barack Obama Called For Tax Hikes On "Dirty Energy" Such As Coal And Natural Gas. Obama: "What we ought to tax is dirty energy, like coal and, to a lesser extent, natural gas." ("Q&A With Sen. Barack Obama," San Antonio Express-News, 2/19/08)

We’ve already been over this, so I’ll just briefly summarize. The above quote was taken out of context. Obama was actually responding to a question from his interviewer about whether new taxes on energy could be a way to fund education — which he actually said he opposes. Here’s the full exchange:

Guerra: Have you considered other funding sources, say taxing emerging energy forms, for example, say a penny per kilowatt hour on wind energy?

Obama: Well, that’s clean energy, and we want to drive down the cost of that, not raise it. We need to give them subsidies so they can start developing that. What we ought to tax is dirty energy, like coal and, to a lesser extent, natural gas.

But I think that the real way to fund education is for local communities to step up and say this is important to us. There are no shortcuts. When people say they want to fund education with lotteries, or do this or do that, what they are saying is that this isn’t a top priority. It should be a top priority and people should be saying, we get what we pay for.

So the McCain camp continues to rely on false information to bolster its ads.

PRODUCTION NOTES: As I said, the ad is pretty generic and doesn’t contain anything new. However, the spot is almost evenly balanced in the amount of time it spends attacking Obama versus promoting McCain — a departure from past attack ads that were almost exclusively about Obama. This may be a response to criticism that the McCain campaign’s recent advertising has focused too much on tearing down the Democratic nominee. There may be one other point worth pondering. A reporter on the McCain press bus suggested that one shot may contain a subliminal message. At about eight seconds in, a message appears — "Obama: READY TO HELP YOUR FAMILY?" — as a child sits is on his father’s shoulders. There is a flash and the image ominously shifts from color to black-and-white before fading out — a technique commonly used to suggest death in television and movies. Is the McCain campaign’s implicit message that an Obama presidency will spell the death of the American family? Maybe not, but the imagery is certainly suggestive.

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