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McCain Calls Obama ‘a Hypocrite’

It is sometimes hard to decide whether or not to write about the McCain campaign’s myriad videos, which will never air, and TV ads, which probably won’t air either. But its newest video, titled “Strong,” is significant because it suggests the campaign is worried about the damage the financial crisis might inflict on the Republican presidential nominee.

How can you tell?

It’s not just that the ad calls Sen. Barack Obama a “hypocrite” outright — most candidates will shy away from such direct accusations, preferring instead to insinuate it. But McCain calls Obama a hypocrite based on extremely flimsy logic. Have a look:

PRODUCTION NOTES: First of all, it is noteworthy that the ad begins by saying, “First, Obama attacked McCain.”

Oh really? On what, exactly?

The McCain campaign declines to repeat McCain’s absurd — and widely mocked — assertion that “the fundamentals of the economy are strong.” In light of recent events, it’s probably best to tip-toe around that blunder.

The video then shows a clip of Obama speaking yesterday in Colorado:

“We’ve got the long-term fundamentals that will really make sure this economy grows.”

The video’s narrator construes Obama’s quote as an endorsement of McCain’s position that the fundamentals of the economy are strong–or an admission that Obama’s “own attacks are shameless.”

Either way, the narrator says, Obama’s “a hypocrite.”

Of course, it’s not nearly as cut and dry as the McCain campaign would like it to be. As ABC’s Jake Tapper pointed out when a Republican National Committee spokesman cited the same Obama quote yesterday, it is taken out of context. If you listen to the whole passage, Obama clearly wasn’t talking about the fundamentals of the economy but the fundamentals of his economic plan.

“I have said it before and I’ll say it again: We need to pass, after this immediate crisis is over, an economic stimulus plan. Right now. For working families - a plan that will help folks cope with rising food and gas prices, that can save one million jobs by rebuilding our schools and our roads, and help states and cities avoid budget cuts and tax increases. A plan that would extend expiring unemployment benefits. For those Americans who have lost their jobs and have been working hard to find a new one, but haven’t found one yet. That’s part of the change we need.

And then, after this immediate problem, we’ve got the long-term fundamentals that will really make sure this economy grows. Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses that deserve it. As president I am going to eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-ups. That’s how we’ll grow our economy and create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow. I will cut taxes - cut taxes - but not the way John McCain does things. I’ll cut taxes for 95% of all working families.”

Back to my original point: You can really tell a candidate is getting desperate when he or she starts hurling charges that don’t even begin to have a solid factual or logical footing. McCain and his staff certainly knew that Obama was not saying something as ridiculous as “the fundamentals of the economy are strong” — but that didn’t stop them from making this video.

That’s not “Straight Talk.” That’s a complete lack of integrity–and respect for the intelligence of the American people.

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