The campaign unveiled its first TV ad of the general election, which will run, for now, only in New Mexico (5 EVs). This is a state that was carried by Gore in '00 but flipped to Bush in '04. This appears to be a preview of what next week's biography tour will be focused on; getting to know McCain.
Full script of the ad, titled: "624787," his Navy serial number:
MCCAIN: Keep that faith. Keep your courage. Stick together. Stay strong. Do not yield. Stand up. We're Americans. And we'll never surrender. ANNCR: What must a president believe about us? About America? That she is worth protecting? That liberty is priceless? Our people, honorable? Our future, prosperous, remarkable and free? And, what must we believe about that president? What does he think? Where has he been? Has he walked the walk?
INTERVIEWER: What is your rank? JOHN MCCAIN: Lt. Commander in the Navy. INTERVIEWER: And your official number? JOHN MCCAIN: 624787 ANNCR: John McCain The American president Americans have been waiting for.
Politico's Ben Smith points out, "The narrator is Powers Boothe, best known for his work in 'Deadwood' and 'Red Dawn.'"
USA Today previews the bio tour McCain is embarking on. He will be "visiting schools and military installations "that have played a significant role in shaping who I am today," as McCain put it in a fundraising letter. Senior campaign adviser Charles Black said, "We do not take it for granted that people know his background." The goal is to fix McCain's image in the voters' minds before the Democrats do it for him -- provided he has the money." Stops include Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va.; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; military bases in Florida and Mississippi; and his political base in Arizona. The son and grandson of admirals, McCain is also expected to discuss his service during the Vietnam War.
The campaign got a taste of what life could be like if the economy is the No. 1 issue and the Democrats relentlessly attack him on the issue.
"In an economic speech on Tuesday, McCain (Ariz.) said he supports government assistance for Americans facing home foreclosure because of the turmoil in financial markets. But he declined to embrace the kind of government intervention for individuals and institutions favored by Clinton and Obama, arguing that 'it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.'
"Obama (Ill.) and Clinton (N.Y.) have pounced on that quote in an effort to paint McCain as indifferent to the problems of ordinary Americans. Speaking in New York yesterday, Obama characterized McCain's views as amounting to 'little more than watching this crisis happen.' Clinton, appearing in Raleigh, N.C., said McCain prefers to ignore the crisis or simply blame families for their problems.
" 'Sometimes the phone rings at 3 a.m. in the White House and it's an economic crisis,' Clinton said, alluding to an ad she ran against Obama weeks ago. 'And we need a president who is ready and willing and able to answer that call.' McCain's plan, she said, does virtually nothing to ease the credit or housing crisis. 'It seems like if the phone were ringing, he would just let it ring and ring and ring,' she said."
In case you hadn't noticed, NYT's David Brooks is back to being a BIG fan of McCain. "McCain opened his speech with a description of his father leaving home on the day of Pearl Harbor, and then being gone for much of the next four years. He harkened back repeatedly to the accomplishments of the Truman administration.
"In so doing, he signaled that the foreign policy debate of the coming months will be very different from the one of the past six years. Anybody who thinks McCain is merely continuing the Bush agenda is not paying attention"