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McCain: The Ron Paul danger

"In the libertarian-leaning West, where Paul's message of distrust of the federal government and ardent individualism played particularly well, there is talk of Republicans straying from McCain," the AP writes. "Libertarian candidate Bob Barr has emerged as a favorite alternative for Paul activists, followed by Constitutional Party candidate Chuck Baldwin. Even if the numbers of such dissenters are small, in tight contests in key Western states they could spoil McCain's chances, experts say."

VIDEO: Just hours after returning from his trip overseas, Barack Obama faced a string of attacks from John McCain, who accused him of calling for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq for political gain. NBC's Kevin Corke reports.

At his fundraiser in Kansas City yesterday, McCain talked about Social Security and his opponent's lack of military service, NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy points out. "I am opposed to raising taxes," the Arizona senator said. "Sen. Obama wants to raise your taxes. He wants to raise your taxes and if any negotiation I might have when I go in my position will be that I am opposed to raising taxes, but we have to work together to save Social Security."

And: "What puzzled me was when Sen. Obama announced his policy concerning Iraq before he left, after not having been there in more than 900 days. And he got a briefing from Gen. Petraeus, and Gen. Petraeus told him that his policy of setting a date for withdrawal was dangerous for America. And the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on television, our highest-ranking military officer, said it would be a dangerous course. Now for somebody who's had no military experience whatsoever, I would strongly recommend that Sen. Obama at least listen, at least listen to our military leaders and not devise a policy before you leave."

MoveOn and the Sierra Club will begin airing two new TV ads that hit McCain on the issue of energy. A MoveOn spokesman tells First Read that both ad buys are in the six figures.

MoveOn's ad features a testimonial from a father: "Sen. McCain, you let me and my kids down. From the very beginning, I told them, 'This is a principled guy.' So when you said you were going to help me drive affordably again, I believed you. And then your idea is to do offshore drilling, which I find out won't produce any oil for 10 years…" 

The Sierra Club's ad: "Big Oil companies have our economy and politics in a choke hold. They are getting billions from the government...raking in record profits...while we pay $4 a gallon for gas. John McCain's answer? Another $4 billion giveaway to Big Oil."