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Obama: The Dick Lugar factor

Per Obama spokesman Bill Burton, Obama today in Florida "will be introduced by Jeff Blake, a St. Petersburg resident who will talk about his own experiences tackling the challenges that face so many Americans under the Bush economy -- rising gas prices and stagnant wages. Sen. Obama will discuss his plans to provide real relief to families struggling in these tough economic times and the need for further stimulus to jumpstart the economy." 

VIDEO: Sen. Barack Obama held an economic town hall in Springfield, Missouri challenging John McCain to a duel on tax policy. Newsweek's Richard Wolffe talks about who has the better chance of winning the battle over the economy.

Yesterday, "Obama seized on a record oil company profit to argue that rival John McCain offers only tax breaks for Big Oil and 'short-term gimmicks' to consumers struggling with soaring gasoline prices."

In the latest issue of National Journal, Kirk Victor notes how Obama has been able to use GOP Sen. Dick Lugar (R) in his ads. "Turn on a television in a battleground state and chances are that you'll see an ad featuring … Obama talking about his work with … Lugar to stop the spread of nuclear weapons… Lugar has endorsed Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, but he does not object to being mentioned in the Obama ad, which is airing in 18 states, including Lugar's own Indiana. 'I've made no attempt to either suggest or censor ads run by Democratic candidates,' Lugar said at a press conference on U.S.-Pakistan relations on July 15. 'I'll simply say that the ad is accurate.'"

More: "That a Republican lawmaker would appear in a Democratic presidential ad is unusual, observed Darrell West of the Brookings Institution. 'Just being in an ad, even if you have not endorsed the individual, conveys a sense of bipartisanship. So it does indirectly aid Obama, whether Lugar intended that or not,' he noted."