New McCain Ad Touts Popularity with Democrats

John McCain has a new ad out meant to show his popularity across the aisle:

The commercial features clips from well-known Democrats praising the Republican candidate: former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle , Delaware Senator Joe Biden, 2004 Presidential candidate John Kerry, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold (co-sponsor of the McCain Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act), even Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (whose clip of McCain praise includes a jab at Obama). The ad is successful in some regards, but might come back to bite McCain in the long run.

My criticism of earlier McCain ads was that they often spent too much time talking about Senator Obama and not enough saying why he’s a better candidate – but in this video, we hear total praise of McCain and only one shot at Obama. However, this exposes McCain to two dangers: he might come off as too liberal for some in the Republican base, and Democrats could go after McCain for his shift further right since he started running for President.

We all remember how much conservatives disliked the idea of McCain as the nominee when he first won in the primaries, and although he has done a lot to reassure those voters at the far-right end of the spectrum that he is one of them, McCain still has a lot of work to do. Having an ad that shows gushing praise from Howard Dean and John Kerry might appeal to independent voters, but not to the more dedicated Republicans. Also, Democrats have made a lot of noise about how McCain’s move to become more conservative during his Presidential campaign (like in this recent MoveOn ad), and a video called “Maverick No More” has already hit the YouTubes. Showing McCain’s former popularity with Democrats could only make their attacks more effective.

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