Republican John McCain ratcheted up his attacks on Barack Obama, debuting a new web ad mocking the Democrat as a quasi-divine figure who had anointed himself to rule the world.
The Arizona senator sharpened his newly negative tone on a day when Obama was heckled by African American protestors in Florida, and denied McCain campaign claims he had injected race into the increasingly testy battle.
"Can you see the light?" McCain’s sarcastic web video sent to supporters asked, arguing that Obama, who wowed Europeans on a foreign tour last week, is arrogant, consumed by his own celebrity and not yet ready to lead.
"It shall be known, that in 2008, the world will be blessed," says the narrator of the minute-long web video, replete with religious imagery.
"They will call him, ‘The One,’" the advertisement said, using a sarcastic tone which includes footage of Charlton Heston as Moses in the movie "Ten Commandments."
The ad features moments from Obama’s soaring speeches taken out of context. In one clip, Senator Obama is seen being asked in a television interview: "do you have any doubts?" to which the Illinois senator replies "Never."
"Barack Obama may be ‘The One’ but is he ready to lead?" asked the narrator, rounding off the ad.
The ad played into the evolving McCain campaign narrative that Obama may be a talented orator and popular abroad, but is not yet ready to lead the United States in a time of war.
The latest McCain video was released as a furore raged over the previous McCain attack ad, which compared Obama to troubled popular culture divas Paris Hilton and Britney Spears and mocked his global celebrity.
Obama campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan branded Friday’s assault "juvenile."
"Senator McCain can keep telling everyone how ‘proud’ he is of these political stunts which even his Republican friends and advisors have called ‘childish’ but Barack Obama will continue talking about his plan to jumpstart our economy by giving working families 1,000 dollars of immediate relief."
Labor Department figures Friday showed US employers shed 51,000 nonfarm jobs in July marking a seventh straight month of job cuts.
Obama meanwhile proposed giving American families 1,000 dollars in emergency tax rebates financed by a windfall profits tax on big oil companies.
Earlier, McCain portrayed Obama as a talented orator who lacked substance as both senators held dueling events in Florida, a crucial battleground state in November’s general election.
"If there’s one thing he always delivers it’s a great speech," McCain told the National Urban League conference, which Obama was due to address on Saturday.
"But I hope you’ll listen carefully, because his ideas are not always as impressive as his rhetoric," McCain said.
Earlier, on the latest frenetic day on the campaign trail, several African American hecklers accused Obama of ignoring "oppressed" black voters.
"What about the black community?" the protestors shouted, prompting Obama’s supporters to chant his slogan "Yes We Can" to drown them out.
"Excuse me, young man, this is going to be a question and answer session, so you can ask a question later," Obama, who is vying to be the first African American president, told one of the protestors in a rare interruption to one of his campaign events.
The unidentified protestor was later given a microphone and accused Obama of neglecting the African American community.
"Why is it that you have not had the ability to not one time speak to the interests and even speak on behalf of the oppressed and exploited African-American community, or black community in this country," the man asked.
Obama said the question was an example of "democracy at work," adding "I think you’re misinformed… when you say not one time," Obama said.
"Every issue that you’ve spoken about, I actually did speak out of."
The Democratic candidate also dismissed claims by the McCain campaign that he had played the ‘race card’ by saying in Missouri Wednesday that Republicans would point out he does not look like presidents pictured on dollar bills.
"What I said was what I think everybody knows, which is that I don’t look like I came out of central casting when it comes to presidential candidates," Obama told the St Petersburg Times in an interview.