In a presidential race turning increasingly negative, Democratic nominee Barack Obama drew on editorial comments from U.S. newspapers and magazines Monday to accuse John McCain of running a dishonest campaign with some of the "sleaziest ads" ever seen.
Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, said McCain was "launching a low blow a day" and went on to say he stands "with George Bush firmly in the corner of the wealthy and well-connected."
Obama, flying to Colorado to begin a swing through contested Western states, leveled his charges in a new television commercial that aggressively pushes back against charges by McCain, the GOP presidential nominee. Obama has been under increasing pressure from Democrats to strike back harder at McCain, who has taken a slight lead in national polls. Some leading Republicans faulted both presidential campaigns Sunday for the increasingly negative tone of their advertising.
Former Bush political adviser Karl Rove said McCain and Obama had both shaded the truth in campaign advertising.
"McCain has gone, in some of his ads, similarly gone one step too far in sort of attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the 100-percent truth test," Rove told "Fox News Sunday."
The Obama campaign has complained especially about an ad that declares Obama supports sex education for kindergartners. He supported legislation that would teach age-appropriate sex education to kindergartners, including information on rejecting advances by sexual predators.
"Both campaigns are making a mistake, and that is they are taking whatever their attacks are and going one step too far," Rove said. "They don’t need to attack each other in this way."
Obama’s new commercial opens with a picture of McCain saying, "I will not take the low road to the highest office in this land." The announcer then asks, "What happened to John McCain?"
The ad uses brief phrases from editorials and commentators from The Washington Post, Time magazine, the Chicago Tribune, CBS and The New Republic: "one of the sleaziest ads ever seen," "truly vile," "dishonest smears," "exposed as a lie," "a disgraceful, dishonest campaign." It concludes, "It seems `deception’ is all he’s got left."
The McCain campaign also has put out an Internet ad accusing Obama of calling Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin a pig when he used the phrase putting "lipstick on a pig" to criticize the GOP ticket as trying to make a bad situation look better. McCain supporters said Obama was slyly alluding to Palin’s description of herself as a pit bull in lipstick, but there was nothing in his remarks to support the claim.
Biden, in an appearance planned Monday in St. Clair Shores, Mich., tried to link McCain with President Bush.
"If you’re ready for four more years of George Bush, John McCain is your man," Biden said in prepared remarks. "Just as George Herbert Walker Bush was nicknamed `Bush 41′ and his son is known as `Bush 43,’ John McCain could easily become known as `Bush 44.’"
Excerpts of Biden’s speech were released in advance by the Obama-Biden campaign.
With a passing reference to McCain’s sacrifices as a Vietnam prisoner of war, Biden said: "America needs more than a great solider, America needs a wise leader. Take a hard look at the positions John has taken for the past 26 years, on the economy, on health care, on foreign policy, and you’ll see why I say that John McCain is just four more years of George Bush."