The nimble Obama campaign is out with an ad playing up Vice President Cheney’s remarks on Saturday supporting Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president as an "endorsement," even though Cheney has long backed McCain.
The piece de resistance: two photos of McCain with President Bush.
The ad underscores the persistent message of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) that electing McCain would amount to a third term for the current administration. And it contrasts the unpopular vice president’s “endorsement” with Obama’s big guns – capitalist Warren Buffett and retired Army general Colin Powell.
The Obama campaign cleverly framed Cheney’s remarks at a Republican turnout rally in Wyoming as an endorsement, even though he had previously expressed on-camera support for McCain.
“Cheney Endorses McCain-Palin” said the subject line of an Obama campaign e-mail to reporters — complete with YouTube link – less than 90 minutes after Cheney started speaking.
In the 30-second spot, called “Delighted,” the male announcer says: “Barack Obama. Endorsed by Warren Buffett and Colin Powell. And John McCain's latest endorsement?”
Then goofy music comes up in the background, like you might hear in a holiday cartoon special.
Then the vice president says: “I'm delighted to support John McCain and I'm pleased that he's chosen a running mate with executive talent, toughness and common sense — our next vice president, Sarah Palin.”
The ad includes a photo of Palin pointing goofily.
Announcer: “And boy did McCain earn it. He voted with Bush and Cheney 90 percent of the time.”
Then the ad repeats the clip of Cheney saying: “I'm delighted to support John McCain.”
Announcer: “And that's not the change we need.”
Obama: “I'm Barack Obama and I approved this message.”
The idea of Cheney “endorsing” McCain is a concoction. Cheney said on camera in Richmond on May 30 at the Republican Party of Virginia Commonwealth Gala: “Of course, looking to the fall campaign, I'll be there with all of you to make sure that we elect John McCain the 44th President of the United States.”
On April 10, Cheney told Sean Hannity in a telephone interview for his radio show, “I am a McCain supporter. (Laughter) I think that wouldn't surprise anybody.”
Hannity replied, “I'm shocked,” followed by more laughter.
Cheney had been scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., but his Monday speaking slot vanished when the program was curtailed because of Hurricane Gustav.
Megan Mitchell, the vice president’s press secretary, tells Politico that Cheney “voted for Sen. McCain earlier last month (via absentee ballot, which I announced last week).”
At the Wyoming Victory Rally at Laramie High School in Laramie, Wyoming, Cheney said: “This year, of course, I'm not on the ballot. So I'm here to ask you to vote — I'm not here to ask you to vote for me, but I do want to join my daughter Liz, who's with me today, and join us in casting your ballots for John McCain and Sarah Palin. (Applause). Our country cannot afford the high-tax liberalism of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. (Applause.) …
On his home turf, Cheney turned reflective: “Having Liz today here with us is a special treat. Lynne and the girls started campaigning with me back in 1978, when I first ran for Congress. Liz was 12 years old. (Laughter.) She's a little older now, and the mother of five of my grandchildren. (Applause.)
“Time after time over the years, the family set aside other activities in order to join me on the road. They handed out Cheney for Congress buttons, went on bus tours, helped me plan national campaign strategy, and reminded me for years to smile for the cameras. (Laughter.) The girls have also made me a grandfather six times. I've had a long career in politics, though today, looking back, it seems to have passed in the blink of an eye. But at every stage I've been lucky to have the love and support of my wonderful wife and daughters.”