John McCain is out with a new campaign ad (his second attack spot in less than a week) with a message that is hardly discreet: Barack Obama is to blame for skyrocketing gas prices.
The spot, entitled "Pump," will air on national cable and in key states according to the campaign. And it is a doozy. Opening with a picture of a solitary pump -- for some reason positioned in the middle of a river -- a narrator chimes in:
"Gas prices -- $4, $5, no end in sight, because some in Washington are still saying no to drilling in America. No to independence from foreign oil. Who can you thank for rising prices at the pump?"
In the background comes an ever increasing chant of "Obama, Obama," followed by a picture of the Illinois Democrat.
"One man knows we must now drill more in America and rescue our family budgets. Don't hope for more energy, vote for it. McCain."
Ignoring, for the moment, the idea that high gas prices are the fault of one senator as opposed to, say, the President of the United States, there are other objectionable aspects to McCain's latest spot. For starters, McCain is a recent convert to off-shore drilling, so his opposition (if it had an effect at all) is as responsible for our country's energy problems as Obama's. More significantly, of course, the implicit message of the ad -- that more drilling will lead to short-term relief at the pump -- is a notion disputed by every credible economist, including many of the 300 McCain claims support his candidacy.
Update: The Obama campaign responds, with a statement from spokesman Tommy Vietor.
"John McCain said recently that 'our dangerous dependence on foreign oil has been thirty years in the making, and was caused by the failure of politicians in Washington.' As someone who's been in Washington for 26 years, Senator McCain is one of those politicians, and he's consistently opposed investments in renewable energy that would reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Now he's proposing nearly $4 billion in tax breaks for the oil companies and Washington gimmicks that he admits will only provide 'psychological relief' to consumers. Barack Obama has fought for energy independence in the Senate and has a plan to invest $150 billion in renewable sources of energy that will create five million new jobs and provide struggling families with an immediate energy rebate and a $1,000 middle-class tax cut."