DOVER, N.H. - Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama signaled Friday his campaign would mount an aggressive push to paint his Republican rival as befuddled and out of touch, using some of the tactics he decried as distracting from the nation’s important challenges.
Mr. Obama said Republican Sen. John McCain will represent President Bush’s policies on the fall ballot and serve only the “special interests” and the “wealthiest of the wealthy,” while he is the one who is actually “fighting for the middle class of this country.”
“Maybe from where he and George Bush sit, maybe things do look fundamentally sound, maybe they don’t see what’s taking place, maybe they are a bit out of touch,” Mr. Obama said during a town hall forum here. The crowd of 325 included 147 undecided and independent voters.
“I do see what’s going on all across America,” he said. “We can’t afford four more years of what George Bush and John McCain consider progress.”
The Illinois senator’s riff here was part of an all-fronts attack against Mr. McCain, who has seized a slim lead in several national polls and is inching uncomfortably close to Team Obama in key battleground states.
Two new ads suggested Mr. McCain can’t understand everyday Americans and is falsely portraying himself as offering change.
The Obama campaign said the new ads show “John McCain is out of touch with the American people and unable to address the challenges facing the country in the 21st century and bring about real change, and that Barack Obama is the candidate who will bring about change that works for the middle class.”
One slammed Mr. McCain, 72, for saying in an interview he “can’t send email” and notes “he admits he still doesn’t know how to use a computer.”
It begins by showing an unflattering photo of Mr. McCain’s early years in the Senate and a narrator stating, “Things have changed in the last 26 years, but McCain hasn’t.”
Like many Obama ads, it includes a photo of Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain side by side.
“After one president who was out of touch, we just cant afford more of the same,” the ad concludes.
The Republicans, meanwhile, parsed words to say the Democratic ticket has “lashed out” and is being “disrespectful” toward McCain running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
“He was the world’s biggest celebrity, but his star’s fading,” the ad states. “So they lashed out at Sarah Palin.”
It claims she was “dismissed” as “good looking,” even though Obama running mate Sen. Joe Biden meant the words as a compliment.
“That backfired, so they said she was doing, ‘what she was told,’” the ad continues, citing a portion of a quote from Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod.