- The Washington Times - Friday, March 28, 2008

Sen. John McCain has released what his presidential campaign is billing as the first general election commercial of the year, taking off on the success of the ad he used during the primaries featuring footage of him as a prisoner of war.

Titled “624787” his military serial number the ad begins with Mr. McCain giving a campaign speech and ends with the footage from Vietnam of then-Lt. Cmdr. McCain in a hospital bed as a POW.

Sandwiched in the middle are headlines from papers touting his support for tax cuts and editorials describing him as a “real hero” and “ready on day one.”

“The American president Americans have been waiting for,” the announcer says in the ad, which the campaign said for now is only running in New Mexico. That is very similar to the line “We are the ones we have been waiting for,” which has become a staple of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Sen. John McCain’s new ad, “624787”

In addition, the announcer asks questions in the ad that the McCain campaign says voters should ask about their candidates: “What does he think? Where has he been? Has he walked the walk?” Mr. McCain has sewn up the delegates to secure the Republican nomination, but Mr. Obama is still battling with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for their party’s nomination. That leaves Mr. McCain an opportunity to try to define himself for the broader range of general election voters while Democrats are still focused on their primary election fight. The McCain campaign said the ad coincides with a “Service to America” tour that will visit key places in his life and try to reintroduce him to voters. The Democratic National Committee wondered how an ad run in one state would reintroduce Mr. McCain to voters nationwide. “Has his poor fundraising prevented him from a wider ad buy?” said Damien LaVera, a DNC spokesman.

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