ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) | Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain punched up the themes that will drive the fall presidential campaign in new and expanded commercial spots airing Tuesday.
Mr. Obama, the Democratic nominee, linked Mr. McCain to President Bush. Mr. McCain, about to be nominated by the Republican Party this week, portrayed Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats as heralds of higher taxes and increased spending.
The new ads emerged as the campaigns upgraded their partisan pitches after a brief lull during the threat of Hurricane Gustav’s landfall on the Gulf Coast.
“We’re obviously relieved that the storm was not as strong as many anticipated and are moving forward with the convention and with ads,” McCain spokesman Brain Rogers said.
Mr. McCain’s ad, paid for by the campaign and the Republican National Committee, expanded his presence into Florida, Minnesota and North Carolina, states where he had not advertised before.
Mr. Obama, for his part, broadened his ad campaign after retrenching last week during the Democratic National Convention.
Mr. Obama, who had been advertising in 18 states, decided to run commercial spots during the DNC only in states where Mr. McCain was running anti-Obama ads. He returned to the air Tuesday in 17 states, apparently dropping Georgia from his rotation, according to advertising data obtained by the Associated Press.
Mr. Obama also appeared to have cut back ad spending in Virginia and Florida, though his spots would run in some regions of both states.
In addition to those states, the campaign is running ads in Alaska, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Mr. Obama’s new ad continues to drive the campaign’s primary goal - linking Mr. McCain to an unpopular Mr. Bush.
The ad shows Mr. McCain and Mr. Bush together - hugging, shaking hands, laughing - in various still photographs. An announcer says: “They share the same out-of-touch attitude. The same failure to understand the economy. The same tax cuts for huge corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent. The same questionable ties to lobbyists. The same plan to spend $10 billion a month in Iraq when we should be rebuilding America.”
It ends with Mr. McCain, in a TV interview, stating: “I voted with the president over 90 percent of the time, higher than a lot of my even Republican colleagues.”
The McCain-RNC ad begins with crowd shots from Mr. Obama’s speech in Berlin as an announcer states: “Take away the crowds, the chant, all that’s left are costly words.” The ad shows images of top Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont and Charles E. Schumer of New York. “They’re ready to tax, ready to spend, but not ready to lead,” the ad states.
In addition to Florida, Minnesota and North Carolina, the McCain ad is airing in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Northern Virginia and Wisconsin.