You can tell Barack Obama's new ad is going to be a little more aggressive right off the bat: The legally required "I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this message" tag comes at the beginning, not at the end.
"Economics, by John McCain," the narrator says, as the screen fills with images from a fake textbook by the same title. "Support George Bush 95 percent of the time. Keep spending ten billion dollars a month for the war in Iraq, while the Iraqis sell oil for record prices -- giving Iraq a $79 billion oil surplus and hurting our economy."
Obama may be on vacation this week, but in his absence, his campaign has apparently settled its recent debate over whether to hit back at McCain's recent negative ads. This one aims at the one issue Republicans think is helping them -- gas prices -- and it uses two of McCain's potential vulnerabilities -- the war and the economy -- to do it. Quite a few Democrats worry that Obama isn't doing as well in polls as he should be, considering that generic ballot questions indicate most Americans would almost rather elect a communist than a Republican to most federal offices. So Obama's campaign has ratcheted up its efforts -- matched by the Democratic National Committee -- to link McCain and Bush, and this ad is the latest sign.
It'll run in the 16 battleground states where Obama has put most of his general election ads so far, from Alaska to Florida. (Another ad you may have seen lately if you've been watching the Olympics, "Hands," which features sunny predictions of a glorious future free of foreign oil if Obama wins, will stay on the air nationally, a spokesman told me.) Take a look at the new spot, called "Book," here: