Latest McCain ad repeats dubious "most liberal" tag

A new anti-Obama spot implies that the Democrat is lying when he disputes a list ranking him as the Senate's most liberal member in 2007.

Published October 8, 2008 3:10PM (EDT)

It's the ranking that just will not die -- the National Journal's dubious characterization of Barack Obama as being the Senate's most liberal member in 2007 has popped up again, this time in the latest McCain ad.

In the spot, titled "Folks," the narrator says, "Who is Barack Obama? The National Journal says he's the Senate's most liberal. How extreme." The ad then shows footage of Obama disputing the ranking, and the narrator concludes, "Mr. Obama, we all know the truth ... Not presidential."

This is just the latest salvo in what my former colleague, Time's Michael Scherer, has called "McCain's 'Manchurian Candidate' attack." As he explained, "The Manchurian Candidate is a well-trod technique in political warfare: You claim that you are the candidate people know, while your opponent is not who he seems to be. In fact, you argue, he has secret ulterior motives that he is trying to hide."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama John Mccain R-ariz.