Ad Suggestion For Obama -- McCain AWOL On GI Bill

[ Posted Wednesday, September 10th, 2008 – 15:38 UTC ]

Barack Obama has been getting lots of advice recently about what to do out on the campaign trail. Since it seems to be "Give Obama Advice Week," I'd like to offer up a campaign ad script.

Part of the problem Obama's been having since Sarah Palin appeared is that he's been playing defense ever since. He needs to go back on the offense on McCain, and drive the news cycle instead of just reacting to it.

There's a simple way to do this. It's actually Politics 101. Since John McCain has been in Congress for decades, he has a voting record just chock full of issues that can be easily made into campaign ads. McCain's record is a goldmine of political stances that average American voters would not agree with.

There are dozens of opportunities to do this, and all it would take would be a few hours of fact-checking to come up with some hard-hitting ads. How about "John McCain voted for earmarks 50 times while in the Senate." Or "John McCain voted against a minimum wage increase 19 times in Congress." Or how about "John McCain says he's for alternative energy now. Why should we believe him? He has voted against alternative energy 99% of the time in the Senate." Or: "John McCain was against honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. with a federal holiday."

Now, I fully admit that I made up those numbers, since I didn't have time to research them all. But there are all kinds of ways to attack John McCain's voting record, and so far I haven't heard Barack Obama even mention it. It's time to fight fire with fire -- point out McCain's most embarassing votes, and paint him as an extremist or a party hack while doing so. Also paint him as anti-middle-class.

This stuff really isn't rocket science, folks.

The biggest recent issue McCain was on the wrong side of is a doozy, because it allows Obama to position himself as stronger on veterans than McCain. John McCain actively opposed Senator Jim Webb's new GI Bill, and then he skipped the vote when it was obvious it was going to pass with a veto-proof majority. Barack Obama should point this out every day on the campaign trail, in the strongest of language.

To kick off this effort, I would suggest the following television ad:


[STOCK VIDEO THROUGHOUT: lots of images of soldiers, veterans, with plenty of flags and other patriotic backdrops.]

[VOICEOVER:] John McCain says he supports America's proud veterans.

[TEXT ON SCREEN:] Straight talk: John McCain does not support veterans when it matters.

[VOICEOVER:] George Bush tried to privatize veterans' health care. And we got the Walter Reed fiasco as a result.

[VIDEO: Photos of decrepit Walter Reed facilities]

[VOICEOVER:] But even after that shame was exposed, John McCain fought Barack Obama and others when they tried to increase funding for veterans' health care. Instead, John McCain wanted to end guaranteed VA health care for all veterans. He called America's promise to take care of her veterans a "burden." Even Bush's VA Secretary called McCain's idea "dangerous."

[TEXT (appears, then zooms slowly, moving to center-right until only "UR" can be seen, right before the fade):] "BURDEN"

[VOICEOVER:] John McCain actually wanted to ration health care for veterans.

[TEXT (appears, then zooms to center, until only the letters "RAT" can be seen, right before the fade):] (Excerpt: Army Times, 7/23/08) "John McCain appeared Tuesday to suggest rationing of veterans' health care may be needed..."

[VOICEOVER:] John McCain has voted against veterans' benefits at least 30 times in the Senate. He voted 15 times in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy instead of providing funds for veterans.

[VIDEO: Casual photo of veteran in front of a university, with books under arm.]

[VOICEOVER:] This year, Democrats in Congress passed a new GI Bill to make sure our veterans can afford college. George W. Bush threatened to veto it. It passed the Senate with 75 bipartisan votes.

[VIDEO: Scary black and white photo of McCain... suddenly a bright red "AWOL" stamp appears over image, cued to voiceover...]

[VOICEOVER:] John McCain was AWOL that day -- he skipped the vote because he was too busy fundraising with California millionaires. John McCain actually called this bill -- which gives veterans enough money for a college education -- "too generous." That's right -- John McCain thought that 75 Senators were being "too generous" to veterans because that's what George Bush wanted him to do.

[TEXT:] Too generous? John McCain didn't stand up to George Bush, even on giving veterans what they've earned. That's not "country first" -- that's "Bush first, veterans second." [FADE]

[TEXT:] John McCain. Wrong on veterans' issues. Wrong for America.



This is just one example of how to turn McCain's voting record against him. Feel free to add your own ad script suggestions in the comments.


[Interesting Note: The Army Times quote appears to have been scrubbed from the Army Times website. Crooks and Liars (among others) excerpted the article the day after it ran (7/24/08). But if you now search the Army Times website for the original story (7/23/08), it has an entirely different lead paragraph -- and, in fact, the word "rationing" appears nowhere in the new version.]


Cross-posted at The Huffington Post


-- Chris Weigant


7 Comments on “Ad Suggestion For Obama -- McCain AWOL On GI Bill”

  1. [1] 
    erin wrote:

    This is one of my favorite elections and my company recently launched a competition to get involved in this historical event. In an attempt to get a younger demographic involved, we’ve launched a “Keeping Politics Positive” campaign at View original art submissions, vote on your favorites, or submit your own designs now with Collar Free!

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    My one suggestion for Obama is actually two suggestions..

    1. Forget that Palin exists.

    2. Order every Democrat who is quotable to forget that Palin exists..

    If Obama can't do these two things, he can kiss ANY chance of being president goodbye.

    Democrats think they can win by fighting the GOP in the mud..

    Democrats are forgetting their Sun Tzu.

    You NEVER fight in your enemy's strong arena.

    It is better to attack at your convenience than to defend at your enemy's.


  3. [3] 
    BLaws wrote:


    I agree 100% with 1 & 2.

    The ad I had in my mind today:

    Voice: John McCain's campaign manager said this election isn't about issues.

    [show home with foreclosure sign]
    Apparently John McCain doesn't think that millions losing their homes is very important.

    [show bank with note on door saying it's shut down]
    Apparently John McCain doesn't think your bank going under is very important.

    [show mother holding picture of son in uniform]
    Apparently John McCain doesn't think bringing your children home from a 6 year old war is very important.

    [play clip of McCain on Today show saying "that's not important"]

    [show factory shut down]
    Apparently John McCain doesn't think your job being sent to China is very important.

    What does John McCain think is important to the American people today? Lipstick [show picture of lipstick]

    John McCain just doesn't get it.

    Barack Obama cares about keeping you in your homes, lowering taxes on middle America, creating new jobs, bringing your children home from Iraq, and rebuilding America. Barack Obama gets it.

  4. [4] 
    BLaws wrote:

    Ooops... forgot a visual. The video of McCain telling Michigan that the "Jobs weren't coming back" after the jobs part.

  5. [5] 
    BLaws wrote:


    After sleeping on it, I just think that ad won't be that effective. Because sadly, while it is a noble issue and should be done, I just don't feel it's a driving issue for most Americans right now. Sure, they are for treating veterans well, but it's not really a driving issue in most of their lives.

    I think he really needs to start forcefully pushing back on John McCain's lies about Obama wanting to raise taxes. Obama needs to get some really solid language and hammer home that he wants to cut taxes for those making under $250,000 and that his cuts will be up to 3x as large as McCain's.

    Something personal, where he does the ad himself directly into the camera. Probably a 1 min ad:

    I'm Barack Obama, and I wanted to talk to you directly on the issue of taxes to cut through all the lies you are being told.

    [slight pause]

    If you make less than $250,000 a year, I will CUT your taxes. Let me say it again.

    I will CUT your taxes.

    And if you are a senior making $50,000 or less, you will pay NO income taxes. That's right... NO income taxes.

    Independant studies have shown, that for many of you, my plan will cut your taxes by three times as much as my opponent's plan.

    His plan favors the very wealthy with little relief for the vast majority of working Americans. When working families are struggling to get by, this shows that he just doesn't get it.

    [Subtitle: You can find out more information at]

    I wanted to tell you directly so that you know the truth about my tax plans. If anyone tells you differently they are lying to you.

    As President of the United States I will always give you the facts, we may disagree on what to do from there, but I will always be honest with you.

    Thank you.

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    Hay CW....

    Seems that Obama and the Democrats are getting much of the same advice that they get from you and I..

    Ironically enough, it's coming from REPUBLICANs as well!?

    You just HAVE to know yer messing up badly when both Dems and GOP are on the same page... :D


    {crossposted to HuffPo}

  7. [7] 
    BLaws wrote:

    [Image: Creepy grin photo of McCain]
    Voice: John McCain has now run 27 (*or whatever number) ads that have been called “A Factual Failure”, “Less Than Honest”, “Lies”, and "pattern of deceit".

    His campaign is being run by the same people that used these same dishonest and dirty tactics that gave us George W. Bush.

    Do we really want another President who isn’t honest with the American people? Can we really afford that risk with the problems working families are facing?

    If John McCain can’t be honest with us today, how can we expect him to be honest with us tomorrow?

    [voice of John McCain from his audio book]
    "I didn't decide to run for president to start a national crusade for the political reforms I believed in or to run a campaign as if it were some grand act of patriotism. In truth, I wanted to be president because it had become my ambition to be president. . . . In truth, I'd had the ambition for a long time."

    Apparently ambition is more important to John McCain than being honest with the American people.

    [end here or continue for longer ad]
    [images of a nice home, workers at a factory, etc]
    Barack Obama cares about keeping you in your homes, lowering taxes on working families, creating new jobs, energy independence, and finally bringing your children home from Iraq. Barack Obama will not stop fighting for the issues that matter to you.

    [show image of a family]
    Barack Obama understands what is important in this election:


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