McCain ‘Biden’ Ad
Well, that didn’t take long. The McCain campaign already has a spot out called “Biden,” highlighting newly anointed Barack Obama running mate Joe Biden quotes saying Obama lacks the experience to be president and that he’d be honored to serve with McCain.
ANNCR: What does Barack Obama’s running mate say about Barack Obama?
ABC’S GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You were asked, “Is he ready?” You said, “I think he can be ready but right now, I don’t believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.”
JOE BIDEN: I think that I stand by the statement.
ANNCR: And what does he say about John McCain?
BIDEN: I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off.
JOHN MCCAIN: I’m John McCain and I approve this message.
Joe Biden Said Obama Is Not Ready To Serve As President. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: “You were asked is he ready. You said ‘I think he can be ready, but right now I don’t believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.'” Sen. Biden: “I think that I stand by the statement.” (ABC’s, “This Week,” 8/19/07)
Joe Biden Said He’d Be Honored To Run With McCain. Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart: “You may end up going against a Senate colleague, perhaps McCain, perhaps Frist?” Sen. Biden: “John McCain is a personal friend, a great friend, and I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off — be well off no matter who…” Stewart: “Did I hear, Did I hear with?” Sen. Biden: “You know, John McCain and I think” Stewart: “Don’t become cottage cheese my friend. Say it.” Sen. Biden: “The answer is yes.” (Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” 8/2/05)
While a good ad, this is hardly a back breaker. George H.W. Bush said worse things about Ronald Reagan during the 1980 primaries and they went on to win back-to-back-to back landslides (counting Bush’s solo drubbing of Michael Dukakis as an extension of the dynasty). Of course, Bush never gushed about Jimmy Carter, either.
It’s fair game, I think, to use statements running mates made in the primaries against them. In this case, especially, Biden seemed to actually mean it. I’m a bit more queasy about using an opposition party colleague’s praise against them in an ad spot. That strikes me as rather unsporting and smarmy.
Update: Steven Taylor expands on the last point.
It seems to me that all of this does it dissuade politicians from ever saying anything nice, conciliatory or even friendly about their political rivals for fear that it will come back to bite them in some future political campaign. That strikes me as a shame.