McCain Spoofs Hillary 3 a.m. Ad

John McCain is running a slightly altered version of Hillary Clinton’s “3 a.m.” ad, Laura Meckler reports for the WSJ.

Here’s the video:

Meckler says this “may be the earliest attack ad ever aired by a candidate for president who has already secured his party’s nomination and is aiming at the other party.” I don’t know about that or even how to check — What qualifies as a “negative” ad? Who’s doing the scoring? — but this is pretty light in tone.

It’s easy to see how the McCain campaign was able to churn out a response spot so quickly. It uses identical footage, stolen right from the Clinton ad. The only difference is that it closes with a photo of McCain, replacing the photo of Clinton in the original.

The spot’s opening words are identical, too. Then it pivots to say that the Democrats would solve the problems by raising taxes and taking “more money out of your pocket.” It concludes: “It’s 3 a.m., time for a president who is ready.”

If nothing else, this ad seems certain to help solidify 3 a.m. as the critical hour for decision-making at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., regardless of how many decisions are actually made at that hour.

Indeed. Especially economic decisions.

Still, we quite literally knew this ad was coming. Virtually every observer at the time figured McCain would use this ad, either against Clinton or Obama, at some point. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more variants in store.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Elmo says:

    If anything, the Dems intramural scrimmage is showing Hillary and Barry, may indeed not be ready for prime time. Notwithstanding their protestations to the contrary.

  2. Bithead says:

    Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more variants in store.

    My guess is that he’s had some of these in the can he was holding for the general election. Since it doesn’t appear he’s going to be able to use them in that context, he’s decided to spring this now, so the money invested isn’t a total loss.

    An interesting tactic. Only problem I see with that is that such ads make Obama stronger… but I judge that to be roughly offset by the gain of keeping mcCain’s name in the headlines.

  3. Michael says:

    I’ve said in the past that McCain would be foolish to try and re-use Hillary’s attacks, because then he’s making himself comparable to Hillary. Re-using her exact attack ads though, that’s dangerously stupid.

    Maybe I’m the only one who thinks that is an opening for Obama. If he’s smart, Obama will jump on this and make sure the GOP base knows just how similar Hillary and McCain are. For that matter, he should make sure the Dem base knows this as well, since Hillary is still in the running.

  4. yetanotherjohn says:

    James,

    You seem to have missed a beat in the political dance. This ad didn’t come out of a vacuum.

    McCain’s add was done in response to a Clinton ad attacking McCain on the economy. So what would Meckler suggest? That until Clinton or Obama secures their parties nominations they can run attack ads against McCain that he can’t respond to?

    We already have Obama lying about McCain on Iraq (with the MSM not wanting to come off their Obama high long enough to do some fact checking) and misleading the voters about oil company contributions.

    Outsidethebeltway seems to have lost its objectivity. It can’t deign to notice flaws in Obama, but is quick to find “attack ads” from McCain with out bothering about context.

  5. Michael says:

    Outsidethebeltway seems to have lost its objectivity. It can’t deign to notice flaws in Obama, but is quick to find “attack ads” from McCain with out bothering about context.

    What version of OTB have you been reading?

  6. yetanotherjohn says:

    James,

    I apologize. Right after I posted this I see you had a post on the 100 year war comment by Obama.

    Michael,

    As an exercise, trace the set of posts about the Obama volunteer who was displaying the Che flag, then how no one can logically assign the actions of supporters to the candidates, then how McCain must be a hateful person because of those who support him and ending with the post saying that in the light of Wright and Obama issue OTB won’t hold supporters who are acknowledged mentors for candidates, who have a 20 year relationship with a candidate and a position on the candidates campaign against the candidate and to be fair will equivocate such a relationship to a single campaign stop endorsement.

  7. Michael says:

    YAJ:
    In general, Alex posts articles that are either critical of McCain, or supportive of Obama. James posts articles that are either critical of Obama or supportive of McCain. James tends to take a more neutral, objective and analytical position in his articles, while Alex’s posts are of a more personal and persuasive nature. The comments on either author’s articles tend to have an equal mix of McCain/Obama supporters/opponents. I don’t think there’s been any quantitative difference in coverage, only the difference in writing styles between James and Alex.

    As a whole, OTB strikes a pretty good balance between the candidates, I think your criticisms are misplaced.

  8. James Joyner says:

    I don’t think there’s been any quantitative difference in coverage, only the difference in writing styles between James and Alex.

    That’s how I see it. Alex is supporting Obama and I’m supporting McCain but neither of us are die-hards for our guy. Style-wise, though, I’m a little more academically detached than Alex.

    McCain’s add was done in response to a Clinton ad attacking McCain on the economy.

    I’d missed that, although it doesn’t much change the analysis. (Which, oddly, I think is fairly pro McCain.)

  9. Elmo says: