Connecting The Dots

More good rapid response. At a townhall in Chester, Virginia earlier today, Barack Obama laid out the narrative that John McCain cemented with his admission yesterday that he doesn't recall how many houses he owns. Jake Tapper covers it HERE. Barack's comments are below:

But the fact of the matter is that John McCain is offering more of the same. He said a while back that he thought that we had made great progress economically during the years that George Bush has been in office. Now, that raised some eyebrows. Great progress economically. Who is he talking to? And it turns out that you get a sense of who he's talking to because some of you saw the Saddleback Forum with Rick Warren. He was asked, well, who do you consider rich? And he thought about it for a second, I don't know. Maybe if you make $5 million. $5 million, then you're rich. Which means, I guess, if you're only making $3 million a year then you're middle class. I guess that's what he meant. His top economic adviser said the other day that Americans should stop complaining; they've become a nation of whiners. That all these economic problems everybody is talking about is just a mental recession. And if you would just change your mind, everything would be okay. Somebody's been laid off, their plant's closed and gone to Mexico or China, change your mind. It's all good. Then, yesterday, he was asked again, what do you think about the economy? He says, Well, I think the economy is fundamentally strong; said the economy is fundamentally strong. Now, this puzzled me. I was confused as to what he meant. But then there was another interview - this is yesterday, same day - where somebody asked John McCain, how many houses do you have?  And he said, I'm not sure. I'll have to check with my staff. True quote. I'm not sure. I'll have to check with my staff. So they asked his staff, and he said, at least four. At least four. Now, think about that. I guess if you think that being rich means you've got to make $5 million and if you don't know how many houses you have, then it's not surprising that you might think the economy was fundamentally strong.  But if you're like me, and you've got one house, or you are like the millions of people who are struggling right now to keep up with their mortgage so they don't lose their home, you might have a different perspective.  And by the way, the answer is John McCain has seven homes. So there's just a fundamental gap of understanding between John McCain's world and what people are going through every single day here in America. And you don't have to be - you don't have to be a Nobel Prize Laureate economist.  You just have to have  a little bit of a sense of what ordinary people are going through to understand that we can't afford eight more years or four more years or one more year of the same failed economic policies that George Bush has put in place.

Watch it:

The McCain campaign's response is pretty funny, the way it clumsily -- but predictably -- wraps Rezko and "bitter gate" all into one.

"Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people 'cling' to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who's in touch with regular Americans? The reality is that Barack Obama's plans to raise taxes and opposition to producing more energy here at home as gas prices skyrocket show he's completely out of touch with the concerns of average Americans."

Actually, it looks like Barack is perfectly happy to get into a debate about houses, although it should be noted that while the Obama campaign is citing 7 McCain homes, Progressive Accountability counts 10. Great list is HERE.

Update [2008-8-21 14:39:42 by Todd Beeton]:Note that by citing Obama's having made "more than $4 million last year," the McCain campaign puts him firmly within McCain's own standard for the middle class (ie under $5 million.)

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Barack Obama, Economy, John McCain (all tags)



Re: Connecting The Dots

Really, does the only guy not to experience any real fall out of the keating 5 scandal really want to battle ethics? Does the guy who has never once worked in the private sector really want this battle? Does the guy who never had a student loan (unlike about 65% of the rest of us) really think he knows the average American? Just wondering

by Dog Chains 2008-08-21 09:32AM | 0 recs
Well, McCain did say that he

"spent all his money" at a strip club in Fla while learning to fly.

That must've been quite the wad.

by grannyhelen 2008-08-21 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Well, McCain did say that he

Well, you know, he does put being Ms buffalo chip (was that what it was called) on par with his wife as being first lady?

by Dog Chains 2008-08-21 09:36AM | 0 recs
"Bringing Honor And Dignity to the

White House..." remember that one?

McCain doesn't.

by grannyhelen 2008-08-21 09:42AM | 0 recs
Ummm...I thought all the beaches in Hawaii

were public?


by grannyhelen 2008-08-21 09:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Ummm...I thought all the beaches in Hawaii

Indeed they are.  I love this gaffe on so many levels  :)

by randomscientist 2008-08-21 09:48AM | 0 recs
One notices such things in New England...

..where the public beaches are the ones with all the rocks, and dirt, and itsy bitsy shorelines.

I went to Hawaii once, and this is one of the things I loved about it.

by grannyhelen 2008-08-21 09:55AM | 0 recs
Opens the Rezko Door

Beware.  This give McCain a greased opening to slam Obama on the Rezko "Loan" affair and his recent convictions.

This is not going to end well for Obama.

by oliver99 2008-08-21 10:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Opens the Rezko Door


Thanks for that.  Obama wasn't even called as a material witness.  Certainly the Hillbitters made plenty of hay with Rezko during the primary.


by lojasmo 2008-08-21 10:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Opens the Rezko Door

The "loan" to purchase Obama's house came from Rezko.

The McCain 'house' affair attack by Obama provides McCain a legitimate opening to attack the Rezko 'loan' and Obama's association to the convicted felon.

This is not going to end well for Obama

by oliver99 2008-08-21 10:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Opens the Rezko Door

Rezkoschmezko, anything new?  How about many of McCain's pals are already in jail for fraudulent activities.  McCain has plenty more friends in jail than Obama, this will not end well for McCain

by KLRinLA 2008-08-21 10:58AM | 0 recs
New Snowclone?

Right on this thread, we may have seen the birth of a new snowclone:

"This is not going to end well for [X]."  Where X is someone/thing that events are going well for currently.  Unlike its cousin:


it probably requires at least one sentence of tortured explanation, preferably more.

I think I may find it handy.

by LegacyLDad 2008-08-21 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Opens the Rezko Door

The "loan" to purchase Obama's house came from Rezko.

That is a blatant lie. The collateral for Obama's house came from a private trust funded by his book royalties. The details of the loan were covered months ago when someone erroneously claimed that Obama got a sweetheart deal. As for the Rezko connection, the facts are that there's not even a hint of evidence of any wrongdoing on Obama's part. He's disclosed everything asked of him and more. He even spent several hours going over all the details with the entire investigative staff from both the major Chicago papers.

There is nothing at all there, so Mr. Keating Five will be swinging at the air.

by noop 2008-08-21 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Ummm...I thought all the beaches in Hawaii

Actually, a bunch of the (small, North-Western) Hawaiian Islands are entirely private, although the beach below the high tide line may still be technically public, I don't know.

However, Obama vacationed in a rental unit on a public beach, so the McCain flack is indeed flat out lying.

by letterc 2008-08-21 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

Web site for the condo building where the McCains have a $4.6 million crib.

by Bush Bites 2008-08-21 09:41AM | 0 recs
It has its own soundtrack!

O please, someone, satirize this thing...

...calling Stephen Colbert!

by grannyhelen 2008-08-21 09:44AM | 0 recs
Re: It has its own soundtrack!

I know!

Somebody has to take this and run with it!

by Bush Bites 2008-08-21 09:46AM | 0 recs
Is there more?

Cuz the two you have posted are yummy.

by grannyhelen 2008-08-21 09:52AM | 0 recs
Re: It has its own soundtrack!

Alas, TDS, and I assume Colbert, are in reruns this week! :_(

But may that just means the story will get legs when they return?

by Nathan Empsall 2008-08-21 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

Nice way to set it up and knock it down team Obama.  Morew of this please.
Interstingly, when Obama attacks McCain, he uses facts, wherein McCain's response was made up of half-truths (raising taxes, but not on the people struggling), innuendo and smear (price of arugala...really McCain?) and lies (opposition to producing more energy - you cannot even make that leap, oil is not the only form of evergy, nor is Obama against using oil as part of a comprehensive produce more, cleaner, and renewable energy).

Personally I think Obama's honest and accurate attacks on McCain will stand up to the dishonest and innacurate rants of Mr trigger-happy grumble pants.  People may have found this Rovian poo flinging funny when the economy was better and they were scared to death by Bush' fear mongering, but I doubt it now. Obama just has to keep at it, there is plenty in McCain's history that can be used to prove he is a buffon, ignorant on the economy, and out of touch with everyday Americans, and Obama doesn't even have to go into the gutter.    

by KLRinLA 2008-08-21 09:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

According to McCain's definition, $4 Mil is simply upper-middle class,isn't it?

by spirowasright 2008-08-21 10:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

Yep, Obama is not at McCain's threshold of rich, but he is still an elitist because he eats arugula damn it!!!

by KLRinLA 2008-08-21 10:37AM | 0 recs
Price of arugula

You can thank hillminions and hillflacks for that.

by lojasmo 2008-08-21 10:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Price of arugula
well, I don't think we need to rehash the dem primary, let's focus on McCain, and besides, it didn't critically hurt Obama then and it has made Obama stronger for the primary.
Besides people struggling in this economic downturn are probably going to care less about Obama eating arugala and more about this old guy not knowing how many homes he owns - even this guy's estimate was about a third of what he owns.  If asked about houses again, McCain may get irratible even tell us to stop whining! Or cut the phone interview in midsentence  
by KLRinLA 2008-08-21 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Price of arugula

oops, stronger for the "GE" is what I meant in the end of first para

by KLRinLA 2008-08-21 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

Obama's solidly middle class, according to McCain's definition.

by rfahey22 2008-08-21 09:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

Actually, McCain now lowered the definition of rich to include the Obama family.   Anyway, I do love this ad, and I want to see more of it.   I want to see them hit McCain so hard he ends up curled up on the floor in a fetal position sh*tt*ng himself.

God, I wish Anne Richards were still with us.  I would love to see her give an updated version of the 'Poor George' speach from 1988.

by gavoter 2008-08-21 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

Architectural Digest spread on one of the McCains' secondary homes. /features/archive/mccain_slideshow_07200 5?slide=8

by Bush Bites 2008-08-21 09:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

One of Sheiner's additions was the Mexican-tiled patio off the master bedroom, a private space complete with a pergola, a spa and a built-in fireplace...

...The initials "MC," for "McCain," were hand-carved into a mantelpiece made in Guadalajara for the master bedroom.

This is too good...

by grannyhelen 2008-08-21 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

  I thought it was interesting that McCain's response said "...The reality is that Barack Obama's plans to raise taxes and opposition to producing more energy here at home..." rather than that Obama was opposed to off-shore drilling.  I believe Obama has been for encouraging alternate energy sources than oil.

by whomever1 2008-08-21 09:48AM | 0 recs
Kinda Meandering

The ad is awesome, definitely the best attack ad the Obama team has run. And the spirit of what Obama said in VA is great, but it's kind of rambling and there's really no real soundbite aside from the "true quote" bit. Hopefully his speechwriters will be able to boil this down into a more effective line for his appearances leading up to Denver.

by Hatch 2008-08-21 09:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Kinda Meandering

Well Gov. Tim Kaine does some nice follow up by stating on CNN that McCain couldn't "count high enough" to answer the question - Ha!

by KLRinLA 2008-08-21 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

2 points.

1. Language. Obama needs to quite saying things like "don't need to be a Nobel Prize Laureate in economics" and say "you don't need to win a Nobel Prize in economics." He still speaks at too elevated a level. It will harm him.Don't simplify your ideas, just use more common words to express them. Don't talk down, just use more regular speech. It will pay off.

2.   Obama and surrogates need to make the following distinction: McCain didn't say you need to have $5 million in the bank to be rich. He said you need to bring 5 million bucks in the door each year to be rich. That disqualifies about 50% of American millionaires (or maybe much more--I don't know the statistics). "According to John McCain, if you only have $4 million in take home pay, you aren't rich, you are middle class. Boy, there are two economies in America: John McCain's economy, where you need 5 million bucks a year to be comfortable, and the economy you and most other Americans live in. I come from the economy where people need student loans to get through college. Heck, I just paid mine off a couple of years ago. I've been very fortunate in the last few years, but I haven't forgotten for a minute where I have come from, or what it feels like to worry about stretching your check to get through the month."

by anoregonreader 2008-08-21 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

You're right on number 1, although, isn't it sad that our leaders have to play dumb to be liked?  I thought we were finished with that after we graduated high school.

by LordMike 2008-08-21 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

".Don't simplify your ideas, just use more common words to express them"

Interstingly, Julius Caesar said almost the exact same thing.

by Glaurung 2008-08-21 10:41AM | 0 recs
"Head On" Prop

Since the media loves props, and the bad economy is supposedly in voters' heads, I think Obama should create a Head On stick with "McCain's Economic Plan" written on the outside.

by rfahey22 2008-08-21 10:14AM | 0 recs
Re: "Head On" Prop

well only in the sense that that product doesn't work, or so I've been told.  Maybe have a head on commercial and instead of "McCain's Economic Policy" on the head on stick, use a mallet instead

by KLRinLA 2008-08-21 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

Now if Obama and his campaign will only hit McDraft immediately with his agreement to reinstating the draft, in order to provide enough bodies to fight his new wars, the senile old coot won't know what hit him.

by Glaurung 2008-08-21 10:17AM | 0 recs
I've Got Zero Homes

I can't afford to purchase any homes so I rent. I wish I didn't know how many homes I owned and resided in.

by Zzyzzy 2008-08-21 10:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

Perfect!!! I'm thrilled to see Obama hitting on this. I wish he'd slip in Michelle's line about him having just paid off his student loans, but otherwise, this is great!

by Nathan Empsall 2008-08-21 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

Rezko? really?

John McCain remember the Keating Five Scandal- the collapse of most of the Savings and Loan institutions in the United States in the late 1980s.

Your pushing you luck on this one.

by cobsjo 2008-08-21 10:31AM | 0 recs
My idea for a related ad

Here's my idea for another ad (probably something more for just the web). I vision it done in an animated (flash or whatever) fashion.

- Start with a first person view of a bank account or pay statement in someone's hands showing a low amount with the sounds of the person walking down a sidewalk.

- Switch to a third-person view of the person approaching the front door of their modest house, keychain in hand. Only 1 key on the keychain.

- As the person is about to open the door, have a banker/repo-type person swoop in with foreclosure papers in hand and run-off with the keychain. Have the homeowner sadly drop the paper they were carrying to the ground.

- Then start repeating the above only have it be John McCain.

- For the first part, the bank account or pay statement shows a huge balance.

- For the second part, show the key chain overflowing with keys and make the house an elegant mansion.

- When McCain gets to the front door, have him try to open it with first key, find it doesn't fit, try the next, find it doesn't fit, and repeat a few times with McCain getting more red-faced the entire time.

- Finally have McCain throw the keychain to the ground in disgust, complaining about how he can't find the right key, and then say something like "See...I have the same problems as ordinary Americans, so why is everyone always picking on me?!"

by slice 2008-08-21 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Connecting The Dots

Even the response was out of touch. All of Hawaii's beaches are public. And the one's that he was pictured at are among the most commonly used. In fact, one he picnicked at (Ala Moana) has a homeless contingent. It was a very ever man sort of vacation. Played a couple of rounds of golf, went to a lot free places like public beach parks, visited his relatives graves, and his grandmother. The picnic was hamburgers from a local hamburger stand.

by coalminer 2008-08-21 01:06PM | 0 recs


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