One-minute long political web ads have one primary audience, aside from political junkies: the press.
Like another recent spot from John McCain's campaign -- "Broken" -- their latest seems intended to burnish the Arizona Republican's "Maverick" credentials among journalists who could be starting to wonder whether he's become just another regular hack politician in light of recent harsh attacks on Barack Obama.
So the campaign brings us a piece called "Praising John McCain," which features a string of top Democratic heavyweights bestowing praise on the presumptive Republican nominee.
While the quotes are not dated in the ad itself, the McCain campaign's memo announcing the release shows that all of them (except for those of Sens. Obama and Clinton themselves) date from 2006 or earlier -- before this seemingly never-ending presidential campaign kicked off in earnest.
So while it's a neat trick of editing, it hardly settles the question of whether McCain is still the same maverick who elicited all this praise in the past.
The Huffington Post has calls out to all the Democrats in the ad, and will update you if and when they respond.
UPDATE: The Democratic responses start rolling in ...
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean released the following statement today in response to John McCain's new ad that shows Democrats speaking about the John McCain of 2000:
"John McCain a maverick? The John McCain of 2000 wouldn't even consider voting for the John McCain of 2008. The American people are learning that the John McCain of 2008 represents more of the same failed policies we've gotten from George Bush for the past eight years. Senator McCain is clearly in the tank for Exxon and big oil, for keeping our troops stuck in Iraq for decades to come, and for an economic policy that puts tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations above relief for hardworking families. John McCain has changed: he's taken the low road, leveling false, negative and misleading attacks against Barack Obama. John McCain is no more a maverick within the Republican Party than Dick Cheney is. He's just more of the same."
And Sen. John Kerry offers this spicy riposte:
"The McCain campaign is determined to give their Paris Hilton ad a run for its money in the desperation department, and they've succeeded only in shining a light on the fact that the John McCain of today is unrecognizable from the John McCain of just a couple years ago. The real question is what happened to the John McCain we used to know and why he changed overnight into a George Bush nominee with a Karl Rove campaign. The new John McCain supports the Bush tax giveaways for the wealthy he once denounced, opposes his own immigration bill, flip-flopped on torture, and runs negative ads after calling for an honorable campaign. Frankly, it tells you everything about this election that the McCain campaign spins its wheels recycling what we said about John McCain way back when while scrambling and sputtering to explain away Governor Pawlenty's praise of Barack Obama today."
And Sen. Joe Biden issued the following statement:
"The John McCain of 2008 is not the maverick of 2000. On the most urgent national security challenges we face - Iraq, Iran and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan -there is no day light between George Bush and John McCain. He has embraced President Bush's failed policies and will continue them. It's unfortunate he's changed so much in just eight years."
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