09/20/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

McCain, Obama Tax War Sparked With New Ads (VIDEO)


Early on Wednesday morning, both Barack Obama and John McCain released ads focused on taxes. If the tone of both spots proved predictable, the amount of money being pushed into each campaign's ad was not. Though McCain has outspent Obama on paid media in battleground states so far this month, Obama's new television ad will start getting pumped into several key states today -- specifically, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Virginia.

By contrast, McCain's new piece is a radio ad, and his campaign has declined to reveal exactly how hard or in what parts of the country it will be pushed.

Entitled "Three Times," Obama's ad promises middle-class tax relief, contrasting the Illinois Senator's plan with McCain's tax breaks for large corporations.

Meanwhile, McCain's radio ad dings Obama for proposing more spending programs that "will lead to even higher budget deficits" and pile "more debt on the backs of your children and grandchildren."

Of course, the same Tax Policy Center that McCain's campaign used in a "fact sheet" accompanying the new radio ad has said McCain's budget would enlarge the deficit, as well. "Both John McCain and Barack Obama have proposed tax plans that would substantially increase the national debt over the next ten years," the group wrote in its most recent report.

But for progressive writers like Paul Krugman who have despaired at the Obama campaign's "lethargic" economic messaging, the fact that Obama is counter-punching on taxes with an expensive media buy should prove a welcome development.

UPDATE: The McCain campaign has responded to Obama's ad by disputing the implication that tax breaks for companies hurt the economy.

"America's business taxes are the second highest in the world, and that is driving American jobs overseas," wrote McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds in an email to reporters. "So while American families are hurting and jobs are becoming scarce, Barack Obama is pushing for billions in higher taxes -- it's a recipe for economic disaster."

But, interestingly, the lengthy "fact sheet" sent out with Bounds's response does not offer any push-back against the idea that Obama's tax plan would provide three times as much relief to middle-class families compared to McCain.