Mr. President, it's your turn.
Sen. Hillary Clinton has already starred in ads produced by the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee this year, which used her primary-season barbs against Barack Obama for general election purposes.
Now McCain is using President Bill Clinton in an ad that not only draws a contrast with Barack Obama, but with Democrats overall. At issue is the former president's appearance last Thursday on ABC's Good Morning America. In the ad, which will "air nationally," McCain's camp isolates a soundbite in which Clinton says: "I think the responsibility that the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress, or by me when I was President, to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."
In the context of McCain's ad, the selected clip of Clinton's interview bolsters the charge that Democrats sold out homeowners: "Democrats blocked the reforms. Loans soared. Then, the bubble burst. And, taxpayers are on the hook for billions. Bill Clinton knows who is responsible."
Except, of course, in the full interview with Chris Cuomo (viewable here), the former president distributes blame a little more evenly -- and, interestingly, even references the pointlessness of trying assign blame for the crisis at this particular point in time. When asked if Democrats were "playing politics" with the issue, Clinton said "well, maybe everybody does that a little bit."
Later, he said it was "important" that the country have "two candidates for president saying 'let's try to minimize the partisan differences.' We'll have plenty of time later to look at who caused this and what mistakes were made. Let's figure out what to do now and go forward." Clearly, though, McCain's latest ad is targeted for expressly that purpose.
Regardless, the use of Clinton in a McCain spot is likely to further rile observers who feel that the former president has been a less-than-enthusiastic surrogate for Obama this season.
ANNCR: John McCain fought to rein in Fannie and Freddie.
The Post says: McCain "pushed for stronger regulation"..."while Mr. Obama was notably silent."
But, Democrats blocked the reforms.
Then, the bubble burst.
And, taxpayers are on the hook for billions.
Bill Clinton knows who is responsible.
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: "I think the responsibility that the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was President to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."
ANNCR: You're right, Mr. President. It didn't have to happen.
JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message.
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