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Diane Francis Headshot

Obama Better be Ruthless

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It's clear that the McCain campaign has lost any moral compass it may have had. When asked about the dreadful tone of the contest in his 9/11 interview, McCain shifted blame to Obama for not agreeing to a series of town hall meetings. The tone "would have been completely different", he said shamelessly while smiling.

When dealing with such a totally ruthless opponent, kicking and biting and scratching and whatever else is necessary must be deployed. Obama is now being taught what McCain has learned and he has only a few weeks to counter-attack viciously.

John McCain was abused as a POW in Vietnam but, most importantly, was unfairly attacked in 2000 by the Republican thugs who mugged him in South Carolina to get the nomination for George W. Bush. They spread a whispering campaign that McCain's adopted Bangladeshi daughter was his black illegitimate child, that McCain was a homosexual and that his wife Cindy was still a drug addict. He lost his huge lead, Bush won the primary, and McCain was shut out of the presidential race.

The world's rough, both at home and abroad, as McCain has learned. So fearing Obama's lead, he has been doing whatever he needs to in order to win or, as he likes to rationalize, "put country first".

So must Obama -- not only to win, but to show he has the "right stuff" and can play rough.

Here are some vulnerabilities:

-- Senator McCain is scary. He is an old trigger-happy veteran who crashed five planes and was only kept as a naval pilot because his daddy ran the U.S. Navy. Air the details of this.

-- Senator McCain is scary. Ask Nebraska's Republican Senator and Vietnam veteran, Chuck Hagel, who has said so publicly and must be featured in commercials across the country.

-- Senator McCain is fooling everybody with his maverick reform stuff. He wants to be president because he is a rich guy with 11 houses who wants to eliminate taxes for himself and the other rich people. He wants a single parent mother in Ohio to pay more taxes on her income than hedge fund guys in Manhattan. Examples.

-- Senator McCain is a greedy and insensitive politician whose health problems have run up millions of dollars in bills for taxpayers, but who would deny a family of four in Missouri the same healthcare. John McCain's personal health care costs as a Senator? Zero. His medical costs so far? $10 million or whatever. Healthcare costs for a family of four in Missouri? $14,000 out of an average income of $60,000? Examples.

-- Healthcare, healthcare, healthcare. This is top of mind for most Americans and is superior, and more cost-efficient, in every developed country in the world except America. The lack of decent health care is not a policy matter but a searing metaphor for the failure, by McCain and the other members of Washington's establishment, to look after the people of their country.

-- McCain's running-mate, Mrs. Palin, is a cocky housewife who's had a cake-walk in Alaska only because oil revenue surpluses allowed her to hand out $1,200 checks to everybody. Her choice by McCain is a contemptuous rip-off of American Idol as Roger Ebert says eloquently. Put Ebert and his thumbs-down in the commercial.

John McCain is a plutocrat, a greedy have-more, an I'm-alright-Jack on healthcare and a trigger-happy warmonger.

Obama and his team must hang the labels on this guy and make them stick.