For weeks, John McCain has been fighting off the notion that his presidency would be a third Bush term, even using a prime time address -- on the night of Barack Obama becoming the Democratic presumptive nominee -- to preemptively debunk the forthcoming attack.
But for all his efforts, the Senator has, on occasion, given Democratic opponents fodder to push the meme.
He did it again on Monday during his economic speech in Colorado.
Hoping to tout the benefits of free trade, McCain highlighted the success of Crocs, an outdoor footwear company that has benefited greatly from international sales. The problem, as several political observers were quick to note (first among them, Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic) is that President Bush himself touted the Croc company's business acumen during a free-trade speech back in November 2006.
Already, Democrats are pouncing. Making its way through opposition research circles is a video, splicing McCain and Bush speeches.
The idea behind the clip is self-evident and, on the surface, seems like just another effort in the litany of attempts to tie together the two Republicans. But for a McCain campaign that is trying to re-foot itself, these missteps end up being more politically irritating. They are distractions that take away from the Senator's focus on a coherent economic message.
Update: Chris Beam, over at Slate, has highlighted, perhaps, a more telling problem with McCain's use of Croc: the company has "blown up in the last several months."
Have a look at Croc's stock price. (Symbol: CROX.) It peaked at $75 back in late October, but since then has plummeted to one-tenth of that. It last traded at $6.91. Whereas footwear like Uggs managed to outlive its initial hype and become a footwear mainstay, Crocs appear to be what its investors most feared: a fad.