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"Oratorical" Obama Ad Takes High Road, But McCain "Got Himself Into Trouble"

In an analysis of two new campaign ads about the meltdown on Wall Street, the Times portrayed Obama as a skillful and honest orator, while McCain "got into trouble" with a statement Obama and the Times have wrenched out of context.

The Times' campaign ad fact-checkers weighed the campaign's dueling ads on the economy, and naturally found that Obama comes out on top. In Thursday's edition, reporter Julie Bosman gave Obama implicit praise for taking the high road (evinced by the headline, "No Attacks, Just anEconomic Plan") and also praised the candidate's "notable oratorical skills" inher summary:



The spot is twice as long as the standard political advertisement, a length surely meant to cut through the clutter of other advertisements and heighten the impact of Mr. Obama's words. It also counts on viewers being drawn in by the telegenic candidate and his notable oratorical skills. The advertisement is substantive, providing a simple, easy-to-follow outline of Mr. Obama's campaign promises, but its length and monotonous visuals could lose the viewer's attention.



By contrast, "McCain, on the Economy" by Larry Rohter, hit McCain's adon accuracy:


Mr. McCain's record has favored deregulation of the financial industry, a factor that analysts say has contributed to the credit crisis, and opposed creation of a government agency to oversee Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.


Rohterconcluded with the same anti-McCain argument that NYT/MSNBC contributor John Harwood called a "cheap shot" on MSNBC on Tuesday.



Mr. McCain got himself into trouble on Monday by arguing that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong" despite the Wall Street Crisis. This advertisement is an effort to rebound from that much-criticized statement with a populist appeal that echoes Mr. Obama's mantra of "change." In addition, Mr. McCain seems to be evoking his history as a prisoner of war to underline his argument that he has more experience than Mr. Obama and is therefore more qualified to be president. But he has on occasion also acknowledged that economics is not his strongest suit, so with the financial markets drifting into uncharted waters, it is hard to tell if the experience argument will convince voters.



That was refuted by Harwood on MSNBC Tuesday. He showed the full McCain "strong" economy clip to Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller, then asked her: "When you listen to that sound-bite in its totality, isn't it a cheap shot to say that John McCain was bragging about how good the economy was to that crowd?"



Rohter is a harsh grader of McCain, while Obama can do no wrong.