April 29, 2008

JENNIFER RUBIN: McCain’s soft offensive against Obama:

While Obama was fending off stories about his flag pin and his wife’s comment that she had never been proud of America, McCain was reveling in nostalgia over his family’s military service and the sacrifices he made in service of “a cause greater than [himself].”

While Obama deals with question after question about his spotlight-dwelling mentor Reverend Wright, McCain introduced us to his salt-of-the-earth English teacher who, McCain says, influenced his character and values. The implicit message is that the other guy has Wright’s invective and McCain has Mr. Ravenel’s honor code.

As Obama suffered defeat in Pennsylvania, losing many rural areas by thirty points, where was McCain? In Inez, Kentucky, extolling the virtues of coal miners, and discussing Obama’s “bitter” comments in front of a cheering crowd heavy with religious, gun owners.

The tours may be the best solution for the dilemma that plagues the McCain campaign: they desperately want to refight the culture wars but have a candidate who doesn’t want to get his hands dirty. The tours provide him with venue after venue to make the arguments about character and values which will form a key portion of his campaign message.

And while it gets McCain plenty of local TV in key areas, it keeps his national-media profile low so as not to distract from the Democrats’ self-inflicted wounds.