Opinion: Rapid response: Obama and McCain’s lightning-quick attack “house” ads prove a point

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Politics, like so many things in this age of Twitter and the 24-hour news cycle, is speeding up.

A candidate’s gaffe sometimes took days or weeks to swell into a matter of swirling debate. Now, the fur almost always starts flying right away.


Today provided the perfect example of this new political paradigm.

This morning, just hours after John McCain told a reporter that he wasn’t quite sure how many houses he owned, Barack Obama pounced. The Illinois senator scoffed at McCain’s blunder in a speech this morning, and the campaign released a cable television commercial that attacked the Republican as out of touch with Americans who are struggling economically.

But the McCain camp struck back in a flash. In plenty of time for the evening news on the East Coast , it was up with an ad that mentions Obama’s ‘million-dollar mansion’ and questions the Democrat’s dealings with Chicago political fundraiser -- and convicted felon -- Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko.

Obama’s camp isn’t likely to drop the ‘McCain doesn’t know how many houses he has’ line soon. It thinks it will help paint McCain, the man who defined ‘rich’ as having $5 million, as an out-of-touch elitist. But at the rate that political fires get put out these days, we wonder what kind of impact it will have.

Here are both of the ads. The transcripts are after the jump.

Script for Barack Obama’s ‘Seven’

‘Maybe you’re struggling just to pay the mortgage on your home. But, recently, John McCain said: ‘The fundamentals of our economy are strong.’ Hmmm. Then again, that same day, when asked how many houses he owns, McCain lost track. He couldn’t remember.Well, it’s seven.’

Script for John McCain’s ad, ‘Housing Problem’

‘Barack Obama knows a lot about housing problems. One of his ‘biggest fundraisers’ helped him buy his million-dollar mansion. Purchasing part of the property he couldn’t afford. From Obama, Rezko got ‘political favors’ including $14 million from taxpayers. Now, he’s a convicted felon, facing jail. That’s a housing problem.’

-- Kate Linthicum