Obama's Keating Video Hits McCain Where It Counts

| 10/6/2008 2:08:00 PM

One perversely positive outcome of our recent economic meltdown might be that the imminent presidential election could turn on something as consequential and substantive as the nation’s economy—rather than, say, red herrings like the Swift Boat campaign or which candidate would make a better drinking buddy.

The contours of this battleground were further solidified today by the Obama campaign’s relatively epic 13-minute documentary about John McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five Scandal in the 1980s. The video drives home the point that the savings and loan collapse not only precipitated the recession of the early 1990s, but is “eerily similar” to today’s credit crisis.

By elucidating the complex machinations of the Keating scandal, Obama’s video deals a powerful blow to McCain where he is perhaps most vulnerable—his troubled history with the economy and lackluster response to its latest downturn. But it remains to be seen whether anyone besides the die-hard wonks will sit through a 13-minute video about the economy—and how well Obama’s attack will stick as the opposition accuses him of “palling around with terrorists.” 

For those too busy or campaign-weary to watch the entire video, its 30-second trailer (yes, apparently even campaign videos have trailers now) might prove more manageable.

Cally Carswell
10/6/2008 8:55:25 PM

Frankly, I'm surprised it took this long for the Keating Five scandal to come back to haunt McCain. I suppose whether or not people watch Obama's "documentary" (I hesitate to give something produced by a campaign that title), Ben Smith's handy Googling shows it's doing what they wanted it to, which is peak voter interest in the Keating Five. It will be interesting to see how the Ayers and Keating attacks play out. I'd venture to guess that faux terrorist smears don't resonate as much with voters as they used to. Pushing this line of attack instead of trying to identify Obama's economic weaknesses--when the economy is what's on everyone's minds--strikes me as ineffective. However, this couldn't be a worse time for McCain to have to confront Keating.

Bennett Gordon
10/6/2008 5:14:12 PM

It looks like the Obama campaign's strategy is working, at least on Google. Ben Smith of Politico points out that Keating Economics and Keating five are both in the top 10 search terms on Google right now, while "william ayers" is down at number 32. Here's Ben Smith's article: http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1008/Keating_on_their_minds.html?showall And here's the Google Trends chart: http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends

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