Thursday, September 25, 2008

No Smear Undone

Having tried--without success--to challenge John McCain's military record, Democratic attack dogs are returning to the issue of his health.

The New York Times political blog reports that two liberal groups, one of them run by the brother of DNC Chairman Howard Dean, are preparing attack ads raising questions about McCain's health:

Showing vivid and unflattering images of the fresh scar that appeared on Senator McCain’s face immediately after his last operation for melanoma skin cancer eight years ago, the commercial ends with a screen headline that reads, “Why won’t John McCain release his medical records?” (Mr. McCain, 72, did invite a limited group of reporters to inspect more than 1,100 pages of his medical records in May, though he gave them only a three-hour window in which to review the documents.)

The commercial is among the harshest to run against Mr. McCain yet, seeking to exploit the sensitive issues of health and age. Officials with the groups running the ad, Brave New PAC and Democracy for America, said they were only showing the spot initially on MSNBC over the next few days, a limited run intended to draw news media attention on a network that has increasingly catered to liberal tastes.

Officials at the groups, both of which are political action committees that rely on individual donors, said they hoped to show the spot on stations in battleground states in the coming weeks as well. But it is unclear if individual stations will accept the spot: Leighton Akio Woodhouse, a spokesman for Brave New PAC, said late Wednesday that CNN declined to accept the commercial after reviewing its contents this week.

The ad comes from the same two groups that recently released an advertisement questioning whether Mr. McCain’s time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam adversely affected his ability to lead.

This type of smear is hardly surprising; the Democrats and their surrogates will leave no smear untried in their effort to tar Mr. McCain. But this is another stunt that may backfire--like the Sarah Palin video that was hastily pulled from YouTube a few days ago.

The reason it may blow up in their faces? As you'll recall, their young, vibrant candidate has been less-than-forthcoming about his own medical history. About the time that Senator McCain invited reporters to review 1,000 pages of his medical records, Barack Obama released a one-page health summary, prepared by his personal physician.

Over the course of 276 words, the doctor assured us that Mr. Obama is in splendid health. There were no accompanying records or other documentation to substantiate the claim.

Let's page versus one thousand pages. It's about time some asked this question again: why won't Barack Obama release his medical records?

Of course, the NYT's Jim Rutenberg made no mention of Obama's non-disclosure in his post on the Democrat attack ads. About what you'd expect from the newspaper of record.

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