Palin attacks Obama on Ayres, Obama hits on health care

Funny enough, it seems Palin is more on the defensive than McCain so this post sort of pits her versus Obama right now in terms of who’s attacking who. Obama, for the most part, has been on the attack to some extent, however, his rhetoric has been heating up in the past week. Palin has transitioned into the typical VP role of attack dog for the McCain campaign similar to Biden for Obama.

First, report on Palin’s stepped attack critcising Obama’s past associations from AOL News:

CARSON, Calif. (Oct. 4) – Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday accused Democrat Barack Obama of “palling around with terrorists” because of an association with a former ’60s radical, a harsh attack on his character that she repeated at three separate campaign events without substantiation.

Palin’s reference was to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. Its members were blamed for several bombings, including a pipe bomb in San Francisco that killed a police officer and injured another. Obama, who was a child when the group was active, has denounced Ayers’ radical views and activities.

While it is known that Obama and Ayers live in the same Chicago neighborhood, served on a charity board together and had a fleeting political connection, there is no evidence that they ever palled around. And it’s simply wrong to suggest that they were associated while Ayers was committing terrorist acts.

Nonetheless, Palin made the comments at three appearances in separate states.

“Our opponent … is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country,” said told donors at a private airport in Englewood, Colo. Palin echoed the line later in Carson, Calif., and Costa Mesa, Calif.

Falling behind Obama in polls, the Republican campaign plans to make attacks on Obama’s character a centerpiece of candidate John McCain’s message in the final weeks of the presidential race. Coming late in the campaign, Palin’s remark could be particularly incendiary, either backfiring on McCain or knocking Obama off his focus on the troubled economy — or both.

Video of Palin making the criticism:

Will this be effective for McCain? I really can’t say. Truly Obama’s associations with people like Wright and Ayres are troublesome for his campaign, however, will voters respond to this as a desperate attempt or a real issue concerning Obama’s character? We’ll see in the coming weeks.

Next, Obama is hitting on the issue of health care, here’s a video report from KMOV in St. Louis:

Report from Yahoo News:

After knocking John McCain as a deregulator of the banking system during the recent financial crisis, Barack Obama’s campaign hit the Arizona senator Sunday for wanting to do the same to the health insurance industry.

“Nothing would be more precarious to Americans than losing their healthcare,” Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said on a conference call with reporters.

Sebelius linked healthcare to the recent financial crisis throughout the call, and suggested that McCain’s healthcare plan would lead to a similar crisis.

“As terrified as people are about the economic crisis that now faces this country, I don’t think any situation is as personal as health care,” Sebelius said. “John McCain would apply to the insurance industry what he did to the banking industry.”

Sebelius said McCain would “dismantle state based regulation and tie the hands of those involved in consumer protection.”

McCain senior policy adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin defended the Arizona senator’s healthcare plan in a memo responding to Obama’s attacks.

“John McCain believes that American families should be given more choices by allowing them to purchase policies across state lines,” Holtz-Eakin wrote. “In a move derided by fact checking organizations including Fact Check, the Obama campaign used this as an opportunity to falsely accuse John McCain of deregulating health care markets akin to Wall Street.”

Obama has stepped up his attacks on the issue in recent days, calling McCain’s plan a “bait-and-switch” during a campaign stop yesterday in Virginia. Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, called the plan “the ultimate bridge to nowhere” during Thursday’s vice presidential debate.

I’ve seen his TV ads running in the local DC market painting his plan as the middle ground between the two extremes of government-run health care and a free market in which, he claims, the insurance companies will run wild. It was actually somewhat effective I think.

If Obama can come across as the candidate focused on the issues, he may be able to play the “higher ground” card. That is, unless, the Palin attacks take hold and he’s forced to respond.