That was fast

This morning, Politico reported that John McCain was unable to say exactly how many houses he and his wife own. Click the link to listen to the audio.

Within hours, Barack Obama’s campaign released this ad to run on cable television:

Also the same day, Obama and a bunch of Democratic surrogates pounded on this gaffe, linking it to McCain’s recent statement that he considers people making less than $5 million annually to be “middle class.” (In reality, an annual family income of $350,000 puts an American in the top 1 percent.)

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign tried to change the subject to the fact that he was a POW in Vietnam, the fact that Obama’s house is pretty big, and Obama’s relationship with Chicago businessman Tony Rezko.

A new conservative 501(c)4 organization has produced a hit piece on Obama to run on television in Ohio and Michigan. Ed Failor Jr., former McCain aide in Iowa and executive vice president of Iowans for Tax Relief, is a leading figure in this new group.

The good news for McCain today was that the Federal Election Commission unanimously decided to let McCain cheat by getting out of accepting public financing for the primaries. McCain used the fact that he’d qualified for public financing to secure loans to his campaign in 2007. He also used his public financing certificate to qualify for the Ohio ballot without collecting signatures. Then, once he won the nomination, he weaseled out of his promise. Adam B has more background and analysis of this FEC ruling.

But other than that, I have to agree with JedReport: It was a really bad day to be John McCain.

UPDATE: Seriously, how many houses does the McCain family own? Politico says eight properties, but ProgressiveAccountability.org says at least ten.

SECOND UPDATE: Karl Rove comes up with creative but not convincing spin: making fun of McCain’s housing gaffe is an attack on Cindy McCain, because the homes were bought with her money. So apparently Obama is now attacking McCain’s wife!

  • Grandpa John

    Can’t remember how many houses he has and has to rely on a staffer to get back to the Politico, of all places?

    Axelrod was wise to jump on this one.

  • A true gift

    I agree with Yepsen and many others, this McCain statement could be golden for Obama. Especially after the rough time his campaign has been having lately.  I hope Obama and his people milk it for all its worth, just like R’s and their brilliant Rovean strategists always do.    

    • yes, how ridiculous for McCain of all people

      to portray Obama, raised by a single mother who made his way without marrying heiresses, as elitist.

      Kind of like how Poppy Bush, a senator’s son who was chauffeured to school during the Great Depression, made Dukakis, the son of middle-class Greek immigrants, out to be elitist.

      If McCain had really settled on Romney as a running mate, which is one rumor going around, this throws a major wrench in his plans. Romney is even wealthier than McCain and has at least three large homes.

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