Rebel Without a Clue vs. the Old-Guard Geezer

Obama, McCain Give Glimpse of General Election Story Lines

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- It seems that Americans will be faced with a choice between George III or Mr. Inexperience.

Those are the dominant story lines emerging from the Obama and McCain camps in the wake of yesterday's primary victories.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe today said a fall fight with McCain would be about whether the country should continue with President Bush's policies. "I do think that what McCain is offering is a third George Bush term," said Mr. Plouffe. "The same policy on the economy. The same policy on tax cuts. He's said we may be in Iraq for 100 years. The same policy on refusing to engage in the kind of diplomacy."

Sen. John McCain speaking last night after winning Wisconsin accused Sen. Barack Obama of offering lofty but "empty" rhetoric, the wrong solutions and a lack of needed experience.

"I will fight every moment of every day in this campaign to make sure Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change that promises no more than a holiday from history and a return to the false promises and failed policies," said the Arizona senator.

"Will the next president have the experience, the judgment experience informs, and the strength of purpose to respond to each of these developments in ways that strengthen our security and advance the global progress of our ideals? Or will we risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate?"

In the Democratic primaries, the experience card has so far been played with mixed success against Obama. The Clinton campaign launched a new attack using it today as it readies for primaries in Ohio and Texas on March 4.

Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson said that as the media is paying closer attention to Obama, more flaws are showing through.

"These are details coming out on a regular basis. Voters learned yesterday for instance through a supporter of Sen. Obama himself that his legislative record is so thin that it was unmemorable," said Mr. Wolfson, whose remarks may offer a glimpse at what Republicans would throw at the Obama campaign should he win. "As more and more attention is paid to Sen. Obama, that information is going to come out. We believe that information is important. Because at the end of the day, Sen. Obama is not running on a stream of legislative achievements. He is not running on his preparedness to be commander in chief. ... He's not running on his vast experience in government. He is running on the power of his oratory and the strength of his promises."