Updates at bottom: McCain ad congratulates Obama, House Majority leader slams 'mean-spirited' rumors
The McCain campaign appears to be going all out to distract from "Obama's big night," according to Politico's Mike Allen.
"Tonight, John McCain will talk directly to his opponent in a television ad his campaign is airing in battleground states, around the time Barack Obama accepts the presidential nomination, McCain's campaign said," Allen reports. "Aides would give few details beyond the fact that McCain will speak directly to the camera, addressing Obama."
The Huffington Post posted a partial of transcript of an interview with Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker on Friday's Morning Joe on MSNBC.
"Well, I'm going to keep a lid on it," Hazelbaker said, "But I think it's newsworthy to note that Senator McCain is going to have an ad that's going to air in battleground states around the time that Senator Obama is speaking tonight. And he's going to be talking directly to his opponent. So, I'm going to leave it there, but it's going be very exciting and a lot of people are going to focus on it.
Allen observes, "The strip-tease on the ad is one of several moves by the McCain campaign that could distract attention from Obama's big night."
Even though McCain told a television station Friday that he hadn't decided on a running mate yet, Allen reports that a top official from the campaign said the Arizona senator has "settled on his vice presidential choice and will notify the person today."
Allen adds, "Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report, who has high-level McCain contacts, posted a tease this morning saying: 'SOURCE: NAME MAY LEAK AT 6 PM ET... WITH SOME SORT OF CONFIRMATION AT 8 PM.'"
"The leak of the McCain ticket mate would cause a news frenzy at at time when the Obama campaign wanted viewers to be focused on Obama's economic and change messages," Allen writes.
Drudge later linked to Allen's piece piece using the headline "NEWS HAVOC..."
One of the McCain campaign's more memorable recent attempts to upstage Obama didn't work out so well, Allen neglects to mention.
When Senator Barack Obama delivered a high-profile speech in Berlin in late July, John McCain "had his own German experience Thursday ó at a restaurant in Ohio," the Associated Press reported. But the trip to Schmidt's Restaurant und Sausage Haus was roundly mocked by Democrats and many media outlets.
McCain ad congratulates Obama, House Majority leader slams 'mean-spirited' rumors
McCain's secret ad turned out to be a video offering cordial congratulations to Obama for winning the nomination.
"Senator Obama, this is truly a good day for America," McCain says to the camera. "Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, congratulations. How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day. Tomorrow, we'll be back at it. But tonight, senator, job well done."
Media Matters notes that on MSNBC Tom Brokaw and Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell characterized the move as "classy" and pretty smart" without also mentioning that "the McCain campaign issued numerous attacks against Obama on August 28."
"House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer reacted angrily this afternoon to rumors that John McCain would leak his running mate selection during tonightís last session of the Democratic National Convention," Politico's Josh Kraushaar reports.
"Itís mean-spirited and itís beneath John McCain. It is consistent with what Karl Rove is advising," the Maryland Democrat told Politico.