WASHINGTON (AP) -- Bill Clinton is playing a starring role in a John McCain commercial. And here's the ad's kicker: "You're right Mr. President."
Fancy that. The Republican presidential nominee with a tip of the hat to the last Democratic president.
A new minute-long McCain commercial features the former president asserting that congressional Democrats could have done more to regulate the nation's major mortgage financiers.
In a clip taken from a Sept. 25 interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," Clinton says: "I think the responsibility that the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress, or by me when I was president, to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."
The ad is one of a flurry of commercials with economic themes that emerged Tuesday as Congress continued to struggle with a rescue plan for tanking financial markets. Obama released a new two-minute commercial denouncing the tax policies of the past eight years, and the Republican National Committee went on the air with $5 million worth of air time in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The McCain ad casts the Arizona senator as an advocate of tighter regulation on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That assertion is true. McCain was a co-sponsor of legislation in 2006 that would have placed more restrictions on the mortgage finance companies.
Though not shown in the ad, Clinton goes on in the interview to blame a decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission to do away with a rule that restricted short selling.
"The biggest mistake, by the way, that contributed to the current circumstance that almost nobody talks about is the repeal, after decades, of something called the uptick rule, which allows the hedge funds, heavily leveraged and others, to just drive down the market without any kind of automatic stoppers," Clinton said.
While too complicated to pitch in an ad, that view also seems to support McCain. The Republican candidate has called on SEC chairman Christopher Cox to resign.
Indeed, the Clinton interview holds several nuggets that McCain can savor.
Commenting on McCain's suggestion last week that the first presidential debate be delayed until the rescue package was negotiated, Clinton said: "I presume he did that in good faith since I know he wanted - I remember he asked for more debates to go all around the country and so I don't think we ought to overly parse that."
The McCain ad and its finger-pointing at Democrats came out on the same day McCain was in Des Moines, Iowa, issuing a call for bipartisanship on the financial crisis. "I will continue to do whatever I can to aid in a constructive answer to the challenge before us," he said.
The campaign announced the ad about the same time.
The Republican National Committee's ad takes an even tougher line, taking a critical tone on the bailout even as McCain says he is working on a deal.
"Wall Street squanders our money and Washington is forced to bail them out with, you guessed it, our money," an announcer says.
The ad states Obama plans to increase spending, beyond the bailout, by about a trillion dollars.
"New taxes, new spending, new debt," the ad states. "Barack Obama's plan. It'll make the problem worse."
One of the most detailed analysis of candidates spending is by the National Taxpayers' Union Foundation, a group that is generally opposed to higher spending. Under its analysis, Obama's various government proposals would increase yearly spending by $293 billion.
The trillion dollar figure is reached by expanding that spending over a four-year presidential term.
Obama spokesman Bill Burton accused the RNC of seeking to "demagogue a rescue plan that he supports in order to score cheap political points." Brad Todd, the Republican strategist in charge of the RNC's independent expenditure arm, shot back: "In last Friday's debate Sen. Obama struggled to name even one spending proposal he'd rescind in light of our current financial problem."
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