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Clinton, McCain unleash economic ad wars

  • Story Highlights
  • Sen. Clinton releases another 3 a.m. ringing phone ad targeting the economy
  • Kurtz says hold the phone: A president wouldn't take a 3 a.m. call on economy
  • Sen. McCain responds with his own ad focusing on the economic struggles
  • Next Article in Politics »
By Howard Kurtz
CNN Contributor
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Clinton generated plenty of attention with an ad asking who'd be ready to answer the White House phone at 3 a.m. during a national security crisis. Now, she's come out with a sequel -- same sleeping children, different issue.


A New Clinton ad on the economy mirrors a spot that aired last month.

"But there's a phone ringing in the White House and this time the crisis is economic. Home foreclosures mounting, markets teetering. John McCain just said the government shouldn't take any real action on the housing crisis, he'd let the phone keep ringing. Hillary Clinton has a plan to protect our homes, create jobs," the ad says.

But hold the phone.

It's not plausible that a president would be called at 3 a.m. in a financial crisis; the stock markets close at 4 p.m. Video Watch the full ad »

It's not true that McCain would let the imaginary phone keep ringing -- he has a housing plan, but it's less sweeping than those of the Democratic candidates.

The Arizona senator's plan would provide aid to those he calls deserving homeowners but says government shouldn't bail out people who acted irresponsibly by buying houses they couldn't afford. Video Watch McCain discuss his campaign »

Senate leaders of both parties are moving on a bill that provides little aid to people facing foreclosure.

Clinton, like Sen. Barack Obama, favors a more activist approach, including a $30 billion fund to help homeowners and communities hit hard by the credit crunch.

The McCain campaign quickly responded to the Clinton ad with a spot that's airing only online.

"Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama just said they'd solve the problem by raising your taxes. More money out of your pocket. John McCain has a better plan. Grow jobs, grow our economy ... not grow Washington," his ad said.

Sorry, wrong number.

Clinton and Obama have not proposed raising taxes to deal with the mortgage mess, although their rescue plans would obviously use taxpayer dollars. Video Watch Clinton in Pennsylvania discussing the economy »


They have proposed rolling back the Bush tax cuts -- cuts that McCain originally opposed -- but only on the most affluent Americans. Video Watch Obama's new ad campaign »

The former first lady is trying to play the experience card with these red-phone ads. That may be less effective against a Senate veteran like McCain, unless Clinton can persuade voters that the economy is not his strong suit. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Hillary ClintonJohn McCainU.S. Presidential Election

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