Saturday, October 6, 2007

Obama Launches Testimonial Ad to Combat Critics Doubts

To combat critics and political rivals who question the experience of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the campaign launched a new ad in Iowa featuring the testimonial of retired four-star General Merrill A. McPeak, who served in the Air Force for over 35 years. Gen. McPeak also served as a member of the Joints Chief of Staff and a combat pilot during the first war in Iraq.

“As a combat pilot and Air Force Chief during Desert Storm, lives depended on my judgments, and judgment is what we need from our next commander in chief,” McPeak says in the ad. Barack Obama had the foresight and courage to oppose the Iraq war from the start, showing courage and insight from the start that others did not.”

Obama’s new ad caps the campaign’s week-long “Judgment to Lead” tour in Iowa. In addition to McPeak’s endorsement, Obama received a testimonial earlier in the week from Ted Sorensen, former advisor to President John F. Kennedy, who introduced Obama at campaign stops. Sorensen drew parallels between Kennedy and Obama to help illustrate the tour’s underlying motifs: judgment and courage.

During a press-conference call, Gen. McPeak reiterated the ad’s message as to why he is committed to supporting Obama. “He has precisely the kind of judgment and courage that we need as our next commander in chief. The lives are at stake in combat and decisions are too important to rely on business-as-usual, inside-the-beltway kinds of conventional thinking,” McPeak said. “Obama wants fundamental change and to take the country into a new direction, and that’s what I want, and that’s what I hope the American people want as well.”

When asked to describe the circumstances surrounding his relationship with Obama, McPeak said that he had gotten to know Obama over the past six to eight months, but they had been on the same page before they met. “I’ve been writing op-ed pieces speaking out against the war in Iraq before the first invasion, so I’ve been on the same wavelength as the Senator,” said McPeak. “Frankly speaking, among this group of Democratic presidential candidates, I think he’s head-and-shoulders above them when it comes to possessing the best judgment to serve as our next commander in chief.

During the conference call, Obama’s Campaign Manager David Plouffe put any rumors to rest that the ad’s launch date was moved forward to counter the recent patriot-pin flap. Sensing his cue, Gen. McPeak chimed in about the latter. “The pin flap is kind of business-as-usual, gotcha politics,” McPeak said. “I think the Senator understands that patriotism is hard work. If you could do it by just putting a flag on your lapel, that would be pretty easy. Patriotism is hard work that comes from the heart, not the clothing. I think the American people are wise enough to understand the difference between this kind of petty symbolism and the real substance, real courage, and real judgment that Obama brings to this ballgame.”

Originally posted on "Iowa Independent"


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