Obama exploits Cheney's support for McCain


BARACK OBAMA has seized on vice-president Dick Cheney's endorsement of John McCain as evidence that the Republican candidate would continue the policies that have dominated Washington for the past eight years.

Mr Obama's campaign is featuring Mr Cheney's endorsement in a new television ad and the Democrat teased his opponent about it yesterday at a rally in Ohio.

"President Bush is sitting out the last few days before the election. But yesterday, Dick Cheney came out of his undisclosed location and hit the campaign trail. He said that he is, and I quote, 'delighted to support John McCain'. I'd like to congratulate Senator McCain on this endorsement because he really earned it," Mr Obama said.

"That endorsement didn't come easy. Senator McCain had to vote 90 per cent of the time with George Bush and Dick Cheney to get it. He served as Washington's biggest cheerleader for going to war in Iraq, and supports economic policies that are no different from the last eight years."

Meanwhile, Mr McCain poked fun at his campaign's lack of resources during a cameo appearance on the comedy show Saturday Night Live. Appearing with actor Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, Mr McCain said he could not afford a 30-minute ad like the one Mr Obama broadcast last week but would sell campaign products on a shopping channel instead.

In a reference to reports of tension between Mrs Palin and Mr McCain, Fey offered "Palin 2012" T-shirts, telling the camera: "Okay, listen up everybody, I'm going rogue right now, so keep your voices down."

The Saturday Night Live appearance was a rare light moment in a campaign that has become more intense in its closing hours, with a number of Republican and independent groups running new attack ads against Mr Obama.

Pennsylvania's Republican Party yesterday launched a television ad featuring footage of the Democrat's controversial former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

"If you think you could ever vote for Barack Obama, consider this: Obama chose as his spiritual leader this man," a narrator says before the ad shows Rev Wright saying "Not God bless America, God damn America!" and referring to the United States as "The US of KKKA".

An independent group is running an anti-Obama ad featuring dark-skinned terrorists preparing a bombing, filmed in the style of the TV series 24.

The ad opens with a shot of the aircraft hitting the Twin Towers as a narrator says: "9/11, a planned terrorist attack. They targeted Wall Street, collapsed our financial markets. Now our economy is in shambles. Fighting terror has cost America nearly $1 trillion."

The ad then shows the dramatisation of a bomb being built, features an image of Mr Obama next to one of the terrorists driving a van and ends with the bomb exploding in a city, as the soundtrack plays a recording of Democratic running-mate Joe Biden saying: "We're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. I guarantee you it's going to happen."