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Ad Wars: Obama vs. Republicans. Guess Who the Times Favors?

More double standards: An Obama ad does "a compelling job" of tying McCain to George Bush, while a Republican ad is confusing and its effectiveness questionable.

The Times' occasional "Ad Campaign" feature on Wednesday reviewed dueling campaign advertisements, one from the Republican National Committee, the other from the Obama campaign. Guess which one made the better impression on Times reporters?



Here's the bottom line paragraph from Jim Rutenberg's analysis of the RNC's commercial, a review headlined "G.O.P. Commercial Focuses on the Bailout...." (Neitherstory has been posted yet at nytimes.com.)



SCORECARD Voters who see this advertisement during their regular newscasts may be confused by its content: it comes as Mr. McCain is publicly advocating for the very bailout plan that is portrayed so negatively here. It is also running in markets where Mr. Obama is telling viewers, in a two-minute spot, that he intends to lower taxes for most Americans. So, all in all, it remains to be seen just how effective the commercial will be in hurting Mr. Obama, or, for that matter, in helping Mr. McCain.



On the same page, reporter Michael Falcone watched an Obama ad and dismissed its stretching of the truth, finding it convincing partly because one of Obama's assertions on middle class tax relief "is backed up by data from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center." Once again, the Times failed to point out that the Tax Policy Center is a creation of two liberal groups, the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute.



Here's Falcone's summary of the Obama ad:



SCORECARD This spot is part of the Obama campaign's attempt to reframe the economic narrative by rebuking a main critique from the McCain campaign: that Mr. Obama is a tax-and-spend liberal. The Obama campaign stretches some facts, but it does a compelling job of tying Mr. McCain to President Bush's economic policies.



It's probably particularly "compelling" if you're particularly well-disposed to Republicans in the first place.