ABC News' Teddy Davis and Hope Ditto report: A McCain ad contrasting Sarah Palin's experience with that of Barack Obama was called "borderline ridiculous" on Wednesday by a top adviser to the Democratic presidential nominee.
"I think the assertion is borderline ridiculous," said Obama adviser Robert Gibbs. "I mean, look, if executive experience is truly important on the Republican side, maybe she should run for president and John McCain can be her vice president."
"The Republicans, in a meeting on a deck in Sedona . . . took the experience argument out of their repertoire," he added, referring to last week's meeting in Arizona in which McCain offered Palin a spot on the Republican ticket. "It's just silly to make that argument now in any way, shape, or form. . . They're making last week's argument in this week's television ad and if they want to do that, I hope they do it for the next nine weeks."
Gibbs lobbed his attack during a Wednesday morning conference call with reporters organized by the Democratic National Committee. The call was the DNC's first of the week. Calls which Democrats had planned for Monday and Tuesday were cancelled in the wake of Hurricane Gustav.
In a morning e-mail to reporters, the McCain campaign announced on Wednesday that it will launch a television ad "directly comparing Gov. Palin’s executive experience as a governor who oversees 24,000 state employees, 14 statewide cabinet agencies and a $ 10 billion budget to Barack Obama’s experience as a one-term junior senator from Illinois."
The McCain campaign has not disclosed where the ad will air or how much money it is putting behind it. But a McCain spokesman told ABC News that "if all goes as planned" it will be released before Wednesday's network newscasts which come on at 6:30 pm ET.
"Governor Palin has a record of shaking up the status quo and making change for the people of her state," McCain spokesman Brian Rogers told ABC News. "Barack Obama has words. He has speeches. That's what we're going to be hitting. That's going to be the point of the ad. We're looking forward to this conversation."
Beyond reacting to the new McCain ad, Gibbs also sought to set expectations for the Republican National Convention speech that Palin will deliver Wednesday evening at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, Minn.
The Obama adviser said he expected Palin to give a "great speech," adding that she is "likely to bring the convention floor out of its chairs."
Gibbs argued, however, that Palin would not be able to enumerate many differences between Bush-Cheney and McCain-Palin.
He also attacked the Alaska governor for her one-time support for the so-called "bridge to nowhere," for employing a lobbying firm to get earmarks for the town of Wasilla, Alaska, and for receiving a vice presidential endorsement from indicted Republican Sen. Ted Stevens.
Gibbs was joined on the Wednesday call by DNC adviser Jamal Simmons. The Democratic strategist accused Tuesday's Republican convention speakers of violating McCain's goal of focusing on service and not partisan attacks.
"It seems Republicans have gone back to their partisan hats," said Simmons.
Gibbs also hammered McCain campaign manager Rick Davis for telling The Washington Post on Tuesday that the 2008 election is not about issues.
"Apparently, the speakers last night got that memo as well," said Gibbs, referring to the Davis interview. "Because throughout last night, speaker after speaker neglected to talk" about the issues that matter to Americans: "creating jobs, providing tax cuts for middle-class America, passing true energy independence, making health care more affordable."
The McCain campaign has now released the script for "Alaska Maverick," its 30-second ad contrasting Palin's credentials as an agent of reform with those of Obama. The ad will air Wednesday evening on CNN and the Fox News Channel. After Wednesday, it will air in what the McCain campaign describes as "key states". The campaign will not disclose how much money it is putting behind the ad.
Watch it here.
ANNCR: The Journal says: “Governor Palin’s credentials as an agent of reform exceed Barack Obama’s.”
She “has a record of bi-partisan reform.”
He’s the Senate’s “most liberal.”
She “took on the oil producers.”
He gave big oil billions in subsidies and giveaways.
She’s “earned a reputation as a reformer.”
His reputation? Empty words.
MCCAIN: I’m John McCain and I approve this message.