ABC News' John Berman, Sunlen Miller and Ursula Fahy report: Barack Obama described John McCain as risky, erratic, and uncertain, and that was all just in his first event of the day. Obama has had no shortage of critiques of McCain in recent weeks, but he opened up a new front based on the mortgage buyout plan first proposed by the Arizona senator at Tuesday's debate.
McCain suggested Tuesday that the government should buy back some of the bad mortgages now plaguing the U.S. economy. At the time, it was thought he was proposing the government should buy these mortgages at the new, fallen value. That would mean the banks and lending institutions that made the loans would absorb the difference.
However, when the campaign released more details of the plan Wednesday, they made it clear that McCain was proposing that the government buy the mortgages at their original, higher price; higher -- that means -- than what they are worth right now. Which would mean the government, backed by taxpayers, would make up the difference.
It is this, that Obama charged, is a "risky idea."
"We have to act to fix our broken economy and restore the credit markets, he said. "But taxpayers shouldn't be asked to pick up the tab for the very folks who helped create this crisis."
The McCain campaign had issued a paper statement explaining McCain's new mortgage buying proposal Tuesday that said lenders "must recognize the loss that they've already suffered."
But when they posted the plan to his campaign Web site Wednesday, that sentence was missing. A McCain campaign official chalked it up to a "simple mistake," telling Politico, "that language was mistakenly included in the initial draft, and it's been corrected."
Simple or not, Obama pounced, not just on the details of the plan, but the fact the details seem to be changing.
"I don't think we can afford that kind of erratic and uncertain leadership in these uncertain times," said Obama. "We need steady leadership in the White House." These are words that Obama aides have been tossing around for weeks, clearly trying to subtly and not-so subtly question McCain's fitness for leadership, his temperament, and maybe even his age. If you had a nickel for every time an Obama aide used the word "erratic," you might be able to afford to attend one of the senator’s big ticket fundraisers.
But the repetition has a purpose. In the latest ABC News polling, McCain held a 50-44 percent edge in "trust to handle an unexpected crisis." By calling him "risky" and "uncertain," Obama is clearly trying to chip away at that. (It should be noted Obama has a 50-40 percent advantage in trust to handle the economic situation.)
But whatever rhetorical beating McCain took from Obama in Dayton, Ohio, the man who set up the sound for the event suffered even worse.
There was clearly an audio problem in the minor league baseball park that is the home to the Dayton Dragons. Several times during Obama’s speech, people in the audience complained that they could not hear. At one point, he told the people sitting behind him, "I can't turn around the whole time." When the sound didn't improve, he asked somewhat peevishly, "what's the problem now?" Then, in the type of political swipe normally reserved for Republicans, he said, "Where is my sound man? I am gonna have my sound man come out here, so everyone knows who messed up the sound."
Luckily for the sound man, the audio improved, and the audience never got to see him publicly shamed.
Obama is in Ohio five out of the next six days, clearly trying to put an enormous amount of pressure on McCain, in a state that no Republican has ever won the White House without.
ABC News' Teddy Davis contributed to this report.