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McCain Camp's "Rapid" Response Is Aptly Named

From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro:

(WILMINGTON, DEL.) When Barack Obama's campaign announced they were releasing Joe Biden's tax returns this morning, the disclosure had the McCain campaign sending off an immediate response -- they wanted to know more than just that.

"I think you should pose the question to the Obama campaign about whether or not Biden, along with his tax returns, will release his earmarks," a McCain spokesperson wrote in an e-mail. "Biden along with everyone else was required to release FY08 earmarks. He isn't required to release anything before that. Obama finally released all of his earmarks since 05 voluntarily. Shouldn't Biden hold himself to the Obama standard?"

The knee-jerk reply shows the heightening of back-and-forth exchanges and the determination for McCain's campaign to be part of nearly every story about their rivals. When Obama or Biden make news, the McCain camp is pushing to have their say included as often as possible.

Yet while the Obama campaign is reported to be bolstering up a rapid response system to the barrage of attacks from the McCain side, it has yet to do so with a similar frequency.

An example -- during Biden's participation in a town hall event this week in New Hampshire, the McCain campaign sent out five e-mails to reporters covering the Biden event, slamming his statements on everything from gun control to bipartisanship as they watched a live feed of his remarks in New Hampshire.

When Biden made a comment suggesting Hillary Clinton might be better qualified than him to be vice president, the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee were mass mailing the comment to reporters within minutes.

For CBS News reporters covering McCain and Palin, they say that while they are sent press releases and have been contacted by phone a handful of times by Obama's campaign and the Democratic National Committee, it is not with the same ferocity.

"The Obama campaign and the DNC are very active in sending out e-mails, but I've never been cold called by either group," said John Bentley, who covers McCain for CBS News.

"It's discipline out of our camp and undisciplined, overreaching attempts from their campaign and Obama, who is suffering from his own weak and thin resume. No matter how he responds to ads and topics of the day, Obama still does not provide the answer for what voters are concerned about -- that he's not ready to lead," said a McCain staffer, explaining the reason for their aggressiveness.

Biden press secretary David Wade, responding to the McCain camp's assessment, said it is "yet another laughingly inaccurate statement no doubt well-crafted by 15 lobbyists. The McCain campaign has it backwards. They're out of touch with America and constantly in touch with President Bush, and that's their problem, and their neither their clever quips nor their Roveian ads can shake George Bush from their backs."

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