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Obama Ad Attacks McCain For Owning Seven Houses

Talk about your quick turnaround: In an interview yesterday, John McCain said he wasn't sure how many houses he owns. Now the Obama campaign is out with an ad highlighting the comment and criticizing McCain for owning seven houses.

The campaign tells CBS News the ad will air on national cable. No word on how much money the Obama team will spend to run it.

"Maybe you are struggling just to pay the mortgage on your home," an announcer says as the spot opens. "But recently, John McCain said the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

The announcer then says "hmmm" as a shot of a "foreclosure" sign appears onscreen.

"Then again, that same day, when asked how many houses he owns, McCain lost track," the announcer continues. "He couldn't remember. Well, it's seven. Seven houses."

(As we pointed out in an earlier post, many of those houses are actually owned by McCain's wife, Cindy. And it turns out the McCain family may actually own eight houses.)

Onscreen, the words "worth thirteen million dollars" appear, in reference to the total value of the houses.

Concludes the narrator, as the ad cuts to a shot of the White House: "And here's one house America can't afford to have John McCain move into."

The McCain campaign quickly emailed a response to reporters, from spokesman Brian Rogers: "Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people 'cling' to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who's in touch with regular Americans?"

CBS News's Maria Gavrilovic reports that Obama brought up McCain's houses comments this morning on the stump.

"Now think about that - I guess if you think that being rich means you gotta make five million dollars, and if you don't know how many houses you have, then it's not surprising that you might think the economy is fundamentally strong," Obama said.

(The $5 million comment is a reference to McCain's response when recently asked by Rick Warren what constitutes rich. His campaign later said McCain was joking.)

Added Obama: "But if you're like me and you've got one house - or you were like the millions of people who are struggling right now to keep up with their mortgage so that they don't lose their home, you might have a different perspective."

The Obama campaign in Florida and Pennsylvania has sent out a release lauding the launch of a "statewide search to find Floridians/Pennsylvanians who, like John McCain, have so many homes that they just can't keep track of the number."

From the Pennsylvania release:

The campaign will spend the day surveying Pennsylvanians by phone to ask this question:

"Yesterday, John McCain couldn't remember how many homes he owns because he has so many. The Obama campaign is trying to find Pennsylvanians who, like McCain, have lost track of the number of homes they own. Do you know how many homes you own?"

The campaign will announce the results of the search late this afternoon and they will produce a video of the responses they get in Love Park.

In Michigan, meanwhile, the Obama camp is launching "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: McCain Edition," in which "volunteers will be able to win a free bumper-sticker if they correctly guess the number of houses John McCain owns." And McCain surrogates in Vermont, Wisconsin, Missouri, and a number of other states have been spotlighting the issue in appearances today.
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