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Barack Obama, John McCain take aim at glass houses

August 21, 2008 | 10:50 am

Now THIS is what we like to see -- the campaigns focusing on the issues that matter (and yes, we know, sarcasm doesn't translate well in print, but trust us, it's there). If we worked for Comedy Central, we'd be offering up a little logo here: "It's Gaffe-orific!"

A Glass House at which people should not throw stones if they live in one too

John McCain -- who, as they say, married well -- couldn't answer a question Wednesday that most people have no trouble answering: How many houses do you own?

"I think — I'll have my staff get to you," McCain told Politico. "It's condominiums where — I'll have them get to you." The staff response: Four homes. The reality: Seven homes.

Not a good flub for the candidate who the other day defined (in a joke, the campaign said later) being rich as making $5 million a year (what's so bad about $4 million?), and whose economic surrogate thinks most voters concerned about their own deteriorating financial well-being are just a bunch of whiners.

In baseball terms, that's known as hanging a curveball. And this morning you can't find a Democrat who's not holding a baseball bat, swinging away. Barack Obama's campaign may have set a record getting an ad up about it.

Even Obama -- who usually leaves this stuff to the surrogates and staffers -- got into it, weaving a jab into a comment earlier today in Chester, Va. (Transcript is from the campaign; video is below):

I guess if you think that being rich means you’ve got to make $5 million and if you don’t know how many houses you have, then it’s not surprising that you might think the economy was fundamentally strong. But if you’re like me, and you’ve got one house, or you are like the millions of people who are struggling right now to keep up with their mortgage so they don’t lose their home, you might have a different perspective. ... So there’s just a fundamental gap of understanding between John McCain’s world and what people are going through every single day here in America."

Of course, McCain's people couldn't leave Obama's reference to his own house dangling out there. That's the house, you'll recall, next to the lot Obama got a deal on through his friendship with now-convicted Chicago wheeler-dealer Antoin "Tony" Rezko. McCain's 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? The reality is that Barack Obama’s plans to raise taxes, and opposition to producing more energy here at home as gas prices skyrocket show he’s completely out of touch with the concerns of average Americans.

Ah, democracy!

-- Scott Martelle

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