Neither presidential hopeful can boast a significant lead three months before the election, leading both sides to ramp up their political ad machines. While McCain paints Obama as a "pop star" spouting empty rhetoric, Obama frames McCain as another Bush lackey. Salon asked a leading political analyst to assess ads from both sides and decide who's winning the message war.
Until recently, Obama's carefully crafted ads held the advantage, the analyst says, but McCain's camp has learned to leverage "material relevant to the news agenda." Overall, Obama ranked highest for answering criticism about his experience with specific policy details. Whatever tactics the candidates choose, voters "ordinarily reinforce what they already believe...and remember the most evocative visuals and what's humorous."