ABC News catches Barack Obama in an ironic, if meaningless, gaffe in the midst of a complaint about campaign ads.  Obama complained about the attack ads that John McCain has launched against him for the last two months.  But when he had to defend his ad about e-mailing, Obama tried to pretend it didn’t have anything to do with age — and inadvertently claimed the title of Mudslinger in Chief:

It was Obama’s turn to defend his campaign tactics when pressed by Cuomo today.

“It paints him as an old man. You say he can’t use a computer, he’s never sent an e-mail. What does that all mean?” Cuomo asked.

“What it means is that we’ve got a 21st century economy. And John McCain does not have a vision for how to move that forward,” Obama replied. …

Obama rejected suggestions that his campaign ad was a low blow.

If we’re going to ask questions about, you know, who has been promulgating negative ads that are completely unrelated to the issues at hand, I think I win that contest pretty handily,” Obama said.

Well, alrighty then!  Barack Obama — champion of pointless negative advertising!

But seriously, can Obama be serious about playing the victim here?  He started smearing McCain three months ago by claiming McCain and the Republicans would attack because of his race.  Team Obama has had its surrogates talking about his age and his cancer, which aren’t exactly the “issues at hand”, as Obama puts it.  And unless the fate of the world hinges on an e-mail, then his ad is equally pointless and has nothing to do with “being out of touch”.  It’s a snarky shot at McCain’s age, and everyone knows it.  Pretending otherwise is not just risible, but outright dishonest.

And besides the dishonesty, the whininess hardly commends Obama to a position where he’ll have to deal with a lot more hostility than being called “the world’s biggest celebrity”.  McCain has made this mistake with its responses lately as well, but not as consistently as Obama has.  America doesn’t elect victims to the Presidency — it elects strength.

The candidate that stops whining and starts acting like a champion will win this election.  The other will win false titles, such as the one Obama assigned himself by accident here.

Update: Want an example? Michael Dukakis tried this in 1988 … and look how well it worked out: