DENVER -- John McCain's campaign released a wicked ad Sunday designed to divide and conquer sulking Hillary Clinton supporters by sticking it to Barack Obama for not tapping her to be his running mate, just as Obama's team is trying to patch everything up at the convention.
The spot continues a storyline that the Obama campaign hopes is exhausted once Democrats leave here after nominating the Obama-Biden ticket.
The Obama camp wants to smother Clinton backers with respect. Their plan may be thrown some by the news in today's Sun-Times that Illinois state Sen. President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) called an African-American Illinois Clinton delegate an "Uncle Tom."
McCain going to bat for Clinton in this spot is troublemaking fake sympathy and comes as polls show a chunk of Clinton Democratic primary voters do not want to vote for Obama. That's a problem for Obama. That's a reason the Obama campaign is going all out to give Clinton her due at the Democratic convention, though someone forgot to muzzle Jones.
As I reported Aug. 20, Clinton, a Tuesday keynote speaker, will be releasing her delegates on Wednesday, the day former President Bill Clinton takes to the podium.
I imagine if chants break out in the Pepsi Center of "Clinton, Clinton" when she speaks, the instructions from the Obama folks will be to relax, join in, be part of a group catharsis and certainly not drown out the Clinton voices.
The Clinton and Obama campaigns are choreographing this convention as a joint operation, and that includes wanting Clinton's name placed in nomination, which it will be Wednesday night. Clinton, herself a superdelegate, will cast her ballot for Obama.
"Our campaigns are in constant communication at every level throughout the day," said Kathleen Strand, a Clinton spokesman.
Obama and Clinton made a pact to help each other raise -- initially -- $500,000 for each other. Clinton's political operation -- headquartered at the Brown Palace Hotel here -- has found $3 million for Obama; Obama's donors have come up with $500,000 for Clinton.
What neither Clinton nor Obama can do, however, is make the tapes of her slamming Obama disappear.
"She won millions of votes but isn't on his ticket. Why? For speaking the truth on his plans," a female narrator says in the McCain spot, followed by clips of Clinton mentioning the scandalized Tony Rezko, and how "we still don't have a lot of answers about Senator Obama," among other items.
This spot is clearly aimed at women, and Obama top strategist Anita Dunn told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Sunday that with his anti-abortion record and opposition to equal pay, "John McCain has a woman's problem. And at the end of the week, what you're going to see is a united Democratic Party."
One of the strongest Clinton loyalists I know said it just is taking a long time to heal. Clinton is still hurting, but she is stumping for Obama, and she and Bill Clinton will be there for Obama. One thing I hear from the Clinton camp on the healing front -- someone should put that sticky note in front of the busy Illinois senator and tell him to call Bill.