OBAMA EYES DEBATE OVER EDUCATION…. At different points in the campaign, various issues have dominated the discourse, but education hasn’t generated much attention. The Obama campaign apparently hopes to change this.

Coinciding with a major speech on education policy from Obama, his campaign unveiled a fairly aggressive “contrast” ad this morning, which reminds voters of a position John McCain took a while back, but would prefer not to talk about.

For those of you who can’t watch clips from your work computers, the ad has a voice-over saying, “When they grow up, will the economy be strong enough? Barack Obama understands what it takes make America number one in education again. John McCain doesn’t understand. John McCain voted to cut education funding. Against accountability standards. He even proposed abolishing the Department of Education. And John McCain’s economic plan gives $200 billion more to special interests while taking money away from public schools. We can’t afford more of the same.”

The McCain campaign, not surprisingly, took issue with some of the claims in the ad, but had nothing to say about McCain’s support for abolishing the Department of Education. That’s because it’s true — back in 1994, McCain told CNN, “I would certainly favor doing away with the Department of Energy and I think that given the origins of the Department of Education, I would favor doing away with it as well.”

My hunch is McCain, if he’s asked about this at all, will say he’s changed his mind on the issue, and take his lumps for yet another in a long line of flip-flops. Nevertheless, Obama’s ad is accurate, and reminds voters of something McCain had probably forgotten about.

And just as an aside, I can’t help but notice the most recent Obama ads seem to have a bit more of an edge. Now that we’re in the post-Labor Day period, I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.