THE INTEGRITY CARD…. This afternoon on “The View,” John McCain once again criticized Barack Obama for the “lipstick on a pig” nonsense, despite the fact that McCain has used the same phrase many, many times.

Greg Sargent has a report on the Obama campaign’s response, which takes the rhetorical temperature of the campaign just a little higher.

The Obama camp has just unleashed one of its toughest hits on McCain’s character yet, signaling a newly aggressive effort to hammer McCain’s supposed honor and integrity over the lies and adver-sleazements that have come to dominate his campaign.

An Obama spokesperson just blasted out a statement comparing McCain’s current campaign to the infamously despicable 2000 campaign run against him in South Carolina — true fighting words — and adding that McCain “would rather lose his integrity than lose an election.”

Here’s the full response from Obama spokesperson Hari Sevugan: “Today on ‘The View,’ John McCain defended his campaign’s latest ad campaign, which has been debunked repeatedly as both false and sleazy. In running the sleaziest campaign since South Carolina in 2000 and standing by completely debunked lies on national television, it’s clear that John McCain would rather lose his integrity than lose an election.”

I like that last line; it sounds kind of familiar.

Regardless, taking on McCain’s integrity, directly, is not only entirely fair and accurate, it’s also likely to get under his skin a bit. I predict a response that references McCain’s background as prisoner of war before the end of the hour.

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.