OBAMA HITS MCCAIN ON PAY EQUITY…. The Obama campaign has been taking subtle shots at McCain on the issue of gender and pay equity, and the criticism has now been turned into a television ad, which has reportedly begun airing in Virginia.

For those of you who can’t watch video clips from your work computers, the ad features a voice-over saying, “Today many women work to help support their families but are paid just 77 cents to the dollar a man makes. It’s one more thing John McCain doesn’t get about our economy. He opposed a law to guarantee women equal pay for equal work, calling it too great a burden on business. McCain explains away the wage gap, saying women just need more ‘education and training.’ A burden on business? How about the burden on our families.”

Following up on an item from last week, this is a key area where McCain is vulnerable. Adam Jentleson recently explained, “In April, McCain opposed a major Senate bill seeking equal pay for women…. In 2000, McCain opposed an amendment that aimed to ‘provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex.’ In 1985, McCain voted against a study to investigate pay differences among federal employees, and determine whether they were the result of discrimination.”

Last week, one of McCain’s campaign surrogates said the Republican nominee supports the “concept” of equal pay, but “doesn’t want to tie the hands” of businesses.

If both campaigns are taking outreach to women voters seriously right now, pay equity is an issue that’s unlikely to fade away.

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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.