All healthcare, all the time

ALL HEALTHCARE, ALL THE TIME…. With the passage of the bailout package this week, the two presidential campaigns are looking at the next step of the race in two very different ways. For McCain, it’s a chance to change the subject and, at all, costs, stop talking about the economy. As far as McCain’s concerned, what voters really need to hear right now are personal attacks and guilt-by-association smears.

For Obama, it’s a chance to pivot from Wall Street to other pocketbook issues related to the economy, such as health care and Social Security.

To that end, this is the latest in a series of Obama campaign ads about healthcare. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, this is the fourth ad on healthcare that the Obama campaign has unveiled since Friday.

What’s more, just as these new ads are being unveiled, Greg Sargent and Eric Kleefeld report, “As part of its new big push on health care, the Obama campaign is unleashing a massive blitz of mailers attacking John McCain’s plan, an assault that includes multiple mail pieces that do everything from accusing McCain of lying about his plan to quoting doctors fretting about McCain’s approach.” All of the direct-mail pieces are going to “households in the battleground states.”

And in case some reporters weren’t picking up on the message, the Obama campaign has also been pushing this six-page memo (.pdf) in newsrooms, detailing the ways in which McCain’s plan would screw over consumers, while rewarding insurance companies.

The push is about as subtle as a sledgehammer. Healthcare is front and center, and if Obama has anything to say about it, the policy debate is going to stay that way for about 30 days.

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Steve Benen

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.