OBAMA’S PREEMPTIVE ATTACK…. The McCain campaign has publicly indicated its plan to shift the campaign discussion away from substantive issues, and towards William Ayers and Tony Rezko. The plan, apparently, is to begin a fresh round of baseless attack ads after Tuesday night’s debate.

Tomorrow, the Obama campaign will begin airing a preemptive ad, “turning the attacks back on the attacker,” as Mike Allen put it.

“Three quarters of a million jobs lost this year,” the voice-over says. “Our financial system in turmoil. And John McCain? ‘Erratic in a crisis.’ ‘Out of touch’ on the economy. No wonder his campaign’s announced a plan to ‘turn a page on the financial crisis,’ distract with dishonest, dishonorable ‘assaults’ against Barack Obama. Struggling families can’t turn the page on this economy — and we can’t afford another President who’s this out of touch.”

When the ad talks about McCain being “out of touch,” the on-screen image is McCain riding around in a golf cart with H.W. Bush. When it talks about Americans not being able to afford another president like the current one, the image is of McCain alongside W. Bush.

“We think the McCain campaign made a huge error by telling the press that their strategy was to distract from the most important issue facing voters,” a senior Obama official told the Politico. “Every attack going forward will be easy to characterize for what it is — an attempt to distract from the Bush-McCain economic record.”

Or, as the campaign’s Dan Pfeiffer put it, “If John McCain thinks he can ‘turn the page’ on the economic crisis facing American families, he is even more out of touch than we imagined. Now there may be no good answers for John McCain due to his erratic response to the financial crisis, but his desire to avoid discussing the economy is something we will remind voters of everyday for the next month.”

Sounds like a sound strategy to me.

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.