Senator Hillary Clinton unveiled a new television ad in Pennsylvania yesterday that brings back the ringing 3 a.m. White House phone featured in her attention-grabbing spot on national security that ran in Texas last month.
Like the previous one, this 30-second ad shows images of children in their beds while the narrator says, "It's 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep."
But this hypothetical crisis is economic, not security-related, and the ad's target is not Democratic rival Barack Obama but Senator John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican nominee.
Clinton makes the argument that she, unlike McCain, is prepared to answer that phone.
"John McCain just said the government shouldn't take any real action on the housing crisis. He'd let the phone keep ringing," the narrator says. "Hillary Clinton has a plan to protect our homes, create jobs. It's 3 a.m., time for a president who's ready."
McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds responded, "John McCain is ready to lead with a pro-growth economic plan to lower taxes, cut government spending, empower America's entrepreneurs, and get our economy back on track."
Asked what moment in Clinton's past had demonstrated her capacity to handle the kind of urgent economic crisis she depicts in the ad, Clinton aides pointed to her broad life experience.
"It's not a single moment, because unless you're president you don't have a single moment like that," said Clinton's communications director, Howard Wolfson. "It is a lifetime of experience, understanding, knowledge, and background in the issues that allows you to make the kind of good decisions that a president will need to make when getting a call at 3 a.m."