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John McCain has run against Barack Obama before.

He’s running against him again.

With campaign radio ads billing the five-term Republican senator as “Arizona’s last line of defense,” the GOP’s nominee for president in 2008 is attempting to bolster his 2010 campaign for reelection to the Senate with a slam at the president.


“President Obama is leading an extreme left-wing crusade to bankrupt America,” McCain says in one of the radio ads his campaign is airing.


“I stand in his way every day,” McCain says. “If I get a bruise or two knocking some sense into heads in Washington, so be it.”


McCain got his own head-knocking in the 2008 presidential election, and now he could be facing a party primary contest from a former Republican congressman, J.D. Hayworth, who is an outspoken critic of immigration reform — an issue which McCain has championed in the Senate, and an issue on which McCain, Obama and some of the Senate’s leading Democrats happen to agree. They support a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.


But on the radio, McCain and Obama could not be further apart.


“He’s lived through a battle or two, vanquished many a foe,” a narrator says of the retired Navy pilot and admiral’s son who spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. “But perhaps no battle in our lifetime is more vital than the one John McCain fights now… a battle to save America, save our jobs…


“John McCain leads the charge to slash government spending, bloated bureaucracies and ridiculously unaffordable ideas like government run health care.”


In another ad playing on a battle-tested McCain campaign tactic of invoking his days as a POW – reminding voters in Arizona that he could have come home to the U.S. earlier from that prison camp than he did (though Arizona was not home at the time) – the narrator says:


“John McCain is leading the fight against President Obama every day.”


It could get interesting when they get to that immigration bill.