Sen. Barack Obama insisted today that his campaign commercial pointing out that Republican Sen. John McCain doesn't know how to use a computer wasn't a sly shot at his rival's age.
"I didn't say that. What I said was ... that John McCain is out of touch," Obama told "Good Morning America."
Obama was asked about the ad by "GMA" co-anchor Chris Cuomo as both major party candidates stepped up the number of attack ads.
Last week McCain was forced to defend a couple of his ads on ABC's "The View" when co-host Joy Behar said they were "lies."
Even Republican attack-master Karl Rove said the two campaigns were in danger of going overboard.
"Both campaigns are making a mistake, and that is they are taking whatever their attacks are and going one step too far," Rove said on "Fox News Sunday." "They don't need to attack each other in this way."
It was Obama's turn to defend his campaign tactics when pressed by Cuomo today.
"It paints him as an old man. You say he can't use a computer, he's never sent an e-mail. What does that all mean?" Cuomo asked.
"What it means is that we've got a 21st century economy. And John McCain does not have a vision for how to move that forward," Obama replied.
Bolstering his defense that the ad wasn't aimed at the fact that McCain is 72, Obama persisted with the campaign's "out of touch" theme.
"When his health care adviser was recently quoted saying that 'We don't really have an uninsured problem because people can just go to the emergency room,' well, that has nothing to do with age," Obama said. "That indicates somebody who is not spending time thinking about what people are going through day to day."
Obama rejected suggestions that his campaign ad was a low blow.
"If we're going to ask questions about, you know, who has been promulgating negative ads that are completely unrelated to the issues at hand, I think I win that contest pretty handily," Obama said.
What Obama apparently meant was that McCain, not Obama, has put out more negative ads.
McCain has been questioned about an ad stating that Obama insulted GOP running mate Sarah Palin by using the expression "lipstick on a pig" while dismissing McCain's claim that he would bring change to Washington. McCain was also challenged over an ad in which he accused Obama of proposing sex ed for kindergarten students.
Obama tried to highlight the complaints about McCain's tactics with a new ad that opens with a picture of McCain and a quote from the Republican saying, "I will not take the low road to the highest office in this land." The announcer then asks, "What happened to John McCain?"
Despite his complaint that the campaign was veering away from issues that concern voters and concentrating on unimportant controversies, Obama rebuffed Cuomo's suggestion that he accept McCain's offer to hold a series of town halls together.
"This whole thing about town halls I think is a little bit of a gimmick," Obama said. "We've got three debates coming up."
During his interview with "GMA," Obama indicated the big shift of white women voters to McCain was part of a "cycle" in a long campaign rather than McCain's selection of Palin as his running mate.