Eight Years After Then-State Senator Obama Decried 'Negative Ad Peddlers,' What Kind of Campaign Is He Running?

VIDEO: Obama delivers the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama of Illinois delivers the keynote address to delegates on the floor of the FleetCenter on the second day of the Democratic National Convention July 27, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Eight years ago today, a little known state senator delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, where he delivered an inspiring address.

In that speech, Obama noted that "even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America…We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism, or do we participate in a politics of hope?"

Today, Obama is leading a presidential re-election campaign that relies quite a bit on spin masters and negative ads (his opponent, Mitt Romney, is of course doing the same thing.) The New York Times recently noted that in the TV market of Richmond in battleground state Virginia, "not a single positive presidential campaign message ran on television from June 9 through June 22," according to Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group. "But attack ads ran 4,504 times."

A different analysis looked at a two-week period ending in July in which Romney aired TV ads around 4,000 times - 94% of which were counted as negative. During that same period, the Obama campaign aired ads approximately 37,000 times, 89% of which attacked his opponent.

What would that state senator think about the campaign being run right now by this president?

"I think that he thinks and we think that the issues that the president talks about all the time, as president and as a candidate, go right to the central concern that the American people have about economic growth and job creation," White House press secretary Jay Carney said today, "about ensuring that the middle class is given a shot to expand, that the squeeze that the middle class has been under now for a decade is relieved, and that there's the right investments made in our economy, in education and infrastructure and innovation…

Watch the exchange:

Continued Carney: "That's why the president believes that the issue of 'What do you believe when it comes to what our tax code should look like?' and whether we should reward companies that ship jobs overseas, or should we reward companies that insource jobs in the United States - that's a policy difference that is extremely important….The president draws distinctions about his vision for the economy compared to the Republican vision,…this is the absolute core of the debate in our country, and it is overwhelmingly the principal focus of the American people."

-Jake Tapper

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