Barack Obama has released his first general ad of the presidential campaign, but its upbeat “values” message is slightly undermined by the revelation that he took credit for a law he didn’t vote on. Whoops.

Obama pads his resume on servicemen. The new TV ad for Barack Obama is a fairly straightforward “values” ad which references a bunch of laws he’s passed in his career. But wait. The National Review says Obama’s padding his resume by claiming to have passed a law that “extended healthcare for wounded troops who’d been neglected,” when in fact he didn’t voted on that law.

“Did he contribute to it in some way that might be reasonably referred to as extending healthcare for wounded troops who’d been neglected? It certainly doesn’t seem that way, as even Obama supporters at the Daily Kos discovered…”

The Daily KOS found that Obama had tried to insert several amendments which didn’t make it into the bill — one about screenings for service members returning from deployments, and one for easing the discharge of service members found to have personality disorders. Another part of the bill, calling for inspector general reports about hospital facilities, had come from a different bill Obama had sponsored.

The Energy issue. The Atlantic applauds McCain for staying “on message” for a second week by talking about energy security and the environment. It’s interesting in this context to look at Fortune’s take on McCain, who it points out likes to give national security answers to economic questions — keeping him in his policy comfort zone. 

The interview asked McCain what the single most pressing economic problem the US facing is, and he replied: “Well, I would think that the absolute gravest threat is the struggle that we’re in against radical Islamic extremism, which can affect, if they prevail, our very existence. Another successful attack on the United States of America could have devastating consequences.”

On the other side, The Flopping Aces blog points to a Weekly Standard article about “the excuses Democrats give nowadays for their opposition to new drilling for oil”, saying that they’re “wrong about big oil.”

VP Watch. Still no word on VPs, but Real Clear Politics is running a “VP Watch” section. They point out that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to have removed himself “from the short list — of both candidates”. Meanwhile they also round up Newseek’s Hardball discussion of the potential VP candidates.

Hillary and Obama to team up. Barack Obama’s campaign has just announced that he and Hillary Clinton will make a joint appearance at a “Unite for Change” rally in the small New Hampshire town of Unity. Cheesy photo op much? — Union Leader

Obama’s style in context. The New York Observer has an interesting feature which looks back to the Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton years and points out that Obama’s not the first presidential candidate to present himself as a truthful, non-politician:

It took the media and the Republicans just about as long to catch on to Carter’s craftiness as it did for them to begin exploring Obama’s Machiavellian side. In the summer and fall of ’76, reporters attempted day after day to pin Carter down on the most politically sensitive issues of the day — abortion, busing and the like. And day after day he frustrated them with his evasiveness. Republicans howled, sounding very much like Lindsey Graham did on Meet the Press.

The Democrats’ Lieberman problem. Former Democrat now Independent Senator Joe Lieberman is ruffling Dem feathers by campaigning for Republican John McCain. But as Time points out, without Lieberman’s vote, the Dems wouldn’t have a majority in the Senate, making him quite a headache. “As long as Democrats need him to hold on to power, Lieberman realizes that comments like these make him untouchable.” How will this play out? — Time