An Internet ad launched last week by the McCain presidential campaign has attracted more than one million hits by appearing to mock Barack Obama for presenting himself as a kind of prophetic figure.
The ad has also generated criticism from Democrats and religious scholars who see a hidden message linking Sen. Obama to the apocalyptic Biblical figure of the antichrist.
The spot, called "The One," opens with the line: "It shall be known that in 2008 the world will be blessed." Images follow of Moses parting the Red Sea and Sen. Obama telling a crowd, "We are the change we've been waiting for."
Brian Rogers, a spokesman for John McCain's campaign, said the spot reflects only that Sen. Obama sometimes "gets carried away" when he speaks, and points out "his many audacious statements."
Critiques of the ad started surfacing earlier this week when Eric Sapp, a Democratic operative, circulated the first of two memos pointing out images that he believed linked Sen. Obama to the antichrist.
"Short of 666, they used every single symbol of the antichrist in this ad," said Mr. Sapp, who advises Democrats on reaching out to faith communities. "There are way too many things to just be coincidence."