CHICAGO (AFP) - Democrat Barack Obama went after White House rival John McCain's core campaign theme of honour and integrity Monday with a new ad accusing the Republican of stooping to deception and lies. The 30-second television spot was released as the two camps responded to the crisis on Wall Street unleashed by the failure of investment giant Lehman Brothers, which prompted a TV ad from McCain. The Obama ad showed McCain exclaiming during his failed bid for the Republican nomination in 2000, "I will not take the low road to the highest office in this land." It then cited an array of media commentaries damning McCain's own ad onslaught on Obama as being "truly vile," larded with "dishonest smears" and amounting to the "most disgraceful, dishonorable campaign" yet. "After voting with (President George W) Bush 90 percent of the time, proposing the same disastrous economic policies, it seems deception is all he has left," the Illinois senator's ad concluded. It was a stinging attack on the Vietnam War hero who prizes his own honour and, in 2000, lost the Republican nomination to Bush after a hate-filled campaign leading up the year's South Carolina primary. McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said the ad was Obama's "desperate effort to move away from talking about his thin but alarming record on the issues, and it isn't going to reform Washington or strengthen our economy." Last week, in one intensely controversial ad, the McCain campaign accused Obama of advocating explicit sex education to kindergarten-aged children. In reality, the bill he voted for as an Illinois lawmaker mandated warnings for young children about sexual predators. The Democratic National Committee meanwhile launched a new "online counter" and web page to chronicle the "lies and distortions" of McCain and his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. DNC spokesman Damien LaVera cited at least 51 instances of non-partisan groups crying foul over attacks from McCain and Palin, who he said were running "one of the most dishonest and dishonourable presidential campaigns in history." Democrats seized on a remark on Fox News Sunday from Bush's long-time counsellor Karl Rove, the master of some of the darker arts of modern politics, that McCain had gone "one step too far" in some of his ads attacking Obama. Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal said Monday that despite Palin-McCain claims that she shares his opposition to "earmark" funding from the federal government, the governor has asked US taxpayers to fund 453 million dollars in Alaskan projects over the past two years. Meanwhile, Republican John McCain Monday insisted US economic "fundamentals" were still strong, drawing an immediate rebuke from his White House foe Barack Obama as global stocks plunged. The Arizona Senator twinned his remarks with a vow for a major reform drive of financial regulatory systems if he is elected president on November 4, but Democrats seeking a political opening on the number one campaign issue pounced. "There has been tremendous turmoil in our financial markets and Wall Street. People are frightened by these events," McCain told supporters in Florida. "Our economy I think, still, the fundamentals of our economy are strong, but these are very, very difficult times," McCain said at a rally in the key battleground state of Florida. "I promise you, we will never put America in this position again. We will clean up Wall Street," McCain vowed, drawing loud cheers from his supporters. But the Obama campaign accused McCain of being oblivious to economic conditions, playing into their wider assault that the Republican is out of touch with the key crises facing the United States as a whole. "Today of all days, John McCain's stubborn insistence that the 'fundamentals of the economy are strong' shows that he is disturbingly out of touch with what's going in the lives of ordinary Americans," said McCain spokesman Bill Burton. "Even as his own ads try to convince him that the economy is in crisis, apparently his 26 years in Washington have left him incapable of understanding that the policies he supports have created an historic economic crisis." Earlier, Obama complained that eight years of Republican rule from the White House was to blame for the crisis. McCain, in a written statement earlier promised a huge financial reform drive to repair a failing regulatory framework.