July 30th, 2008
03:05 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain ad calls Obama 'biggest celebrity in the world'

McCain is out with a hard-hitting new ad.

McCain is out with a hard-hitting new ad.

(CNN) - Britney Spears, Paris Hilton…Barack Obama?

A new campaign ad from John McCain - which flashes shots of the two aforementioned megacelebrities - calls Barack Obama "the biggest celebrity in the world," but asks, "Is he ready to lead."

"He's the biggest celebrity in the world. But, is he ready to lead? With gas prices soaring, Barack Obama says no to offshore drilling. And, says he'll raise taxes on electricity. Higher taxes, more foreign oil, that's the real Obama," the ad's narrator says while crowds screaming, "Obama!" are shown.

Responding to the ad, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said, "On a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Senator McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another. Or, as some might say, ‘Oops! He did it again.’"

The ad is the latest in a string of hard-hitting television commercials from the McCain campaign. Earlier spots suggest Obama is playing politics with the Iraq war, is against funding American troops, and bears some responsibility for high gas prices.

In a conference call with reporters announcing the ad, McCain adviser Rick Davis said of Obama's campaign coverage, "The focus on media, on events and activities, is much more something you'd expect from someone releasing a new movie."

Listen: McCain advisers explain the new ad in a conference call with reporters

"What we decided to do was find the top three international celebrities in the world," he said. "And I would say that from our estimation Britney and Paris came in second and third. So from our perspective, we have the biggest three celebrities in the world."

Davis also brushed aside suggestions the ad will be viewed by the American public as going negative.

"Will people think of this as negative advertising? Look, it’s the most entertaining thing I've seen on TV in a while. I wouldn't anticipate anything about this being negative," he said.

Steve Schmidt, another top McCain adviser also said it was accurate to compare Obama to the two celebrities who, as one reporter said on the call, are often portrayed as "frivolous and irresponsible."

"I don’t poll Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, but I know they're international celebrities, so apples to apples," he said.

A McCain advisor also told CNN's Dana Bash the ad targets Obama's "outrageous, narcissistic statements."

“It has not gone unnoticed by this campaign that Obama makes outrageous, narcissistic statements suggesting that his candidacy is what the world has been waiting for. Excuse me?” the adviser said. “What’s going to happen when he parts the sea? What about all the fish in the middle?” this adviser said with biting sarcasm.

The ad will run in 11 key battleground states - Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

soundoff (977 Responses)
  1. obamaforyourmama

    Yet another example of insanity from the McCain campaign. Just because Obama is popular with people actually gives them hope about the future of America doesn't mean that he is incapable of running this country. If anything, it makes him more suitable for the job. Obama is young, articulate and inspirational. So what if he's a celebrity? Does it make him on par with Paris Hilton and Britney Spears? No!

    America needs a new path to follow and Obama is ready to pave the way.

    July 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. wiley coyote

    It's the old Rove stategy...take your opponents strength and make it into a weakness. He IS a celebrity and the world IS awaiting his election Better times are coming and all the rovian sarcasm and tactics will not change that. Get over it early

    July 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. Mary-Beth Frazee, Whitney TX

    BO's people can't take the heat can they? Go McCain for Real Americans!!!

    July 30, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. chechthisout


    He advocates One World, One People...................
    No More boundaries.
    No More borders.
    No more Immigration.
    No Policemen
    No more Red state / Blue state.
    Our moment has come.....................
    This is the time.
    This is our time.

    Aint You Scared ????????

    July 30, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |


    July 30, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. Greg

    McCain does not appear to be able to get elected on his own platform/idea's, he is trying to get elected by attacking Obama... And no we shouldn't have offshore drilling... I don't think he realize's that our planet is finite, there is no more, and it will not grow anymore, it is time to look toward alternative energy methods, and I don't think digging offshore is the key... What are we leaving for our children's children, much less what are we teaching them, somethings should just be left alone....

    July 30, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Kara

    The arguement to allow more drilling to lower gas prices may sound great when politicians, such as McCain, campaign for it. However, I've read reports that new offshore drilling will not provide oil to consumers for another 3 to 4 years, at a minimum. This doesn't appear to be the easy solution that McCain is portraying.

    July 30, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    "No doubt, Obama can woo a crowd. So could Hitler……"

    So could Reagan. What else have you got?

    July 30, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. fafa

    The Repubicans should be paying attention more to their own problem. It.s not too late yet. They are making Obama big. This is just a regular guy and he knows it. Barack the Vote.I think so

    July 30, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. Fred

    Obama is right that he has become a symbol.

    That's it. Nothing more. He brings nothing to the table. No plans for change, no programs, nothing.

    Obama is riding on the coat tails of the optimistic people who want a better life and a better America. He is using their hope and their message to prop himself up as an icon. Without those people he is nothing.

    July 30, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. Lola

    Oh no, not Madonna, Obama will select 50 cent as his running mate instead!!!!!

    July 30, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  12. Voter001

    repugs must have negative attack mill running 24/7. by the way Mcsame, when are you going to actually SAY WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO?
    i forgot you don't really have any position do you?
    no taxes.. taxes
    no drilling..drilling

    your soul is already sold....

    oh i forgot you will stoop to the lowest level to get POTUS.
    why not tell US what you will do in office?
    what do you see in the mirror?
    what are you going to do even after all the negativity and still do not get POTUS?

    July 30, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. indiePA

    It's too bad that Republicans didn't ask that question about Duh-bya before the last two elections. Was he ready to lead??? Unfortunately, we all know the answer to that one and our grandchildren will still be paying for it.

    July 30, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. Dandelion.

    rg – Uh, no. Hitler scared people into believing him, he scared people into doing what he wanted. Obama has never tried to scare us into doing anything. He brings hope, safety, unity and has never, ever used fear mongering. I hate when people compare anyone to Hitler, but if you're going to go there, get your facts straight.

    July 30, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Biffington, Biff

    Can you tell that the Bush people have taken over the McCain campaign NOW???

    July 30, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. Dave From Philly

    Obama did not create the Obama image. America created the Obama image. The press/media created the Obama image.

    How is speculation drilling off our coast going to change the price of oil tomorrow, next week or and year. What happens if a spill occurs off the coast of Florida or another tourist spot?

    Last week the Mississppi was closed because of an oil spill. Accidents happen. Our politians need to create a better way.

    McCain is not the answer.

    July 30, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. Obamalism

    You can hear McCain solutions if you want..he's got them out there. The big problem is that the media is printing stories about Obama over McCain at a rate of about 10 to 1.

    Heck, as of this morning Cnn's ticker had 9 to 1 for Obama. Hell, even clinton had 2!

    July 30, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. curt

    Negative ad's wont work, not this time, not this year, Obama 08 !!!!

    July 30, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. Candice

    Republicans are missing the point! The President of the United States should be a celebrity!! He should be known for the good work he does and people should understand he is willing to do whatever in his power to see the United States return to its status in the world! People have forgotten what it truly means to be a "Popular" President. That's why we have polls that judge the popularity of a President. With Bush popularity vote being at staggering 30% now is the time for us to wake up!! Who says it's a crime to actually like your President?! The Republicans? PUMAs? What is the problem?! While people are thinking about the now, we're forgetting about the future?! McCain says Obama is willing to lose a War in order win an election but isn’t McCain doing the same thing he’s accusing Obama of doing. Supporting off shore drilling, alienating himself from the rest of the world, and calling Obama a celebrity are all tactics to make Americans miss the bigger point! That point is… Obama is NOT trying to find a quick fix for gas and energy problems but is trying to figure out a way to make sure we’re NEVER in this situation again.

    July 30, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Kathy in Michigan


    Conversely, why is it that someone who has been in the Senate since 1984 can't pull ahead in the polls from a first term Senator?

    Answer that!

    July 30, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. Brandon Hillary PUMA 4Mc

    Excellent content in the ad. After what happened to Hillary I dont want it to happen to Mc Cain. This ad rightfully questions what the media will not. I hope that people really ask themselves what qualifies him to lead and just how he has gotten to where he is. Its one thing to be an eloquent speaker its another to actually have a record of producing the "change" that he is fond of speaking of. To have the experience and intregrity to have proven themselves in the public arena is truly important in ones decision. I may not agree with all of Mc Cains positions but he has what it takes to lead the country and has proven his love to his country.
    Mc 2008
    Hillary 2012
    Mc Cain has a lifetime of experience and reaching out for bipartisan solutions obama has speeches and empty NO accomplishments to back it up. Not falling in line "Not this time"

    July 30, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. Puck

    The Republicans are green with envy and sinking
    lower and lower by the second.

    Obama doesn't support offshore drilling because
    offshore drilling is DUMB.

    By this, he isn't saying "yes" to foreign oil, but I guess
    that doesn't stop the GOP from insinuating he does.

    And now McCain's advisers have jumped on the
    "Obama = Messiah" bandwagon. He's not a narcissist.

    Seriously, this is getting out of hand. I don't know if
    I can stand reading more of this bullcorn from the
    McCain camp. It's really, really SAD.

    July 30, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. clark

    I'm absolutely dumbfounded that, regardless of where Obama goes in the polls, McCane is still polling in the mid 40's. This kind of response is nothing but a clear indication that the man has not got a single clue as to what to do or say.

    And you 40% want this guy as our leader! God help us all...we'll be praying g was back in office if this guy wins.

    July 30, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. CJ/PA

    So McCain - this is your new campaign staff in action. Very nice! Your mother must be so proud!! (See what sarcasm accomplishes - nothing!!) Be your own man and stop listening to the people who are making you look ineffective, nasty and just plain stupid!! How can you pretend to lead when all you are is a puppet !
    Yes - Obama '08 - for sure!!!!

    July 30, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    and McBush is a whiny old fart.....

    OBAMA '08

    July 30, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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