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. peter Specht

    Yes, I believe he is ready to lead. In fact, it seems good leadership tends to go with younger presidents. Obama is older than Kennedy and "Teddy" Roosevelt and within about three years of FDR and Lincoln and not much more than Washington and Jefferson. History doesn't show an "age" problem.

    July 30, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. arc, Lugano CH

    The McCain campaign shouldn’t waste their millions on ads that mention Paris Hilton. Senator McCain and the GOP need to stick to their original strategy of winning votes by bringing out the FEAR.

    You don’t have to be Karl Rove to Photoshop a picture of Senator Obama wearing a turban to cause widespread terror and hysterical panic among red state ‘Values Voters’ and Hillary’s bitter supporters. Do this, and the local grocery store would be out of milk, toilet paper, and tuna in 11 minutes.

    July 30, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. Haters

    SOME people don't like the fact that Obama is young, athletic, in excellent health, innovative, intelligent, prepared to be president, a uniter, represents a much needed change, is well liked even though they may not agree with him on everything. This is about old people (and I am 50 years old), getting out the way and letting the younger leaders take their rightful position.

    July 30, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. Rebublican for Obama!

    Talk about Jealousy!!

    Obama is popular because he has the talent to lead. Do you think millionls of people supporting him are stupid?

    In fact, studies show the more educated a person is the more likely they will support Obama!

    July 30, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. Vietnam COMBAT Vet, OHIO

    CNN, getting as bad as FOX!!!! unfair and unbalanced

    July 30, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Justin (ny)

    Hey John McCain

    Just ONCE this election cycle I'd LOVE to hear any IDEAS or POLICIES you might be thinking of, just in case this stupid excuse for a country happens to elect a moron like you....

    July 30, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    gee, righties, SCARED MUCH?!?!?!?! what you are seeing is americans--and the world--excited and enthusiastic that after 8 years of criminals we will have an intelligent, fair-minded, positive, hopeful, and decent human being for a president!

    people, dont fall for their pathetic desperate tactic. it's the so-called "liberal media" (owned by about 5 verrry rich neocons) that has created this dumb and insulting "rock star" label.

    this is the typical GOP tactic of attacking your opponents STRENGTHS and make them negative, mccain and the neoCONs did it to hillary clinton too. they know when it comes to intelligence, charisma, knowledge, personality, their guy is an absolute DUD, so they have to twist the excitement and hope we fel with obama into a negative. shame on you , CNN, for perpetuating this insulting tactic!

    how dare the media belittle american-and world--citizens for being excited about getting our country back to where it was-and better.

    people, we've had 8 years of negativity, anger, divisiveness, and hate, dont let them keep you down any longer.

    July 30, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. Linda31

    McCain really needs to stop whinning about Obama's popularity and about what he (McCain) can do. Everyday there is an ad out about Obama's popularity, with the media (false by the way), other countries and US.

    Actually, it seems like McCain is attacking the American people for actually liking this man. What's up with that?

    July 30, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |

    McCain is desperate....so he's dragging out Hilary's old dirty kitchen sink.........what a loser !!!!!!!!

    July 30, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. Colin

    Discussing the ideas behind the ad, a McCain adviser told CNN's Dana Bash, “What we have now in the media is a breakdown in the walls of how things are covered. He is covered as a celebrity. It has not gone unnoticed by this campaign that Obama makes ... statements suggesting that his candidacy is what the world has been waiting for. Excuse me?” the adviser said.


    Guess what, dude? The world HAS been waiting for a guy just like Obama. And America? Part of the world.

    July 30, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    The famed Republican attack machine is warming up and getting ready to kick it into high gear. They have to.......they have no vision for the future themselves. The only thing they can do is try to tear down Obama's vision. This was successful when employed in the past, but the country now recognizes the need for new leadership and these attacks will not stop it from happening.

    July 30, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Christopher

    John McCain, Hi Hator, Hi Haror...LOL

    July 30, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. PAT



    July 30, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. Stephen

    I am no fan of B. Hussein Obama and his Louis Farakhan groupie wife, but the recent ad by the McCain campaign sounds much like a loser preparing himself and his Party for a crushing defeat in November. With the Ted Stevens indictment, the GOP is rapidly becoming a caricature of itself. Since taking power in Congress in 1994 the Republican Party has been trying to "out Democrat" the Democrats and is now paying the political price for abandoning it's conservative base. They deserve their fate. No tears here .

    July 30, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. Nicholas

    I'm glad you had something productive to add to the postings. Knucklehead...

    McCain has a proven record.

    What has Obama done to show his experience???

    July 30, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Canadian observer

    Is he ready to lead? what a question. With all the evidences against him( e.g his age and color of his skin, etc) he made it to be a Democrats leader. He is creating so many followers all around the world, and if nothing at all he is leading your campaign’s ad 🙂

    July 30, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea

    John McCain's reactions to everything Barack just show what a small, envious man he is.

    July 30, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Jacky

    America choose McCain for his dirty tricks, and you have your president you deserve.

    July 30, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. fella from Chicago

    Messiah Obama!!! Messiah Obama!!! I have a pimple on my nose. Touch it oh Great One so it may heal. You arrogant sob.

    July 30, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. prairieguy

    I supported McCain in 2000...the 2008 McCain is not the same one.

    He is now a tired, pathetic old man who has nothing to offer but Rowe type negative ads.

    So much for the "civil campaign" he promised....but then he has flip flopped on several things....including taxes!!!

    July 30, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Posn

    For McCain being such an old man he the biggest baby I have ever seen. Sounds like a nagging husband. Enough already.....

    July 30, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. white

    McCain stop your crying and talk about important issues like what you would do to fix the economy and create some jobs. I bet you wish you were in Obama's position.... (mccain) : )

    July 30, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. chea prince

    why do cable news outlets feel compelled to propagate this kind of negative advertising by showing it for free to larger audiences than the original media buys by the campaigns? the swiftboaters would have been ignored if not for the cable outlets amplification and 24/7 discussion. this is not news, not journalism ... its trash, propaganda.

    sad really.

    July 30, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. MikeinPhilly

    McCain's campaign can be accurately described as "Daily Desperation." It's pathetic. It is actually comical watching the McCain campaing "react" to everything Obama does (witness McCain's hanging out in front of a German restaurant because Obama was in Germany). McCain faired no better in the frozen food aisle, or holding hands with the Dalai Lama (for so long it was a little freaky). McCain's campaing only REacts but never take the initiative like Obama does. McCain completely lacks creativity. He has now flip-flopped to the point where he agrees with most of Obama's positions, but expects us to elect him (McCain) instead. McCain clearly believes that he has paid his dues and the presidency is now his entitlement. Unfortunately, that's not how it works.

    July 30, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Tomas

    I can't even imagine four more years of McBush.

    July 30, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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