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. Jim

    It is so sad to read, hear, Senator McCain using tactics he pledged not to engage in.
    I have respect for Senator McCain but day by day he is losing all sense of virtue and moral fiber.
    Senator Obama , to his credit, will not sink in the gutter.
    I thought McCain was above all this?? It all so sad!!!!

    July 30, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Natasha

    How low can McCain go?

    July 30, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Ben in Atlanta, GA

    Mr. McCain:

    Here is a quote by Fulton J. Sheen written especially for you:
    "Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius."

    Dude- quit being a hater and learn something from Obama about how to excite your own party. The Republicans are bored to death with your candidacy, and you want to blame Obama? Give me a break dude! You are the definition mediocrity and insipidity!

    July 30, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. Obamacan

    these repuplicans have no mind. they bring such stuffs.

    July 30, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Sammy

    All depends on the definition of 'ready'. It's arguable that Obama is no more or less ready to be president than Bush jr. was. So if Obama isnt ready Bush wasnt either. I will listen to what this kind of ad has to say when the same Republicans say that maybe, just maybe, Bush wasnt ready to lead.

    I guarantee they wont.

    July 30, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. jfs Memhis, Tn

    McCain folks you need to read between the lines......THE GOOD OL USA >>>AND >>>THE WORLD are looking for LEADDERSHIP AND CHANGE. SEEMS WE ARE FINDING IT IN OBAMA. STOP YOUR COMPLAINING AND MUDSLINGING AND GET IN THERE AND FIGHT BACK WITH POSITIVE SOLUTIONS AND PROGRAMS. We are tired of hearing the negative crap........GET IN THERE WITH SOLUTIONS AND STOP THE BELLY-ACHING. Give us a choice !!! What is it that person with 30 years experience doesn't get about this ?????

    July 30, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. Kevin

    Never mind a website set up to blow away myths about Obama. What about the truth, the facts about Obama. The dirty tricks he used to get elected in the Illinois Senate. The land he bought off a now convicted criminal. The ditching of a close friend and pastor after 20 years because power is more important. What about the dirty leaflets he put out about NAFTA and Hillary and now he thinks NAFTA is a good idea. This man is full of crap, wake up America.

    July 30, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Nate

    This add makes a good point. And dems. stop complaning about negative adds. Your comments are the most negative things I've seen this election.

    July 30, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. McArsenic

    CNN how long do you have to "moderate"? who is working there, Rove?

    July 30, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Are u kiddin'?

    WoW! Smells like desperation to me.

    July 30, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Dan

    One question Sen mcCain. How do you propose to get us out of a 452 dollar defecit that was created by Bush and encouraged by you? You offer us absolutely nothing, except to grow the defecit and insult hthe American peoples intelligence! Respectuful / You don't know the meaning of the word!! OBAMA 08!!

    I'll be glad to pay off the 452 dollar deficit.

    But what else would you expect from an Obama Supporter. They are always right and never get there facts wrong.

    July 30, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. Democrat Suck

    Funny! messed-up celebreties helping a messed-up senator.

    July 30, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Chris, PENN

    Newsflash! wow oh wow! Obama just made a speech today to the RNC Dems and quoted to say..." I am the sypmbol of america's possibilities". Mine.....so this is what the audacity of presumtuouness and arrogance looks like.

    I also didn't know I was yurning to have the possibility of putting my own personal interests before my country. Didn't know the bar was set so low...hmmmm.

    July 30, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. Pam

    When is McCain's campaign going to start positively promoting McCain? They're spending all their time and money bashing Obama.

    July 30, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    He may be a celebrity on the world stage–but to me he and McCain are a joke!!

    We need less government meddling in the economy and our lives...and we certainly do not need any new government programs of any kind.

    Every time these guys try to help us–we end up with a bigger problem that the taxpayers always have to bail the government out of.

    Less is better.
    Libertarians 2008...real change that respects your values and your hard earned wages.

    July 30, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. Gretchen

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

    Wow CNN, using the wrong form of there/they're/their? That's some good proofreading.

    July 30, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. mike

    So...what do YOU plan on doing McCain. If you're not willing to tell us your own plans other than those stolen from Obama..just shut that cake hole of yours and retire already.

    July 30, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  18. Donna P.

    Obama is just a "puffed up" Democratic puppet. I wonder who is pulling his strings? He is also a socialist who hates America.

    July 30, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  19. Arin

    You do hear that sound? That's the sound of DESPERATION. John McCain, George Bush, Ted Stevens and the rest of the sad GOP are becoming desperate.

    July 30, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  20. kijana carter

    Sounds like sour grapes to me. Just because no one knows who McCain is or cares about anything he has to say is no reason to cry about it.

    July 30, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. Right On

    Where's the commercial about Hussien doing and selling drugs, that should be a good one.

    July 30, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. Jean

    Mc Cain needs some new materials. This is getting boring!!!

    This is an election with real issues.

    July 30, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. Becky

    McCain's advisor can't even admit that the new ad is negative.


    I don't want a slimeball like McCain as president.

    July 30, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. Jealous


    July 30, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. Republican for Obama

    So much for a clean campaign focused on the issues. McCain offers us nothing new, just the same old negative attack ads trying to break down the competition's character.

    And to the people asking who supports McCain, I can say unfortunately, people like my parents that are openly saying they will never vote for a black man. It's sad but as the generations age so do the old ideas that have no place in the world today.

    July 30, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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