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. cevans, tx

    How JUVENILE!! And, you have people wanting this person(mccain) as our COMMANDERING CHIEF!! Wake up you LISA's...This is just stupid and wasteful of money,energy and time!! My twenty one (21) year old has more substance then mccain...I would entrust her to lead me then him. I am so sick and tired of the idiotic negative attacks. Can't wait until November to put McCain and his pathetic followers out of their misery.

    OBAMA '08

    July 30, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. Andy in Seattle

    Yes We Can.

    July 30, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. B. Obama

    My name is Barak Osama...er...Obama...and I have no experience. I have accomplished nothing in national politics, but I shur talk purty...so uh....vote for me!

    Bunch of stupid democrats in the world.

    July 30, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. tony

    Thanks McCain and Company for letting us not forget the Rev. Wright's –Bill Ayers-Religion and Guns-and the Elitest attiitude-
    Some sensitive people do not want a God to idealize in office-only in Church-
    God Bless America

    July 30, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. lenora levine

    The more critical question in my mind is, why hasn't John McCain opened a lead? He has had ample opportunity since before the end of the Democratic primaries. If the Republican party is so convinced that these attacks are relevant, why hasn't any of this resulted in a megalead for John McCain?

    It is unfortunate that the GOP cannot address substative issues.
    Clearly the presumptive GOP candidate does not have much to offer. If in fact he did, there wouldn't be such concern regarding Obama's appeal.

    July 30, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Terrible

    Britney might actually run a better campaign than John McCain

    Has this guy lost all self respect to be slinging mud like this?

    July 30, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. wycliffe, NJ


    July 30, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. jeanann70

    Who in the world would be swayed by the likes of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton...do they even know who Barack Obama is or were cards held up in front of them and they read them for a fee?

    July 30, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. Ross in MD

    Is it wise to bring up Paris Hilton when you're married to Cindy McCain, a wealthy blond heiress with a drug addiction?

    July 30, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Shari, NY

    Come on McCain camp, your disillusioned supporters are waiting for substance! Why are you so fixated on/obsessed with Sen. Obama? Are you in love with this man and showing it in a twisted way? This attack ad will only attract those who are 1) comfortable with the bizarre status quo, or 2) in a state of oblivion. Not only does it show how fragile your backbone is but also how devoid you are of smart ideas in comparison to Senator Obama’s focused campaign strategy which BARELY ACKNOWLEDGES YOUR EXISTENCE as it presses on with important issues.

    July 30, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. sam

    What you need to be doing is telling people what you can do, not what the other candidate cannot do. How can you blame Obama for high gas prices when there is a Republican President in Office?? Shame on you.... Wasnt it the first Bush that signed that into place to begin with? Why dont you tell us why we need to vote for you instead of telling us why we shouldnt vote for OBAMA... It seems as though you are afraid of the competition... Word of advise....

    July 30, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. Vig

    Obama's image is a figment of people's imagination – wanting him to be the great agent of change – why are people so gullible? Obama is as power hungry as they come with a dose of entitled arrogance.

    July 30, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. Obama Supporter from Texas

    This wil never work. I am so glad that we have at least one candidate that would like to stick to the issues and not the dirty tactics. I am another one that would like to know what are McSame's views on the economy, just to name a few. Oh, I see, you don't have any views...

    Obama '08

    July 30, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Ursula

    I used to have great sympathy and respect for Mr. McCain – but those feelings disappear more and more lately. Doesn't he realize how fast such feelings can fade when looking at, and hearing an old man, being mean and just desperate sounding. Most of his adds do not even make sens. What is Mr. Obama supposed to have in commun with a Britney or Paris ? As I said, the man doesn't even make sens anymore.

    July 30, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. Obama fan

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but you don't hear anything coming out of the Obama camp that attacks McCain just for fun, do you? I think it's really sad that all Grandpa John can come up with is how Obama is bad. I'm proud of Barack & Co. for taking the high road and selling the people on what HE can do instead of telling us we're too stupid to see what his opponnent can't do.

    July 30, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. doug, fairbanks, alaska

    typical conservative campaign of mis-information..rather than deal with the truth, conservatives prefer to lie..sad thing is, voters are wither too dumb, lazy or apathetic to call them on it..I see the same tactics at our local and state levels

    July 30, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Amy

    It's not negative if it's true is it? Nope, it's called truth that hurts. McCain should do an ad about how Obama cancelled his visit to wounded troops to go work-out at the Ritz because he wasn't allowed to bring his media circus in with him for some MORE photo-ops to shock and awe his congregation at home.

    McCain (or anybody but Obama) 08!!!

    July 30, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. carmen

    Now I've heard it all. McCain should just retire and enjoy his wife's wealth.

    July 30, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. Rachelbsw

    Is this the best that all the lobbyist on McCain's staff can come up with. They are not worth whatever he is paying them.

    July 30, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. EDW

    Guess I have to get nasty now. At least with Obama he will be busy at work in the Oval Office instead of checking for new cancer at the doctor's office. McCain, you made me go there.

    July 30, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. Jack - Des Moines

    How can this be considered an "attack ad" ? The truth is the truth. Obama has been pushed and promoted by the media as a celebrity not a politician. He has huge rallys, that the media covers extensively, but no substance. I am surprised they haven't announced their reality show "The Audacity of Obama" coming soon to MTV.

    July 30, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. deZerTomB

    If you look at the polls that include Bob Barr and Ralph Nader, you'll see that Obama's lead over McCain widens considerably. IMHO McCain's misleading attack ads work with a small percentage of uneducated rural voters who are biased against minorities and city slickers, but instead of driving all these voters to McCain, the majority are turning to Barr and Nader.

    So, by attacking Obama and without any issues in the ad to support McCain, biased voters are turning to Barr and Nader instead of McCain.

    McCain is spinning his wheels because he's getting more voters to vote for Barr and Nader than himself. It's called blowback and after 7 years of supporting Bush's policies, McCain should be more experienced in blowback. But apparently McCain does not learn from his mistakes or history and that's why experience does not create leadership. You need intelligence to anticipate events as they unfold or all the experience in the world won't help. Obama has the intelligence to lead this country, McCain doesn't have the brains to run a lemonade stand.

    July 30, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  23. Michelle

    I think it's all about planting a seed. McCain's camp wants to plant a seed of doubt in people's minds, even if people scoff at first. It gets the thought in their head. He's reinforcing the sentiments of many who don't believe in Obama, hoping to spread the doubt.

    July 30, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. danielo

    Wow. I just hope the press can turn on McFlipFlop and all his ever changing positions.
    Then he'll start crying why they are focusing on him and not Obama.
    You lost it McCain.

    July 30, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. non-white & non-black person

    Based on the current news, go ahead GOPS, your guy from Alaska is nothing to boast about. At least Obama is not a shameful person like Bush, Rove, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld!

    We are proud of Obama representing America, so all the Sean Hannitys out there, please SHUT UP!

    July 30, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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