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. RyanD.

    4 negative attack ads in a row, McCain.

    I guess you flip-flopped on a positive campaign along with the other 70+ issues.

    Oabam 08'

    July 30, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. Debra

    If Hillary had been nominated she would be way out ahead of McCain and not nose and nose like Obama. It will get worse after he picks his boring, no experiece, typical white guy politician for VP. Change you can believe in? Looks like the same ole same, ole. Obama is afraid of having Clinton as his VP. He wants someone who will look less qualified for president than himself and he is having to work really hard to find someone--anyone who could be less qualified for president than himself. If the people he hung with are any indication of his judgement then I would have to say he has no judgement or experience. What else is there. Empty suit? This joker couldn't even do the job he was elected to. Never held one meeting on Afganistan. At least Clinton worked at doing the job she was elected for. Too bad we can't say the same for Obama.

    July 30, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Dexter in Houston TX

    Wow some of your comments are down right hateful, I'm glad you HATERS are venting here instead of standing on top of the clock tower with a sniper rifle.

    Barack Obama is not only running for president he is changing the way we see ourselves as Americans. There is something bigger happening here...it's not about Barack Obama, it's about us!

    DX in TX

    July 30, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. Amy

    Yeah, Obama is so squeaky clean. No negative stuff for him....NOW. Apparently he's only interested in slinging his fellow demotwits Hillary and Bill through the mud. Yeah, loyal guy.

    That's the kind of change attitude I'd expect from someone who'd only been a United States Senator for 143 days. Oh I forgot to mention all the valuable lessions he learned from being a 'community organizer' whatever that is. Yeah, he's experienced in making the 'tough' decisions, like who he should ask for help in his political career....Bill Ayers? Sure that's a great choice! Obama is a sham backed by the radical left. Cut the puppet strings and vote for anybody BUT Obama.

    July 30, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  5. Judy

    This ad is exactly why Barack Obama is ahead in the polls. We are all so very tired of the Bush-Rove era of slime. Any independents that might have leaned toward McCain have been sent straight to Obama.

    July 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  6. PT

    McCain and his camp needs to work on something other than these ridiculous attacks regarding his popularity. We cannot fault him for his natural charm. However, he is A VERY INTELLIGENT INDIVIDUAL that truly cares for other people. I truly feel that he will do all that he can to make things better for the all of us.

    July 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  7. BOB

    McCain is turning into negative Hillary!!!!!

    July 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  8. Ruth

    How immature, childish McCain's ads have become lately...is this the man you want to lead the country??

    July 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  9. ES NYC

    John Mc Cain : No message, no plan, except go on with Bush policies.

    In his last speech he mentioned Obama 52 times....quite telling

    July 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. german

    i hate McShame!!!

    July 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. Kevin Carroll

    If by "leadership", McCain thinks that our solution to the oil chronic
    oil shortage is to drill for a dwindling resource that cannot be replenished; then I think I am willing to reject the conservative
    "wisdom" that will not (cannot) seem to grasp the need for developing
    alternatives rapidly.

    When oil giants like T. Boone Pickens speak, then even the knot-heads like McCain need to concede that the emphasis needs to be put elsewhere even if it is more expensive.

    In the short run . . . I am willing to pay more $ here for less blood
    in McCain's Iraqi playground.

    July 30, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. Tracy

    Anyone who would give credit to anything Britney or Paris have to say is just as crazy as they are. And quite frankly, having both of them in McCain's ad makes him appear desperate.

    July 30, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Former Republican

    This former Republican is now voting for Obama. This country needs change and we need Obama. I was fro John McCain who used to be a Maverick but he is not the same candidate he was in 2000. I don’t trust him anymore. The straw that broke the camels back was his promise not to run negative ads. Out of his own mouth, he promised to run a clean campaign and then runs the most distasteful ads full of lies. I don't trust him anymore. Now voting for Senator Obama.

    July 30, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. theyaredesperate

    Keep the attack ads coming, Republicans!!

    The entire Republican brand is now so toxic after 8 years of Dumbya
    that they won't be able to get a dogcatcher elected this fall.

    July 30, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. VA for Obama

    Negative attacks won't do you any good if elected, McSame.

    July 30, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    Obama is becoming just as unpopular as Britney and Paris, too!

    July 30, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. aware

    Right on!

    The arrogant, pretender Obama is a one-trick pony with a one-act drama that prioritizes and showcases the American idol of the moment! He is simply a slick character in a photo op. 😦

    It is all about political expediency and not about America or Americans at all. Obama is now overexposed which highlights his negatives of no morale center, no core values, no judgment. He really lacks character and integrity!

    McCain 08 – the clear choice! He is the American hero with character, integrity, wisdom, knowledge, experience and the gravitas to be president of the USA! 🙂

    July 30, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. Madog

    What a pompous presumptive person.. He could at least wait until he is appointed Leader in Germany –
    His speech there as a “private citizen” was a joke – he trotted out his goat header dad and his mothers middle American experience.. are people buying this tripe? Change? I do not like a lot of what John McCain stands for, but at least he is not a dirty pol like BHO...

    July 30, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  19. Nicole

    What a cheap shot!!!!

    July 30, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  20. ellis

    When Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992, what made a big impression on me was the fact that he met with foreign leaders, too, in an effort to show that his limited experience was not limiting to him. BUT, he met with the leaders privately and in a dignified manner, not before crowds riled up before a free concert.

    And with all the comparisons I doubt VERY seriously John Kennedy would have done the same.

    The more of a "celebrity" he becomes, the harder it is for me to take him seriously.

    July 30, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  21. Torin Roher

    Typical Republican spin machine at work with negative campaign tactics. So representative of the last 8 years of no true leadership, no long term vision that address our country's problems. Just preaching fear to the electorate while pandering to rich cronies.

    John McCain is a war hero and has been a commendable public servant. He should be applauded for that. But when it comes to leadership, John McCain is about as inspiring as a can of corn.

    July 30, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    In all due respects to McCain, being a prisoner of war and serving in the Congress for almost thirty years doesn't make one a "leader." It is judgment and McBushism.......well we have had enough of that. With almost 432 billion in debt, another McClone of the Bush administration can only produce the same results.

    July 30, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. Laura

    Wow. What a bad idea this ad is. Lots of people love Britney Spears LOL!

    Why is McCain wasting his few advertising dolars reminding people of what a rock star his opponent is?

    July 30, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. Obamaallthewaytodc

    I'm so amazed. McCain and his colleagues are jealous. Geez.

    He (McCain) has absolutely nothing else to do, but whine.

    Barack has been such a gentleman thru all of this.

    Make sure wish Barack a happiest birthday AUGUST 4th. We are having a celebration in our town!

    And Cindy says he wears her out.....yeah right.

    Obama 08

    July 30, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Donna

    Poor Austin and Allan...if for no other reason than to make you furious, I hope he wins...

    July 30, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
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