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. J

    Wow. Guess the desperation level is now official.

    I had some high hopes that these were finally two candidates who woulnd't resort to this kind of complete nonsense.

    Wonder if Obama will follow suit... Sigh...

    July 30, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. Gary H

    These Repugs are just nasty twisted "bitter" little people. Unfortunatly we are stuck with them. I am realyy tired of teir viscious small minds.

    July 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. Ron L

    YES..He is a celebrity to the rest of the world. WHY you ask? Three simple reason:
    1) He represents a FRESH start for THE WORLD. George Bush has made a HUGE MESS of the world and 80% of the world can not wait until he is gone.
    2) He represent a degree of intelligence the our current president surely lacks.
    3) He has a style about him that give people a sense that he won't be rash in his reactions to the unexpected. Like the way our current President threw out many of our civil liberties and crapped on our Constitution whenever he felt " he was protecting America". He never could grasp the fact that if you destroy what makes America a great nation while trying to protect it; it is NO LONGER the great nation everyone respects.

    July 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. Michelle, PA

    SO....the Democratic Nominee is a confident, articulate, intelligent man who is popular nd engenders excitement abroad. Why exactly is this a problem?

    July 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. jeff

    Now, it is time for Obama to go after this guy, he's just getting better and better everyday, Now Obama needs to to prvove that Maccain is a war monger, yes he has authorized for the war in Iraq which means he's responsible for the biggest forign policy blunder and for all the deaths and suffering of iraqies civilians and american soldier, and besides he's been flip flopping on every issue, Obama now its time to kick Maccain butt.

    July 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. ARB

    I think he meant to say the "biggest idiot in the world"

    July 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Greg

    This shows how out of touch he is, Britney is so last year.

    July 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. TD

    McCain keeps bringing up the past. Why is no one bringing up his REAL past. Anyone remember the "Keating 5"? McCain is honorable. phhht.

    July 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. richard

    No Hillary! NOOOOOOOOOOOO Barack HUSSEIN Obama!

    July 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. yen

    Americans, what are you waiting for? For those of you who are undecided, Obama is best choice, he understands your pain. McCain doesn't get it hiding behined his millions and his wife's millions. Go Obama!!!

    July 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Tim

    Replace Lindsay Lohan with Obama ... and the trio makes more sense. You don't put two trainwreck girls in with a very upstanding figure.

    Or you should have Tiger Woods, Beckham, and Obama ... that makes sense.

    July 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. DaveMo

    Okay, if this were a "negative" attack how come it is stating fact? A negative attack implies something that is an untruth or close to an untruth, this isn't either one. Obama has voted against opening our own oil resources and instead wants to import more oil. He DOES want to raise taxes, I am retired military and I do not want to pay more in taxes, I do want a responsible government that will allow expansion of our own natural resources. I would also like to see both candidates embrace the wind farm plan that would stretch from Canada to Mexico. It is a wind of change but Obama isn't the answer, the only wind he is blowing is coming from the wrong end.

    July 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. sam

    Great ad, McCain folks! Comparing Obama to two bimbos is ON TARGET! and highlighting crowds roaring "Obama!!" great way to show how Obama "doesn't get it." Can a campaign staff get any more incompetent??

    July 30, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |


    July 30, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. DavidE

    Obama is NOT ready to lead, but he is ready to be a puppet for Pelosi and company. Socialism you can believe in!!! Regulations you can believe in!!! Taxes you can believe in!!! Affirmative action we can believe in!!! Is Obama gonna buy the world a coke? I heard he has a good source for coke.

    July 30, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. faye, NV

    McCain is mad that no one is paying him any attention and attempting to put the blame on someone else other the he and Bush.

    That group Bush/McCain is solemly responsible for most of everything that is wrong in America.

    Oh, yea let's blame Obama because people like him and knows he's best for us now.

    The high gas prices, foreclosure, economy is Bushs' fault.

    Obama is a STAR

    July 30, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Will-South Dakota

    The only coverage McBush can get is if he whines like Gramm says American are ....McBush the leader of whinners in the GOP.

    July 30, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. That's right!


    July 30, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. mark

    I am not surprised, the democratic party
    might have been successful with the help of CNN in getting Obama the
    nomination, but that is not an election victory by a long shot.
    Hilary Clinton was right, when the time comes to compete in the general
    election the republican will not be as soft on Obama as the Clinton were
    forced to be, and all of Obama inexperience and weakness will be exposed.
    We had a strong and experienced candidate in Hilary with a huge lead over the republican and internal democratic politics undid all that.
    Say hello to Mc Cain the next president of the USA and 4 more years of war and deficit.

    July 30, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. Mike D

    hey CNN, stop giving John McCain free advertising.

    July 30, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. Nadine

    Repubs definitely running scare! Their real threat, it's McSame.

    July 30, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. Betty Jean

    McCain is just plain old jealous of Obama!

    July 30, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Been there, done that

    It really doesn't matter because in the end, the whiner/winner of the Presidential race will be McCain because, as far as we believe we have come in race relations, the fact remains that once people get into the voting booth they will revert to asking themselves, "Do I really want a BLACK MAN as President?" and they will vote accordingly.

    Case in point: All you need to do is look at the political map of red states and blue states. It wouldn't make a difference if the man was Jesus himself. If he is black, he will not get elected.

    July 30, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  24. Waldo

    Jealous ,Jealous, Jealous McCain and his cohorts....desperation and desperate measures ..... to use the old and Dirt y Republican campaign negativity. how low can they go....They will get nowhere with this ..the american people are skilled at detecting evil in this shameful and shameless campaigning.

    July 30, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  25. Sadie

    Good job CNN for including the recording of the call with McCain's team. Really good raw information!

    My persoanl view is that they sound pretty pathetic....but regardless a good listen.

    July 30, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
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