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. Obama 08: mature, white woman

    Britany Spears and Paris Hilton are two of the biggest INTERNATIONAL celebrities?? How totally out of touch McCain and the Republicans are!!!

    Still waiting for an Obama ad on this blog....balance the free advertising you are giving McCain!!

    July 30, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. Catherine

    I'd love to see an election with NO trash-talking ads against the other candidate....but that will never happen.

    Believe me, I'll still vote for Obama, even if McCain's staff thinks he's nothing but a celebrity.

    July 30, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. McShame

    This was the funniest attempt to attack another campaign I have ever seen in my life. First they say he ignores the troops by showing him with the troops and now this. Karl Rove tactics are so 2004. Or, in McCain's case 2000.

    Any way the ad sucks. He answered his own question. You don't organize a campaign like Obama's without knowing how to lead. McCain's the one with Mission Creep.

    July 30, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. Sheri

    Obama supporters it appears when ads come out the truth hurts...... and all you know how to do is whine...........

    July 30, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. not important

    Did Karl Rove do this ad?

    July 30, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. Tempered

    Oh my. This has to be the most pathetic thing the McCain campaign has done yet. Sad. So very sad.

    July 30, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. jizzo

    All that I have heard from Mc Cain the last 2 + weeks is attacks on Obama instead of concentrating on specifics on how he might better things for the country and the people that are struggling and everytime that I turn on Rush Limbaugh's radio show all he does attack Obama as if Rush has the answers to everything why is he not running for president. I dont believe that things can get any worse than the current presidenthas made them, politics aside I believe that Obama is the most sincere about wanting to try to make things better, I hope Obama does get into the white house so Rush Limbaugh can make a trip there and bow down before the Mesiah.

    July 30, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. Ben, Chicago Illinois

    Republicans not only disgust me after the last 8 years, but I seriously hope I run into you little pathetic wimps on the street if you dare wear your McCain 08 buttons. You want a war? I'll give you one, but your not going to be able to hide behind your computer screen and be chicken hawk.

    July 30, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. mollygonz

    McSame can't stand the attention that Obama is getting! Everyone loves Obama. He's so jealous, he's fuming. It's so sad to see him unravel like this. Just keep ignoring him Obama and he'll just keep getting more and more desperate. Maybe all his negativity will finally implode. What a nice thought that is.

    July 30, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. Habesh

    If we have a negative ad (statement ) counter, It would be around 11K just like the dow jones only going inversly proportional.
    McCain should stop being negative and show us how he will be better than Bush. The rest is actually doing the opposite effect.

    July 30, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. Betty

    Keep going McSame you are turing red states into blue!!!!

    July 30, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Steph

    Nova – what are McCain's credentials on economic issues? technology?

    July 30, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. Carl from MI

    I want a celebrity for President!! I want a leader that other nations like and respect. I want a celebrity Leader who will actually be viewed as the Leader of the Free World and inspires dedication, devotion and loyalty from the Free World.

    Having a President who's been a go-it-alone, hard-nosed, says-the-dumbest-things guy who practices cowboy diplomacy has caused our country to be hated and despised throughout the world. The mentality of, 'You're either with us or against us!" is just about the DUMBEST thing a President can do... and our nation is literally paying the price for it with footing the whole Iraq war bill.

    July 30, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Capitol T

    one last thing...to all the Repub's who think that just because Obama is a Dem and will go to war or open the welfare rolls or whatever the nonsense. He is still a Christian man with a conscience, more than i can say for the big oil-lying for war-thief the poor give to themselves-right wingers we've had to suffer under for the last 8 yrs.

    July 30, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. Anna

    McCain is a HATER! He's clearly jealous because the media is disgusted by him.

    Confident black men are often mistaken for arrogant. Who cares? He has the right to be, he’s freaken’ awesome!

    McCain is senile and bitter. I never thought the day would come that a 70-something-year-old rich white man would be jealous of a young black man! Times are changing!!! LOLLLLLLLLL!

    July 30, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Lynn

    Obama doesn't have to put out adds slurring McCain all he has to do is sit back and let his star struck fans do it for him. To bad you can't see your playing right into his hands with your negative comments.

    How does it feel being used lol

    July 30, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. PJ



    July 30, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. Anthony

    McCain's jealous... that's hot.

    July 30, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. jr california

    "White guilt will not force me to vote for Barrack Obama. I have nothing to feel guilty about."

    people say this kind of thing over and over to themselves to convince themselves that they'e not a racist, and they actually expect people to believe they fundamentally agree more with mccain than obama... cool life dorks.

    July 30, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. eric

    Oh, Dee, hon'. McCain's statements about the reasons Obama didn't visit those particular troops has been debunked (along with an email written by a soldier who has since admitted that he had the wrong info in his email. In other words, he lied). The Army Times disavowed McCain's statements along with many soldiers who, unlike McCain or his mudslinging surrogates, were actually there. Please, seek out the truth behind the misinformation that's being tossed out by the McCain camp. Knowledge is power. Use it.

    July 30, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. Mark VA

    Obama represents all those cliches that you hear, such "drive for show putt for dough". He is driving for show; all great speeches and still not much substance.

    July 30, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Kile, KC KS

    Exactly the reason I will vote for Obama and not McCain, he focuses on the reall issues and not the politics surrounding him.

    July 30, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. Jos/TN


    July 30, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. 1SG Retired

    Don't be fooled. This is not an ad trying to say Obama is a celebrity. This ad is straight out of the southern republican play book when you have a black candidate doing well in the polls. Ask Rep Harold Ford! This ad stinks of racism. Although it is subtle, the message is linking a black man to white women. I truly thought McBush was better than that. Shame on the GOP, but we've seen this before!!!

    July 30, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. Laura G

    OK is McBush...oops...MCain 72 or 12???? He is sure acting like an adolescent to me. Get over yourself – we do not need another conservative, war mongering "pug" in the White House...While I was and still am a Hillary Supporter – I now stand by Obama because he certainly is ready to lead – and smart enough to get the right people beside him and behind him to support that leadership.....McCain – well i'd be afraid the stress of minute in the White House would stress the old guy's heart and have him instantly drop – then we're stuck with a McCaineete "Veep"- UGH....

    July 30, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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