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. PanamaSooner

    Fine. I'd rather have the world shouting "Obama" than "Moron" like they do now. McCain would have a tough time rounding up fifty people to listen to him at a nursing home...

    I haven't seen the ad but is there something wrong with being popular?

    July 30, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. Informed Voter

    What are Mc Cain's Solutions?????

    i haven't heard one of his solutions ... all he does is attack .. who are the people supporting Mc Cain??

    July 30, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. mb--texas

    Floating this out to see if anyone watches this ad.Sounds as if more of throw it out there and see if the news pundits pick upon the subject.
    McCain needs to get real and stop criping,complaining quit attacking
    Obama on such things that people may not know anything about the
    contents because so many things are being used of course confusion
    causes doubt and this is what McCain and gang hope happens.But
    so much attacking of Obama ,as smart as the American voters are
    they will look at Obama and think if McCain attacks Obama so
    frequently Obama must be right..

    July 30, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Frank O.

    Of course BHO is a celebrity.
    The biggest celebrity that came out of nowhere and conquired the minds of people all over. A celebrity that McShame can never be even after being a POW, 30+ years in the Senate and a rich beautiful trophy wife next to him.
    Go BHO!
    I want my President to be the biggest celebrity of all.

    July 30, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. Josh

    Typical Republican dirty tactics, it seems that Republicans have nothing better to do than attack Obama. McCain wants to continue the same nonsense that Bush and Cheney are doing right now. Where was McCain when Congress was pushing for the new GI Bill to help our troops to pay for college, and this is the same John McCain that said economic problems in Ohio are in our head. The Republicans have no real desire to talk about issues that matter to the average American and it's sad that McCain would allow these type of dirty tricks and smear tactics to even bear his name. Shame on the Republicans and Shame on John McCain.

    July 30, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. No McCain!

    That's pathetic, McBush.

    So, if you're popular around the world, would you be considered a celebrity?

    He's ready to lead, you're not, McPathetic.

    Obama '08

    July 30, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Donna in ID

    It seems like McCain has Obama pegged. Everyone keeps saying the GOP is in the pockets of the oil people but I believe both sides are. Between the oil people and the radical ecology people that would sell out our country.
    Obama and Pelosi and the rest of the naysayers do NOT have a clue about national security. This is showing their real stupidity and lack of caring about the American people and economy. They want to do everything 40 to 50 yrs down the road. Something needs done NOW. .
    Anyone who thinks if Obama gets elected all our troubles are over must be on something that has their brain in free wheeling. Get your brains in gear people and see what is important to the security of keeping our America and not giving it away or selling us out.
    I have been Independent for yrs and try to vote for who I think is the best for America and The American people. Now I don't care for either candidate but am getting to like McCain more every day. He has a brain and can use it and he CARES about this country and the people. Not just an ego tripster doing power plays with the American people and our welfare.
    No OBAMA marked on my ticket. Anyone but him. I had 3 hopes when this started out now I am down to nail biteing and fear of Obama.

    July 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Well let's look at all things Obama has led in his life to date. Ummm, I'm thinking. Oh that's right, NOTHING!

    OK, let's hear it Obamites. He's running a brilliant campaign, therefore he can run the country. If I can fly a piper cub, can I fly the space shuttle? The guy who sells you a new car doesn't necesarily know how to build it. Obama is a great car salesman. That's about it.

    July 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Jared

    Isn't that cute! McCain must be getting pointers from the Bush robots. Can anyone tell me what McCain has planned to get us out of this recession? How about unemployment in AMERICA? Bueller?........Bueller?........... Bueller?........ Is anyone home on the McCain campaign? This is standard practice for Republicans. I think McCain stole the smirk off Bush's face. Oh come on, you know the smirk I'm referring to....
    Props to the edumacated people of this country who appreciate independent thinking.

    July 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. Mickey, NY

    This is no way to talk about the next president of the United States...get over it...the republican party is dead. How do I know this? Just look at the corpse they've trotted out as their candidate.

    July 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. White/female/age 55/Texan

    McCain (McRove/Bush) has nothing but baseless attacks. More third grade silliness, except for the fact that attack ads work on the weak minded. McCain's campaign is tacky and mean. Where is the high road he promised? – Talk about someone who will do any underhanded thing to get elected. I would expect this from PACS, but apparently he (McCain) approves these ads.

    Please God save us from the people who listen to right wing conservative radio/TV commentators.

    July 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Lamuella

    I don't know about anyone else, but I'd quite like to hear John McCain talk about John McCain. If he thinks he can run the country better than Obama, let's hear how instead of just "Obama is popular but I think he sucks"

    July 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. chris

    CNN Election headlines July 30th, a sample of media bias. Here are the current election headlines for both candidates:

    Obama – Republicans seize on Obama comments to House Democrats (aka,they're attacking our boy!)
    Obama- AFL-CIO launches campaign to dispel Obama rumors (aka, they're attacking our boy!)
    Obama- Obama huddles with VP vetters, again (aka, look, he's so presidential!)
    Obama- Cafferty: Why isnt Obama doing better in the polls? (aka, racism is showing in the polls!)
    Obama- A day of high-profile meetings for Obama (aka, look, he's so presidential!)
    Obama- Kaine stays mum on Veep buzz (aka, look???just look!)
    Obama- RNC launches Facebook parody Web site targeting Obama (aka, they're attacking our boy!)
    Obama- Obama heads to VP vetters office building (aka, look, he's walking, how cute!)

    Mccain- McCain's biopsy negative (aka, darn! its not cancer!)
    Mccain- McCain says he could support 16-month Iraq timetable (aka, well???not really but its a good spin!)

    Oh, and they say they're not bias! please tell me it isn't so. Perhaps my mind is deceiving me??????.NOT!

    July 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. Mike in MN

    Tell it like it is McCain.

    Obama is a rock star to the Democrates and the media. To the independents and us Republicans though, he is just another tax and spend and blame the Republicans for everything Democrat.

    He's wrong on offshore drilling, the surge, and taxes. He says we need to help Americans with the high cost of gas and then says that it won't help to suspend the Federal gas tax wich would lower the price of gas. He says we need to advance technolgy for electric automobles, but say McCains idea to offer a reward for an electric battery that is a significant improvement over current technolgy a bad idea.

    We don't need a rock star for President, we need a President with rock solid soulutions for this country.

    McCain in 08!!!!!!!

    July 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. Kathy in Michigan

    This is absolutely laughable!!!!

    How much money is Mr. Wilson spending on this??? WOW!!! Is he green with envy!!! So, tell me is the point of the ad that we should vote for someone who can't fill a room and who puts you to sleep??? Mr. Wilson is a change of pace from G.W. - G.W. keeps you awake because you have to decifer his horrible english and catch gaffe after gaffe so you can see how they are used on late-night comedy.

    Well, I take this ad as confirmation of BIG WORRIES!!!

    July 30, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |


    July 30, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    Whay hasn't CNN reported on the recent independent study showing that Barack is receiving 2x's the amount of negative coverage that McCain is?!?! You were very quick to report on the study showing Barack recieving more coverage than MCCain but you have been very quiet on the substance of the other study showing a great deal of this coverage to be negative towards Barack.

    Teflon John and his media cronies are at work again!!!

    July 30, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. Dare Nigeria

    Mccain Campaign is reactionary.

    They have stopped discussing the Economy. Their current stock in trade is to wait in the wing and pray that Barack Obama acts. In Obama's inactivity, Mccain is docile.

    My take on the way Mccain's Campaign twists Obama's word to sooth its purpose is a Campaign that has nothing to offer but wants to be relevant by calling attention to the words of its Opponent.

    They must think that Americans are fools. If for no other thing, the last seven years have taught Americans not to take the ranting of a Politician at its face value.

    Mccain and his Campaign are trying to play on Americans intelligence. But we wont let them. Never again!

    July 30, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |

    McCain just sounds desperate at this point.

    July 30, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  20. joanie

    We now Senator Obama has charisma and can fill a room-what we want to know is, is he truely COMPETENT of doing the important job of being president (does he KNOW what he's doing or will he just dazzle us with speeches while making bad, amatuer mistakes) , and is he CONSISTANT? ...with recent flips on FISA and troop withdrawal consistency is in question...and we are asking ourselves...who is the REAL Obama and what will he REALLY do when elected ? Is the real man Reverend Wrights friend, or the calm, eloquent man he seems on TV? Joanie Amherst MA

    July 30, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. McCan't

    republicans are scum

    July 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. Newsdiva

    So sad all the "haters" out there, but understandable given their candidate, "McCrypt-Keeper!"

    So people question why Obama hasn't opened up a huge lead over McIdiot. Try this for a moment folks. I believe the old confused dude, McGeezer, as been on the political stage for what...at leaset30 YEARS??? The REAL QUESTION is why is this clown NOT STOMPING Obama??? Hum??? Answer: Because those "polls" are about as fake as McIdiot's political promises. Who exactly are they polling?

    Get real folks, when the smoke clears on the first Tuesday in November, Barak Obama will have WON by a LANDSLIDE. Period, end of story. And I can't wait to hear all the WHINERS, especially the GOP greedy gang and the PUMA pukes. It's going to be music to my ears.

    LANDSLIDE FOR OBAMA IN NOVEMBER. You heard it here first.

    Now run tell that.

    Obama 08 & 12

    July 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. RFO

    Whine, whine, whine.

    The John McCain of 2000 would be a Barack Obama supporter of 2008.

    Leadership is the process of influencing others in such as manner as to accomplish the mission. Never confuse celebrity with leadership.

    Barack is a leader, John (POW) McCain is a B-list celebrity.

    The GOP needs to debate the issues and get off the bull crap!

    July 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  24. Mike

    It is funny when anyone points out Obama's issues the Obama people say they are just being negative. This is the presidency not American Idol. Maybe it is just being real and not buying into the "hope" hype.

    July 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  25. Jon

    Obama is not ready to lead. He can't even take a stand on any issue. He has changed every position he had in the primaries. He will filp flop and say whatever he thinks will get him elected. He has the nerve to go to Europe and pretend to be President already. I am an independent voter and I personally found that part of his tour offensive. He is not our President and for him to go and pull a stunt like that proved to this independent voter that he is not ready to lead. He says he will not listen to our commanders on the ground if what they say contradicts with his vision (sounds more like Bush). He refuses to debate McCain. Any person wo ducts debates is not ready to lead. Thankfully he has to do the three manditory debates, this way we will all see how not ready to lead he is. I would rather vote for Jimmy Carter (who I think was one of the worst Presidents in modern history) than Obama. Obama lovers are in for a big heart break in November when the 20% of truly undecided independent voters go to McCain (not because they like McCain) because they do not think that Obama can lead this great country.

    July 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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