ROLLA, Missouri (CNN) - In the wake of John McCain’s new ad that paints Barack Obama as a global celebrity on par with Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, Obama told supporters at a rally Wednesday, “don’t let the other side scare you,” and said McCain is attacking him because Republicans know they don’t have the answers.
“He’s spending an awful lot of time talking about me. You notice that?” Obama asked a crowd of just over one thousand seated in a university gym. “I haven’t seen an ad yet where he talks about what he’s going to do. And the reason is because those folks know they don’t have any good answers, they know they’ve had their turn over the last eight years and made a mess of things."
“They know that you’re not real happy with them and so the only way they figure they’re going to win this election is if they make you scared of me,” Obama continued, repeating an attack from earlier in the day. “What they’re saying is ‘Well, we know we’re not very good but you can’t risk electing Obama. You know, he’s new, he doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency, he’s a got a funny name.’”
Obama was more serious with a pool reporter at a diner stop on the way to Rolla when asked about McCain’s new ad, saying, “You need to ask John McCain what he’s for and not just what he’s against."
McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds responded in an e-mail to reporters entitled “Baseless.”
“This is a typically superfluous response from Barack Obama. Like most celebrities, he reacts to fair criticism with a mix of fussiness and hysteria,” wrote Bounds. “Barack Obama’s plans to raise taxes on energy and opposition to offshore drilling show that he fundamentally lacks judgment and experience, and is not ready to lead.”
After a question-and-answer session with voters at the town hall that included questions about Darfur and Cuba, the Illinois senator concluded by reminding his supporters to ignore McCain’s attacks.
“Don’t let the other side scare you away from what you know in your gut,” Obama said, “You know we have to bring about change. And this is our best chance to fundamentally change America so that Washington is working for you.”