July 31st, 2008
05:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama criticizes 'Celeb' ad, McCain 'proud' of it

Obama and McCain are sparring over the Paris-Britney ad.
Obama and McCain are sparring over the Paris-Britney ad.

(CNN) - The attacks and counter attacks in the presidential campaign are getting more personal.

Barack Obama today dismissed as "game playing" the McCain campaign's new attack ad comparing Obama's celebrity to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. At a town hall rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Obama taunted McCain, "I do have to ask my opponent: Is that the best you can come up with?"

When the subject came up at a McCain town hall rally in Racine, Wisconsin, McCain told a questioner, "We're proud of that commercial," and added, "campaigns are tough."

WATCH: Viewers react to McCain's "Celeb" ad

But Obama told the Iowa crowd: "Given the seriousness of the issues; given the fact that the decisions we make right now are going to help determine the future not just of the next generation but perhaps generations after that; given the magnitude of our challenges when it comes to energy and health care and jobs and our foreign policy; you'd think we'd been having a serious debate. But so far all we've been hearing about is Paris Hilton and Britney Spears."

For more on the the latest political news, tune into Campbell Brown: Election Center tonight at 8 pm ET.

To the crowd's delight, Obama then asked, "Is that really what this election's about? Is that what is worthy of the American people?" Obama continued, "Even the media has pointed out that Senator John McCain, who started off talking about running an honorable campaign, has fallen back into the predictable political attacks, the demonstrably false statements. Obama told the crowd, "I'm not interested into getting into a tit-for-tat. These negative ads, these negative attacks, spending all this time talking about me instead of talking about what he's going to do, that's not going to lower your gas prices... It's politics as a game. But the time for game-playing is over."

A young African-American woman in the crowd at McCain's town hall meeting in Racine, Wisconsin pointed out that earlier in the campaign, he said he didn't want to engage in mudslinging. Referring specifically to the Britney-Paris-Obama ad, she asked McCain if he had "flip-flopped."

McCain pointed out that he regularly speaks about how he admires Obama's accomplishments. But he added, "Let me say there are differences and we are drawing those differences... what we are talking about here is substance and not style." McCain told the woman, "Campaigns are tough but I'm proud of the campaign we have run, I'm proud of the issues we are trying to address with the American people.... All I can say is that we're proud of that commercial."

soundoff (381 Responses)
  1. LMC

    Funny for Obama to ask for a serious debate. He's run from every one of them that John McCain has proposed and won't do town hall meetings. I think the ad nails it.

    July 31, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  2. Mccain aint ABLE

    7/29 was the 41 anniversary of the tragedy aboard the USS Forrestal. a day where 134 crewmen where killed and another 161 wounded. some reports indicate that John Mccain wet started his Sky Hawk, which led to a series of explosions. the brave men of the USS Forrestal fought for some 20 hrs to contain the blaze. John Mccain was immediately transferred to another ship the USS Oriskany (the only Forrestal crewman to be immediately transferred). A few month later John McCain would get shot down and captured by the Vietcong, he had by his own admission while being a POW gave up Military information to the enemy, garnishing McCain with the nickname…SONGBIRD. in 1973 returning home McCain would soon start having an affair with Cindy Lou, his now second wife. his then current wife Carol, who was a model at one point and the mother of his first children was in a car accident which left her dis figured. Mccain left her to marry Cindy 1 month after the divorce was final…thin ink had not dried. using Cindy's vast fortune McCain got into politics. he had risen from scandals including Keating 5 to reports of an affair with a lobbyist. Now John Mccain wants us to vote for him….i think NOT. i could not in good conscience vote for a man who graduated 894 out of 899, has 59 lobbyist working on his campaign ,1)Wayne Berman- chevron 2)Frank Donatelli-EXXON 3) Eric Burgeson-BP 4)Rabecca Anderson- Sunco 5) CHARLIE BLACK-OCCIDENTAL PETROLIUM 6)Nancy Pfotenhauer-KOCH (who is looking tattered defending McCain) 7) Randy Scheunemann-BP Amco….to name a few. who will do or say ANYTHING to get a vote, offers NO solution only attacks, has that kind of temper, finds the only answer to a problem is WAR. i know you don't have the guts to post this CNN, but the American people need to know the truth about this man.
    the media is still covering the 2000 Mccain, who has been LONG GONE. start doing your job CNN- so America does not make its biggest gaffe in 8 years

    July 31, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. Valerie

    A win for Obama!

    Sorry McCain, but that response sounded like a bunch of BS to me!

    Obama '08

    July 31, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. Lisa

    No, the best he can come up with is that he challenged you to a debate and you were scared.

    July 31, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. Henry n New York

    Republicans this ad may be cute and funny but we have serious issues facing this country and this is how John McCainis spending your donation dollars; making fun of his opponent. How very efficient and productive. Is this an implication of how he intends to cut pork spending in favor of frivolous spending.

    July 31, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Seriously, CNN. Is this news? How much coverage did YOU give to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton? Were you knowling part of Reagan's Project Truth back in the 1980s? Are you continuing the vacuous news and lack of investigative journalism that lead to the war and Iraq and lack of accountability in government?

    Think about it....

    July 31, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. Abby

    Get back to the issues. McCain is going to tray to distinct us because he has nothing to stand on. Please stop the silliness and lets talk about the War , the Economy, Healthcare, eradicating poverty, Education …come on democrats!!! As tempting as it is, don’t fall for the ridicules traps.

    July 31, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. CMSgt Preston

    Typical, old political response. Put a folk in McCain or we're done! The once and hopefully future great U.S. of A!

    July 31, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. C from Texas

    "Given the seriousness of the issues; given the fact that the decisions we make right now are going to help determine the future not just of the next generation but perhaps generations after that; given the magnitude of our challenges when it comes to energy and health care and jobs and our foreign policy; you'd think we'd been having a serious debate."
    ---------------------------------–

    Maybe we would hear a serious debate if Obama wasn't so afraid to debate McCain. Wonder why?

    McCain '08

    July 31, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. dan

    make a real choice vote for neither of these fat cat leaders.

    July 31, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Rob indetroit

    Obama has the juice , and Obama should decide what kind of debate they have, not John MCnuts.

    July 31, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. Mikey

    Anyone else notice that Cindy McCain seems like an old Paris Hilton?

    July 31, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  13. California Gold

    In response to his Britney Spears-Paris Hilton ad McCain says he is proud of how he has run his campaign ads! No it's not negative? He really is stupid and as Ron White says, "You can't fix stupid."

    July 31, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    He probably didn't even see it. I most likely was on after his bedtime. Do you think the Repubs air attack ads during reruns of Matlock, or do they think they have that demographic locked up?

    July 31, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. McCain is 71 years old AND getting older

    Who benefits from McCain's policies?
    Oil companies, corporations, and the wealthy.

    Who benefits from Obama's policies?
    Average Americans who need help right now.

    Vote your self interest.

    Are you an average American, or the president of an oil company?

    July 31, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  16. JimS.

    Won't it be funny if/when Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears chime in on this? I could care less about them usually but I'd love to hear their comments on this.

    And more ironically, doesn't the Hilton family contribute to McCain?
    Now THAT's funny. Biting the hand that feeds you....

    July 31, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. Mike.

    I used to respect John McCain, and considered voting for him, but if he's going to continue to run a Bush/Rove smear campaign, then I cannot respect him and will not vote for him.

    July 31, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. Tim

    McCain's add sucks big time. I think he should ask for his money back and then fire who ever the idiot was who came up with it.

    July 31, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. Lynn

    Obama said it that all you can come up with – Lets start with Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko and the list goes on and on.

    July 31, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. Mel

    AS ONE COMMENTATOR SAID THESE ADS CATER TO THE DUMB CROWD. BECAUSE ONLY THE STUPID WILL EVEN BELIEVE.

    OBAMA.........08

    July 31, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Joe Regis

    Talking about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton make them feel younger and not anachronistic or oudated.

    Landslide Obama 08/12.

    July 31, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. Cry Baby

    When you hit'em where they live, they cry out loud!
    Give'm Hell John!

    July 31, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. fafa

    proud of that comeercial. I guess Cindy McCain looks more like Paris Hilton. Oeps

    July 31, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. Andy J, NY

    Obama is a schmuck.

    The more i see him on tv and hear him talk, the more his arrogance and pompous attitude irk me.

    Keep playing the race card bud, but just so you all know:

    I'm WHITE, and i refuse to apologize for not voting for this SOCIALIST BOLSHEVIK FRAUD. It matters none that he is black. I refuse to be guilt tripped into voting for someone who holds none of the beliefs that i do.

    I really can't stand Obama. This guy is a fraud.

    July 31, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  25. Tammy - KCMO

    The republicans don't know how to do anything other than personal attack ads and apparently now that McCain is the nominee, he no longer has a problem with it.

    McCain has sold out this year to the republicans.

    As for those wanting to know how Obama plans to fix the deficit...there was NO DEFICIT until the republicans took over. Until then there was a surplus. So why would we want a republican in charge anymore? so that they can continue to break the government and run the US and it's citizens into the ground? I'm sure Obama, or for that matter, any NON-republican can do a better job than what has been done the past 8 years.

    For those wanting to know why Congress hasn't gotten anywhere the past few years...how can you when any good bill is vetoed by your president and backed up by his cronies to keep his veto from being overridden?

    July 31, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
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