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. Carrie Goodeagle Hayden, Idaho

    McCain is just jealous of Obama. Yes Obama gives people hope, McCain gives us the promise of the same old crap, just different pres. Republicans, are done, done, done. GO OBAMA 08, WE LOVE YOU. (and I'm an old woman.)

    July 31, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. Shari, NY

    Sen. Obama: "I do have to ask my opponent: Is that the best you can come up with?"

    Sen. McCain: "Gee, I'm afraid so because my campaign staff is bankrupt of ideas. Psst!!!! can you give me some of yours (ideas) under the quiet tongue"?

    In all fairness and seriousness I have to agree that campaigns are tough and can get downright nasty and petty when people want to win but in the end they will shake hands – trust me.

    July 31, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. WendyOne

    And NOBAMA thinks he's the second coming – Yea right!!

    July 31, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. NovaScotia4Obama

    Not that Canadian political battles are any more righteous, but during our electoral battles, the candidates at least attack one anothers policies and positions, not one anothers race,sex, age or character.Even when clinton and obama were fighting tooth and nail for leadership, as it is now with obama and mccain, it shouldn;t matter at all about a woman, black, or senior leader as president:It should only matter who the right PERSON it is.This "Sitcom" of a political battle is pretty much the same as watching an episode of the odd couple, and lacks any suggestion of direction or substance.It's a shame that a country that is trying to get the world to respect it again is lowering itself yet again and proving how immature and arrogant it still is in so many ways.

    July 31, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. Mike - Texas

    Obama is a "rock star" without substance.

    July 31, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. srs

    And what is a senator who just happened be labeled a "hero"...

    A celebrity with a past.

    Quit whinning and campaign about what the amercan people consider to be real issues...THE ECONOMY, HOUSING, GAS PRICES.

    But there are some who would rather see the country take a complete nose dive THAN move forward.

    Conservative does not mean STUPID, or does it?

    WAKEUP PEOPLE...

    July 31, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. dm

    I think MCain, conservative hosts like O'Reiley and Hannity.. do not like an intelligent black man getting all this attention.. Its something a few whites can't shake off.

    July 31, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. kim hussein smith

    "Mccain narrows obama's lead in key states"....

    uh huuuh, riiight . . . and i have a pink sparkly unicorn in my backyard!

    there is not a chance that obama's INCREDIBLY SUCCESSFUL AND WELL-RECEIVED world tour had zero effect in this country, like the media has tried to tell us.

    or that mccain's pathetic britney spears ad hasnt caused yet another dip in his "popularity".

    and as is completely typical of mccain's joke of a campaign, that ad highlighted yet again mccain's many faults, this time b/c britney spears (whom they tried to compare obama to) is an ignorant, braind-dead bush supporter! clearly his incompetent staff doesnt bother to research ANYTHING-just like their clueless, out of touch boss!

    obama on the other hand has picked a staff of sharp, quick-thinking, and intelligent people.

    gee, who do you think will make better choices on his white house staff?!?!?

    and if you think mccain, i've got a pink sparkly unicorn i'd like to sell you!!!

    July 31, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. Ron in NY

    Celebrity status for a President is not such a bad thing.
    Bill Clinton and his Saxophone packed them in for eight years and still do. Why not compare Barack Obama to Angelia Jolie and Bono of U2! They do good things with their popularity. I see Senator McCain as just jealous. I see that can't you?

    Please America Don't be Goofed a 3rd time!
    We (literally) can't afford it
    Obama in 08!

    July 31, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. SANTE

    ABOUT OBAMA:

    1. Everybody who is NOT a snob senses that something is not exactly O.K. with that so called "New Politician".
    I see him like my doughier: tells me exactly what I would like to hear.

    I think that Guy and his gang had studied the social behaviour in USA long before had started the elections and they simply manipulate us very effectively!
    Simply: DO NOT TRUST HIM!!!!

    2. No offence, but am I correct that OBAMA is very much supported and loved by HOMOSEXUALS?

    / Not because I do not respect them as human beings/

    3. His color is NOT my concern but his attitude : HE IS ARROGANT!
    e.g. Is it appropriate a future President to chew a gum walking as a peacock at front of the cameras?

    4. If he is "sooo gifted" and almost genius, what he had done for 45 years before the beginning of that election?
    Thinking how "HE WILL SAVE THE WORLD????"

    July 31, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. McCain is Losing it

    "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."

    What issues? Are you serious? McLoser, most of your ads are about Obama and negative attacks, 90% of them! So tell me what "issues" are you talking about? It's sad because you are the biggest flip-flopper I've ever seen in any presidential candidate. You offer no solutions and I hope the American people don't fall for your crap.

    July 31, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. Jim

    Ofcourse Mccain is PROUD of the campaign, his wife has a HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS, what does he have to worry about? He's taking all of the serious issues as a big joke and instead is having fun mud slinging and making fun of the next guy...I'll say it once and I'll say it again, republican trash!

    July 31, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. Marie in California

    PUMA is stupid.

    McCain is old.

    Go Obama!!!

    I will be voting for Barack Obama!

    July 31, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  14. Jean

    If Britney and Paris are what McCain thinks of as substance, I'd hate to see what he means by style.

    What does he propose to do about the slumping economy, failed foreign policy and energy crisis? I guess if he doesn't plan on being elected he can just use the platform to whine.

    July 31, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Voter

    I love McCain's commercial! Barack is no delicate flower, boys and girls.
    Obama plays the race card every chance he gets. An no one loves to play the crowd more than he does.

    Sometimes it's subtle, more often, it's not so subtle.

    And he has plenty of surrogates in play at all times. They say something he wants said, then he turns on them for the TV audience.

    Yesterday's version of his was the punk with racist sexist song. "Oh, how awful, how shameful!" But it certainly appeals to black followers, who, as we learned from watching Rev. Wright when he thought no one was looking, are as racist as they come.

    Don't vote for this creep in an expensive, well cut suit.

    July 31, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. A NATION OF WHINERS for OBAMA

    LET US ANSWER THAT QUESTION FOR OUR NEW

    PRESIDENT TO BE.

    YES, ITS ALL HE CAN COME UP WITH.

    OTHERWISE HE WOULD HAVE TO REENUMERATE

    ALL OF THE BUSH POLICIES.

    July 31, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. Jim

    Republicans and their tax cuts for the rich, or for themselve's, Mccain's wife has a 100 mil, ofcourse he's gonna extend the bush tax cuts and make a game out of this campaign while he's laughing it off and going on vacation while families struggle to pay gas and health care bills.

    July 31, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. McCain 08

    I have now become a joke. My campaign is a joke. My arguments have become jokes. Please elect me anyway.

    McCain 08

    July 31, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. It Be Me

    "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."

    that pretty well sums it up, don't cha think??? He's not interested in doing anything constructive.....or helpful....He just wants to destroy Obama no matter what. And he's PROUD of it??? And this is the person some people want as pres?????

    and what issues have they really addressed?? High gas prices??? Healthcare??? High food prices?? Lost jobs??? Anything???

    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    and he tries to tell us Obama is the risky choice?

    God help us all if he gets elected....we're gonna need it.

    July 31, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. Biffington, Biff

    attack attack... then attack!

    Straight talk in action: a Republican strategist tells BusinessWeek that John McCain was planning an attack ad against Barack Obama whether or not the Democrat visited wounded troops in Germany:

    What the McCain campaign doesn't want people to know, according to one GOP strategist I spoke with over the weekend, is that they had an ad script ready to go if Obama had visited the wounded troops saying that Obama was...wait for it...using wounded troops as campaign props. So, no matter which way Obama turned, McCain had an Obama bashing ad ready to launch. I guess that's political hardball. But another word for it is the one word that most politicians are loathe to use about their opponents–a lie.
    Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that McCain's ad accusing Obama of not caring about the troops was not supported by facts.

    July 31, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. anonymous

    That crappin emty suit is no celebrity to me!

    July 31, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Charlotte

    July 31st, 2008 1:37 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Obamas' arrogance will bring him down. Once people really listen to what he has to say, the less they like him. We already know we must tighen our belts. We already know gas mileage is improved with less driving. DUH.. We don't need this arrogant person in the White House, we just had 7 years of that. He plays the race card everyday. Why does he have to mention the fact he looks different from other candidates. If that isn't racist, what is? The only difference is the color of his skin. He is, as Rev. Wright pointed out, a typical politician. I bet he dreams of his face on Mt. Rushmore. Such arrogance I have never witnessed before. I will write Hillary on my ballot in November and that is one less vote for either of them

    July 31, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. Christina

    In his speech, McCain stated he will remove American troops as victors when Iraq becomes a democratic ally. How can one country make another country restructure its government... especially when Iraq's government is influenced by Islamic laws? McCain is ignorant to the complexity and magnitude of his desire, and unfortunately he is leading other people on the same ignorant path.

    July 31, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Former Republican

    Wow
    I can believe this quote: "Let me say there are differences and we are drawing those differences… what we are talking about here is substance and not style." you're talking about substance?
    how? What is the substance you've been talking about the past few weeks? What is your plan for the economy, gas prices, energy? Where is the substance McCain? Please let me know when you start talking about real issues.

    July 31, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. Former republican white man from california for Obama

    Junior high all over again! I think Obama needs to just sit back and let Mc Cains campaign implode into itself like it did in the primaries

    July 31, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16