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. Annette

    The McCain ad was dumb!

    July 31, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. CaNNot Believe it!

    McCain is setting himself for a REAL bad time at the debates.

    July 31, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. James Hussein, SC

    What is Obama talking about. Doesn't he know that ALL the people want to hear is the lastest gossip?

    That's why John McCain talks about him soooo much!

    July 31, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. Chris

    McCain is too OLD and it's showing in his campaign!!! You would think some one with all his experience would know better!!!

    I mean what's that saying or is it a riddle about a man being a child twice? Well in any case I think we are seeing John McCain second act as a child!!!

    July 31, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. Mike in Houston

    Yep that's all they have Obama. I would repect McCain more if he actually spoke about what he want's to do versus attacking Obama. McCain, call John Kerry and asked him why he lost to arguably the worst President in the history of the United States. He lost because he spent too much time on what Bush was doing wrong and not enough time fon how he was going to fix it. Kerry made me a Libertarian, at least for the year of 2004. So Obama my presi-uh umean soon to be President, get use to this, they can't beat you straight up, they saw what you did the the Clintons, they know they don't have a chance. Stay the course (OMG I recited Bush and it actually makes sense...in this case). There are more of us who love Obama, than more of you who hate his skin.

    Say hello to the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama

    July 31, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. kwesi

    Is it not funny and juvenile that all RepublicanTs have to attack Obama with, is NOT what their MacCain can and will do for the country, but rather what Obama may or might not do? Grow a pair repubs…attacks are fair game in politics…but one must at least attack with their positions on issues (at the minimum). I wonder how many of these repubs know exactly where their candidate stand on the issues…I bet they will be able to tell me in a heart beat, Obama's "religion" though— SAD!

    July 31, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. The Other Jon

    McCain is jealous of Obama's notoreity.

    Think about it. Obama is not an elitist: he decided to work in inner city Chicago when he could have had a job at any top firm in the country.

    Contrast with John McCain, who has been cozying up to the country's elites for the last 30 years in the Senate, and married into the wealth of Miss Budweiser. Just look at the campaign: McCain is catering to the big oil lobby while Obama is relying on support from millions of small donors.

    No, the only celeb-elite in this election is McCain.

    July 31, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Vote for McCain

    July 31, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. Sudi

    All the McCain camps is doing here, is to work Obama's mental and try to drag him down in the dirty politics as usual just like Hillary attempted in the primaries.
    If an entire add has no substence about what you plan to do for this country but attack another candidates likeability (as if that was a bad thing) is being policy bankcrupt.

    Secondly the insinuation and likening of Obama to celebrities such as Britney and the like is a clear insult. McCain might have as well just call Obama irresponsible, party going guy, driving car with child on his lap and not wearing an underware (this is what we remenber of Britney in recent years) or call him a drug addict, spoil child.

    McCain deserve not the presidency. And being a prisoner of war people does not qualify you being the right person to be the commander in chief. Soon some private army guy would come up and say I was in the army and i am more qualified. Give me a break.

    Qualification to presidency per our fore furthers was based on :

    - Judgment and leadership.

    July 31, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. Helene

    As Jon Steward said last night on this show : at least old McCain had the right decade. He could have been referring to Lilian Gish and Clara Bow...

    Anyway all poor old McCain can do in his disastrous campaign is to go negative in the worst possible way. It will backfire on him.

    July 31, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. Michael Dunn

    I cannot understand anyone willing to vote for McCain, we need to remember that this is the same person that stated he wanted a "clean and respectful" campaign! And in that light he releases this ridiculous Hilton/Spears add, the "Dr. No" add...I guess that "clean and respectful" was how he wanted to be treated, not how he was actually planning to run his campaign. I didn't think it was possible, but it's getting to the point where I dislike McCain almost as much as i do Bush.

    July 31, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. Lesley

    I haven't heard McCain speak regularly about Obama's accomplishments, he speaks regularly about what Obama is doing wrong according to his view. But the way that he draws differences, as he calls it, is to run negative smear ads. How can a serious candidate be proud of that far-out commercial? It shows you that his priorities are not dedicated to solving the problems of the American people but rather in becoming the editor of the Enquirer. His idol Ronald Reagan was actually a movie star. What would he have said about Reagan if he were running today?

    July 31, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. mollygonz

    McSame..pleeeeaaaaseeee give me a break!!!! You are so focused on Obama it's sickening. Tough campaign? You mean slimy campaign that I can't believe you are proud of. Proud?? Proud??? Please tell me I'm not hearing that...

    July 31, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    "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."
    -------------------------------
    And there you have John McCain, United States senator.

    Also, why did CNN point out that the person who questioned McCain's tactics was African American and a woman?

    July 31, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Steve/Houston,TX for Obama

    This is so very true. All we have heard from McCain is how he thinks Obama does not get the Iraq war. McCain has nothing else to talk about. McCain stands for idiot politics.

    July 31, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. George

    *** NOBAMA is a NOVELTY being used by the LEFT. How SAD.***

    July 31, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. a guy in VA

    "McCain pointed out that he regularly speaks about how he admires Obama's accomplishments. "

    So he DOES have accomplishments?

    July 31, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. John B. From New Hampshire

    "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."

    Well said... not much to rebuke when mccain calls it a good ad!!
    are they truly spending money in this way when our problems far exceed any character jabs they try to push over obama. it's not getting better, but in fact worse. funny how obama really could smear down mccain IF HE WANTED TO. or why not point out his gaffes, flip-flops and let's face it: flat out lies!!!! yet he doesn't... and why? because like with Clinton, he chooses the high road, which is what has gotten him here. He cares about us, and this country, and bringing us back treu-da-form!!!

    OBAMA '08

    July 31, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. Open Your 3rd Eye

    Yea, that so called "attack ad" is more like a GIRLIE-AD! I noticed a trend here: Just like when Hillary started losing bad that's when she decided to go SUPER negative. I see the republicans following the same tactics because McCain is out there looking like a chicken with his head cut off.

    July 31, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. black in florida

    McCain is nothing more than an idiot

    July 31, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. Christy

    I LOVE the commercial...!!

    July 31, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. Charlotte

    Brittney Spears and Paris Hilton have more substance then Obama.

    July 31, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  23. Sn in MN

    If plastic Jesus was a seious candidate, there would be a serious debate. He's run his whole campaign as image over substance; totally legit to call him out on it.

    July 31, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. Rise America Rise

    Obviously John McCain is verrrry jealous of Obama's popularity. As a republican I guess he finds it repulsive that people would look up to a president, because he certainly wouldn't have anyone looking up to him if he were elected.

    July 31, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    So stupid.................

    July 31, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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