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."

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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. Barbara

    We are with you Barack, don't worry about the stupid GOP attacks. People can see right through them. We're voting for you and we're supporting you.

    Obama 08

    July 31, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. FRANK

    CLINTON DEMOCRATS FOR MCCAIN!!

    HERE WE GO AGAIN.. JUST LIKE WITH HILLARY, WHEN OBAMA DROPS IN THE POLLS HE WHIPS OUT THE RACE CARD.. HOPEFULLY AMERICANS WILL SEE THROUGH IT.. OBAMA IS A LITTLE SCARED BECAUSE HIS CANDIDATE OF THE WORLD TOUR BACKFIRED AND ACCORDING TO THE USA TODAY GALLOP POLL RELEASED MONDAY MCCAIN LEADS BY 4 POINTS. I THINK AMERICANS HAVE STARTED TO SEE OBAMA'S TRUE SELF, SUCH AS WHEN HE CHOSE NOT TO VISIT OUR AMERICAN HEROS AT A MILITARY HOSPITAL IN GERMANY BECAUSE HE COULD NOT BRING HIS MEDIA CURCUS IN WITH HIM, I GUESS OUR SOLDIERS DON'T MEAN MUCH TO HIM IF HE CANT GET A PHOTO OP OUT OF THEM.. AMERICA NEEDS A PRESIDENT WHO PUTS AMERICA AND AMERICANS FIRST AND JOHN MCCAIN IS CLEARLY THAT PRESIDENT!!

    CLINTON DEMOCRATS FOR MCCAIN!!

    GOOD OF COUNTRY OVER GOOD OF PARTY, DEMOCRATS WOULD NOT BE IN THIS PREDICAMENT IF THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE WAS REFLECTED IN OUR NOMINEE, HILLARY DID HAVE MORE VOTES!!

    July 31, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Chris K

    John McCain is looking increasingly desperate, just like Hillary looked before she lost the nomination.

    July 31, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. kayla

    MCSAME HAS NOTHING TO OFFER, THATS' WHY HE IS ATTACKING SEN. OBAMA. TO GET THE ATTENTION OFF HIS OLD FEEBLE MIND. NOBODY WANTS TO SEE YOUR OLD FACE.

    July 31, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Moe

    McCain is a joke. I can't believe he's proud of that AD. How does that AD discuss the issues?

    July 31, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. Fredric, Las Vegas

    Barack, Get in the gutter with John Mcain and whip him please . the Bush/Macain attack machine has worked very well in the past and I am afraid it is working again. Please don't let us down.We need to attack back and hard.

    July 31, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. Hello, Hello

    Dear McCain:

    Hello Goliath, meet David.

    Barack Obama will be our next president.

    O/08

    July 31, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. BlameBarack

    This thing is getting really heated. McCain will end up getting burned.

    July 31, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. DvlsAdvocat

    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."

    BOOM! Headshot McCain!! This is why Obama is head and shoulders the best candidate either party has produced since Bill Clinton.

    July 31, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. Ez

    Go Obama McCain is loosing his bearing.

    July 31, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  11. Ian

    It's funny how McCain cries about the media giving all the attention to Obama, when McCain's ad's are also all about Obama. I've never heard an actual plan of McCain's.

    July 31, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. Cathy, OH

    Let McCain talk about Britney Spears, while Barack will talk about issues that matter such as healthcare, jobs, housing, and gas prices.

    Obama 08

    July 31, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. Damian

    McCain is so lame, a complete sell out! Amazing that 7 years ago he had such integrity. Where is it now...? What a shame.
    How on earth is calling your opponent Hilton or Spears, sticking to the issues? Does this guy understand the basic premise of the English language anymore?
    It's just sad, really very sad.

    July 31, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  14. Troy, Iowa

    Absolutely!

    Rather than the petty ads relating to Britney and Paris Hilton.

    We want to know more about how you will curb the OVER $10 Billion every month in Iraq.

    American Foreign Policy which has already cost over 1million Iraqi lives and over 3000 American soliders....Their families will not hold America in high regard for a while.

    Sustainable Energy plan that will make our environment much cleaner and safer.

    Continued high prices of Gas, Health Care and Rice at Costco.

    America that will lead the World Again....

    Senator McPain, pls let's your straight talk express get back on the track of real issues!

    July 31, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. RNC

    Mc same just said he is proud of his stupidity, lol.

    July 31, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. s

    Once again the Repubs choose sleaze over substance. Typical.

    July 31, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. Kip4real

    It is apparent that Sen. McCain is desperate. It obvious that he doesn't differentiate being "likeable" from a celebrity. From the political standpoint. Sen. Obama gets a standing Ovation because he has Ideas to better the country, the Vision for the country and Charisma deserving of a United States President. That just kills McCain/BUSH. Like he said "and it's not just in the US" that Obama get's attention. That makes Sen. McCain wish, from his heart " Obama's success not continue" although he said it as a joke. Good luck McCain. STAY ON Track as always Sen Obama!!

    July 31, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. Sylvia

    Ronald Reagon was an actor before he became President and Arnold Swargsnegger was an actor before be became Governor. What is the big deal with McWhine accusing Obama of being a celebrity. So what. I will admit Obama is handsome, sexy, and charming. Too bad McWhine is jealous.

    July 31, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. Typical White Person

    Okay, so now the campaign is about substance. Does that mean he will debate McCain at last?

    July 31, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. noMcBush, cambridge, MA

    McCain should surely be proud of the way the Republicans have ruined our country for the benefit of a few on the top. Very proud indeed!

    July 31, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  21. Jennifer - American in Canada

    "A vote for McCain is not only a vote for a third term of the current administration but also a vote for McCains VP choice as President within his first term if he is elected". Should Obama put an "Age" Ad out there? McCain would be screaming about that for sure.....What about an Ad questioning his physicial ability to Lead.

    McCain would like to take "Age" off the table but has spent the last week or so trying to diminish Obamas popularity with some ridiculous "Celeb" Ad as well as other immature whining Ads.

    This is pathetic! Let's get to the real issues McCain.

    July 31, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. independent now

    Maybe had Obama not done a European back pack trip around the world tour, we wouldnt be discussing this.His trip was suppose to access the troops on the ground in Irag. To meet with Gernerals to find out first hand what was going on. Instead he went to Irag with a preconceived outcome , stated it.Then went on to tour Europe as a Senator Junior I might ad, someone who not only has no voting record, but the time in the Senate has been used campaining for President. This did not look good to me. No experience at all, just wants to be President, not put the time or effort in.Hey the 757 went over big too in the States. I care how my bills are going to be paid, will I have healthcare next week. Will I too become homeless, cause everything around us is escalating in price. But not our paychecks. We need releif. Not a tour of Europe obama.

    July 31, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. TXdem

    Wow. It's really getting ugly.

    This is the same old Republican smear tactics that have been perfected during the Bush campaign. Sadly, the media echo chamber pick's up the GOP spin and repeats them over and over. Initial source of the story is normally lost (along with any context) and eventually bloggers and TV anchors end up referencing each other as the "source" of the story.

    With regards to an earlier McCain smear story, Andrea Mitchell (NBC) correctly reported that the Pentagon refused Obama's request to visit the troops in Germany and that he visited our troops in Iraq, but nobody else seems to care.

    July 31, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  24. Alice in Florida

    I'd be insulted to be compared to Barack if I were Britney or Paris. Even those two ditzes wouldn't hire out a football field to celebrate their celebrity. I've never seen anyone more in love with himself than Obama is.

    July 31, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. Livonia, MI

    McCain has once again put his foot in his mouth and is a greater fool because of it. McCain's ad was childish, and really represents the mentality of him and his campaign team. Obama will triumph.

    July 31, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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