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. are you done yet?

    i dont get it, McCain is a celb too...i mean all of the lobbyist running his campaign are going to be running for his autograph if he is elected.

    July 31, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. A Voter for Intelligence/Honesty in Govt/Obama 08

    Does McCain realize that the Hiltons contributed to HIS campaign??

    How anyone can vote for McCain is beyond me. He is a silly, hateful man who is living in the past.

    July 31, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. Linda in Va

    I've never liked McCain and I'm disgusted with him

    July 31, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. Too Old to Lead

    Sit down Grandpa !

    July 31, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. Texan for Progression

    This article accurately sums up the overall climate of the presidential race. Candidate (A) attempts to define candidate (B) using baseless, irrelevant character attacks. Candidate (B) spends time pointing out why the attacks are baseless and pointless before getting into the fact-based, on-point issues. Candidate (A) gets called to the mat on the comments and then replies with a greater degree of gibberish. Who, in sound mind and good conscious, support such foolishness in a White House bid???

    July 31, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. Kelby from Houston, TX

    I want the John McCain that ran against W Bush.

    July 31, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. Jason

    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?"

    Awesome!!! GOOOOOOOOOO Barack!

    July 31, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. nate

    If I was a candidate and my staff ran an ad like that Id have them fired. McCain is making himself into a joke.

    July 31, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. Stephen

    The Paris-Spears-Obama ad was not nearly as over the top as the one LYING about Obama's reason for canceling his trip to Germany or the one before that LYING about Obama being responsible for gas prices. McCain has run a disgusting campaign.

    July 31, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. DEX

    McCain is dumd

    July 31, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Is McCain serious? Obama isn't prepared because people like him??
    Yeah, having a president that everyone in the world likes... that would be just awful.

    McCain is absolutely ridiculous and he obviously has nothing left besides advice to wear sunscreen.

    July 31, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    If Obama is a "celebrity," then I would guess that makes McBush a NONENTITY.

    McBush has zero appeal.

    July 31, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. DEX

    McCain is dumb

    July 31, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. Mark, NC

    So we want a president the world hates?

    July 31, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  15. KH

    Good counter punch, keep em coming and be aggressive with these distasteful attacks against you.

    July 31, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Ontaya

    Maybe McCain supporters will finally get to see the person they think will be better in the White House. If this is what McCain has to offer how sad.

    July 31, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. Lucas, Nashville TN

    McCain is desperate, irrelevant, out of touch and a total has-been in many ways. He's trying to do anything he can, and I look forward to him going down in flames.

    .... again.

    July 31, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. rs

    obama = the people's champ!

    July 31, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. bill for barack

    I guess the appropriate comparison for McSame would be Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy ( my age is showing ). Dubya is the ventriloquist and Johnny Boy is obviously the dummy – mouthing whatever Karl Rove tells them both to say.

    July 31, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  20. Chad, Wisco

    All Obama did was take a trip to Europe, paid for by the government and not his campaign, to campaing for an American position. Why arent there any articles on that fine waste of taxpayer money.

    July 31, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. Jo Ann

    Go Obama it did not take much thought to come up with that ad- some old republicians slime wil it ever change.

    July 31, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. The Truth

    Boooooo for John McCain!!!

    Obama '08!!

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

    mccain is a joke. mccain is old politic and he wants the play the fear card

    July 31, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. KH

    Just a query – is it necessary CNN for you to point out the specific demographic details as it relates to the person who asked John McCain the question about running a negative campaign?

    July 31, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. Jan From Boca Raton, Fl

    Obama is so cocky he makes me sick. He is never going to win.
    McCain has exactly the right idea.

    July 31, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16