September 19th, 2008
10:39 AM ET
10 years ago

Economy takes center stage in bruising ads

New campaign ads are out on the economy.

New campaign ads are out on the economy.

(CNN) - As the nation’s financial crisis continues to top headlines and dominate campaign trail discussion, John McCain and Barack Obama released a flurry of television ads within a few hours that play off a rising sense of economic anxiety.

The McCain campaign released an ad linking Obama to former Fannie Mae head Franklin Raines. "Who advises him?" the female announcer says. "The Post says it's Franklin Raines, for 'advice on mortgage and housing policy.'"

The Washington Post quote cited in the McCain campaign's release says that Raines has "taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters."

The Obama campaign sent out a statement from Franklin Raines denying the claims in the McCain ad. "I am not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters." Obama spokesman Bill Burton called the charge “another flat-out lie.”

The Obama campaign responded with a spot taking aim at McCain’s economic advisors. "Carly Fiorina, the fired CEO who got a $42 million golden parachute," the announcer says. "Phil Gramm, the ex-Senator who pushed through deregulation, and called Americans hurt by this economy 'whiners’… Then there's George Bush, whose disastrous policies McCain wants to continue."

Carly Fiorina is McCain’s Victory chair. Former Senator Phil Gramm officially left the campaign after his headline-grabbing comments earlier this year.

Early Friday, McCain’s team returned fire with a commercial about Obama’s relationship with former Fannie Mae chair Jim Johnson, who resigned earlier this year as head of the Democrat’s vice presidential vetting team after allegations he had received preferential terms on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial.

“What Obama says... is not what he does,” begins the announcer, as a clip plays of Obama denouncing windfall profits for executives of financially troubled institutions. “Meet Jim Johnson, former Fannie Mae CEO. Fannie cooked the books and Johnson made millions. Then Obama asked him to pick his VP. And raise thousands for his campaign. Barack Obama. More empty words.”

But the air wars aren’t limited to economic advisors: another McCain spot that picks up on the Republican nominee’s criticism this week of a "big spending, greedy, do nothing, me first, country second crowd in Washington."

“When our economy's in crisis, a big government casts a big shadow on us all. Obama and his liberal Congressional allies want a massive government, billions in spending increases, wasteful pork,” says the narrator. “And, we would pay - painful income taxes, skyrocketing taxes on life savings, electricity and home heating oil. Can your family afford that?”

Independent fact checkers have determined that the vast majority of taxpayers – all except the wealthiest Americans - would get a larger break under Obama's plan than McCain's. The Republican nominee says that his is focused on easing the tax burden on small businesses to promote economic growth.

Obama aides argue that the cost estimates assumed by the McCain team make no allowance for savings most Americans would see as a result of reduced health care and energy expenses, and jobs created by investments in new environmentally-friendly industries.

Earlier this week, Obama released a spot about the closing of a Pennsylvania factory, the latest in a series of ads blaming John McCain for the loss of Rust Belt jobs by pointing to the disappearing manufacturing base in that state, in Ohio, and in Michigan. McCain’s campaign has responded with two positive spots – on aimed at Ohio, the other at Michigan - that tout GOP job creation proposals.

“Michigan families depend on the auto industry. John McCain and his Congressional allies know it,” says the announcer. “Loans to upgrade assembly lines. Tax credits to boost sales of clean vehicles. Offshore drilling to reduce the cost of gas and spur truck sales. And financial reforms to protect your retirement. Change is coming.”

Independent fact checkers have said that offshore drilling will have no short-term, and little long-term, impact on gas prices, but McCain says it would be useful as a symbolic gesture to signal U.S. resolve not to be dependent on foreign oil.

The campaigns have said that most of these 30-second ads will be televised nationally, or on national cable, but have not released the extent of the buys. Both candidates have already released half a dozen economy-themed spots this week, following the collapse of Lehman brothers, the buyout of Merrill Lynch and the government bailout of insurance giant AIG.

soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. This soccer mom can whip your hockey mom any day!!!

    This has already been proven to be a big fat lie!!!!! Why is CNN bringing this up as truth. What next, McCain ad linking Obama to the boogie man and Freddie Kruger??!! Republicans are coming off a little desparate these days!!!!

    September 19, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. Oregon calling

    Is it Nov 5th yet? Please wake up America
    Obama / Biden 08

    September 19, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. McNothing

    Don't vote black vs. white.
    Vote green – your money.
    If you want any left vote Obama

    September 19, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. tony

    Can I please run for President-
    All these negative attacks on both sides are only portions of the truth-
    THere is more to every story–
    We only hear each sides best parts-( SPIN )

    What it comes down too is -Who do you trust and right now ? thats split down the middle-

    I understand all the frustration on both sides-
    I just hope that whoever wins we have to back them and give them the opportunity to produce for us–
    Then if they don't be smart enough not to re-elect them–
    I'm for Campaign Finance REform–because the ones with the most money seem to put out the most negative ads and that causes them to win for all the wrong reasons-
    Am i Wrong ??

    September 19, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. Truth

    Where are you getting this ridiculous claim from?
    Hannity? O'reilly?
    Thats what I listen in Fox news, whenever I turn on that channel.

    September 19, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. Jim in Orlando

    Obama's buddies are up to their necks in money from Mae and Mac. Pot – kettle – black .... real black. Obama's entire poltical career is joined with corruption. He's a disgrace, just like the Press that won't report it.

    September 19, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. Reagan


    A man who is NOT afraid to tell it like it is!





    September 19, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Nick - Arlington, VA

    KUKU September 19th, 2008 11:27 am ET

    T H E——F O R ME R—–F N M A —–E X E C ——A ——B I G——–

    C O N T R I B U T O R——O F——–O B A M A S'——–W A L K E D—

    A W A Y——-W I TH——$ 2 2——-M I L L I O N—–S E V E R A N CE—

    T H A T ' S——–W H A T——M C C A I N——–S A Y S ——-I S——-

    C R I M I N A L—— AN D—-S H O U L D——B E———-

    P R O S E C U T E D——–F N M A———C R O O K S
    Actually...the guy was turned away from the campaign and they did not want his advisement...secondly McCain's top mouth, until monday, was Carly Fiorina who walked away with 42 million after destroying HP....

    Do your homework.

    September 19, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. Nathan

    More lies from McCain! Has anyone hear about the Straighttalk Express lately? No! Becuase even McCain knows he's only a liar!

    September 19, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. CarlosN

    If I were McCain I would fire Mr. Smith.... the Lie-till-you-die ads are not working .... the dishonesty stinks so much even Rove, amd WSJ are calling them unpatriotic... go figure !!

    September 19, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. Seattle Voter

    The public needs to know if McCain has demensia. He is losing his credibility and just want to say what suits him on a day to day basis. I use to respect him but totally lost my respect. He wants to blame all the democrats but not himself whose been in the senate for more than two decades!

    September 19, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Dave

    hey Tom- guess that makes Obama a "Post Turtle", too.

    September 19, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. John = Dishonor

    John McCain had a tough time as a POW. Barack Obama has an interesting story as well. He chose to live on 12K a year to work as a community organizer. That's the difference, John was forced to live one way, and Obama chose to live one way. I think this election should be about personalities and issues. As far as the personalities are concerned, I think Barack win hands down.

    Barack has character and integrity and, he didn't leave his wife and three kids to have an affair. John can't hold a candle to Barack as far as honor. How honorable is it for you to leave your kids, while you go away with your mistress?

    September 19, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. Are you kidding

    Has anyone looked at how Obama became a State Senator? Through a Technicality.

    Has anyone looke at how Obama became a U.S. Senator? Because no one else ran against him of note. The opponent was someone who just moved to Illinois 3 months before the general election. It was also the most expensive Senate race in history.

    If we are looking at qualifications, I would rather take the bet on someone who has been in political office and proven his worth to be president than someone who got where he's at through technicalities.

    September 19, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. danel

    It's getting tiresome listening to mcCain puting, ads after ads, attacking Obama of everything under the sum. I wouldn't mind as long as there's merits to his accusations. Thank God for Fact Check that CNN is providing otherwise people will believe theses crap. We need specific issues that are important to the common people who will be voting, not lies.

    September 19, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Michael, Farmington, NH

    We don't need symbolic gestures and gimmicks McCain. We need real plans, not political posturing meant to garner votes.

    September 19, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. the other jd

    I really think McCain is coming unglued. Too bad for him, Palin is not capable of stepping up to the plate.

    September 19, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. Andrea

    what else is new? all these people seem to do is lie, lie, lie!!!

    September 19, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. Support the fight to free America


    FORMER FNMA EXEC....contribute to Obama

    Present lobbyist of Georgia is McCain Adviser proposed the invation of S. Ossetia( WAR SOMEWHERE WILL MAKE MCCAIN LOOK GOOD)

    September 19, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  20. NoBama in NC

    Obama has no executive experience
    Biden has no executive experience
    Hillary has no executive experience
    Guiliani was right, the Democratic ticket is weak!

    McCain/Palin in 08!

    September 19, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. Brian Thompson

    This is in response to the blogger who said Democrtatic mayors are the reason for all the problems in cities?

    I live in Jacksonville FL and Republicans have been in control for over 20 years, we have some of the worst schools, most families with young children move to outlying counties in order to avoid Jacksonville schools.

    As for crime, Jacksonville has one of the highest murder rates in the country.

    Our current mayor's administration if filled with special appointees with high salaries that do very little, their appointments are called political favors.

    So if you are going to make a generalization, please do the research and get your facts straight, don't just spew false accusations.

    As for real world problems, that is in fact a very good point. No one is saying that crime, decaying schools and infrastructure are good, but they are a reality in a lot of both big and small cities and towns. Having someone with experience with those realities is necessary. Not having any clue is dangerous.

    September 19, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Hmm, trying to link Obama to Raines even though no connection exists in reality and then putting their pictures side by side to show the only thing they have in common is their skin color? I might think this had some racial overtones but because I think Sarah Palin is too inexperienced to be VP, I'm obviously sexist so never mind what I think.

    September 19, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. McCain for Pres.

    John McCain told them 2 yrs. ago that Fannie and Freddie needed help. The democratic lead congress ignored him and now they are trying to put the blame on him. Wake UP America...

    September 19, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. Bayou Joe

    When all else fails attack the messenger.

    September 19, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Super D

    I'm so sick of the people related to Obama getting a free ride now that they and CLINTON ADMINISTRATION are the ones who shoved high risk housing loans on mortgae companies in one of their social engineering projects and now that it's failed.

    This idiot is Obama's economic advisor! Talk about a 22 mill golden parachute.

    the hypocrisy of the DEMS is sickening!

    You morons!!




    September 19, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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