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. Chris

    I find it interesting that J/M says Obama knows nothing about the economy yet when the AIG situation came up, McCain quickly didn't back it but, once he got more information on it he supported it. But, yet he says Obama didn't take a stance on it.
    Well my Friends, it seems this speak to McCain rush to judgement if you ask me, we,see again Obama would rather analyze this situation before making some quick call on it. I think it shows he will not make rash calls on other issues that affect America either.
    McCain's a flip/flopper who continues to want to do town hall debates like some old man who whines cause the family will not let them drive any more. McCain is heading back down the path of childhood. He would be a disater in the White House and Cindy would be running the government on a day to day basis. humm didn't we have this under Regaen?

    September 19, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  2. Tom in CA

    Hear that flushing sound in Arizona?

    He's flushing the regulations and regulators down the toilet! Just like he did as one of the Keating 5!

    September 19, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. Voter

    I can see a bank from my window. I'm an expert on banks now!

    Think I'll toss my hat in the ring for Vice President...

    September 19, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Carl Dallas

    Anyone else notice that we cannot comment on the Obama ad that essentially called Senator McCain a bigot towards the Mexican people, even though they voted for him 70% or so when he runs for his re-elections in the Senate?

    Both sides are sinking to new lows, but calling someone a bigot in another language, thinking Americans won't find out about this, is downright insulting.

    September 19, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. berliner49

    TOM in CA.....gotta love the storyteller. I am truely amazed that there aree still people out there supporting a pair of obvious liars. How dense can they be and where is their intellect? Gotta love the question what they are teaching their children about politicians that are allowed to disobey the law by refusing subpenas. SHUT McShame and Palin down....once and for all. Even Repubs richest supports have called you rednecks. You know it's about race and I hope a minority will move next door to you so you have reason to move to Alaska where all of you haters belong.

    September 19, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Shirley

    Blaming the Democrats again McCain. Why don't you just let Obama along and start doing your own thing by trying to tell us what you are worth.

    September 19, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |

    Let the banks go down and we can rebuild. Eight years ago we said don't vote for Bush…the writing is on the wall and they did. So whoever the president maybe, i want everyone who voted for bush to lose their savings, retirement, pension, homes, and jobs if need be. No Government bail out with my tax dollars for banks.NO NO NO, these people need to vote issues in the elections or they can go down like everybody else. No to the 1 trillion for saving banks. NO NO NO.

    September 19, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. Rich

    So does this mean we can start linking McCain to anyone we want? I once heard he watched a documentary on Charly Manson, hard to believe that McCain takes advice from Charly Manson.

    McCain is the biggest joke to ever run for President and those who follow him are puppets who can't think for themselves.

    At some point, even they have to start to see how evil the McCain camp has become.

    September 19, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  9. Nate

    Republicans new motto:


    Another winner for the american people.

    September 19, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. REAL Change

    We will see taxes increasing as soon as OBAMA gets elected ( if). so instead of working on bailout the rot of the issue should be looked at. DON"T JUST TRY TO WIN THE ELECTION AT THE COST OF AMERICAN PEOPLE.
    TAXES RAISED ON 2%, THE RICH, DAHHHHH...............A MIND is a terrible thing to WASTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 19, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. J from DC

    McCain want to fire Christopher Cox, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Committee. However, McCain's economic advisor is Phil Gramm. The man who created policies contributed greatly to the Economic Meltdown. Yet, McCain has not even fired him from his own campaign. Unbelievable!

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. Georgia Gal

    Howard Fineman said last night on Countdown with Keith Olberman that this guy and Obama did not have a relationship. They said he came by Obama's office one time, but they never did meet. Once again McCain is lying.

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. Thebe

    Also from WSJ:

    In a crisis, voters want steady, calm leadership, not easy, misleading answers that will do nothing to help. Mr. McCain is sounding like a candidate searching for a political foil rather than a genuine solution.

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. Please Obama

    Please Obama! Bring up Keating 5. This old fool has lost his marbles. Lies, lies, lies.

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. Ella, TN

    Thing is, McCain and the repugs feels it's ok to take our taxes to help other countries but it's a problem when it comes to us. They say because the dems want to help our people with health care, college, raise minimum wage , etc is socialism. Mr. McCain even had a hard time with the bill which would help those Vets he claim to love so much in obtaining an education. He has no problem helping a country who sit on their oil profits and has given oil contracts to China. It's just simply amazing.

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. Michael in Houston

    I am being banned for telling the truth again CNN!

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. CD


    You are so yesterday. That SEC chair thing didn't work out, so right now McCain is in Green Bay blaming the Bush Administration and Congress (of which, of course, he was a part), and accusing Obama of being in bed with the Fannie Mae folks. Usually, the McCain campaign paints Obama as a fluff-headed celebrity, weak, and inexperienced. But that would mean he's innocent in this crisis, as he was in the war, so I guess today it's more convenient to paint him as being in charge.

    If you allowed images here, I'd tack on a nice pair of bottle-cap decorated flip-flops for the king of the beer industry, whose own campaign staff is up to its ears in lobbyists (who according to McCain won't get past the White House gate if HE is president), and whose financial adviser Phil Gramm really IS at least partially responsible for this mess.

    Anna Molly (Sent Friday, September 19, 2008 9:37 AM)

    September 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Who has acccepted the bulk of the Wall Street political contributions the last few years? The Democrats. Who had oversight responsibility for all this? Congress. Who controls Congress? The Democrats. What does Obama want to do in a time of economic crisis? Start new major spending programs and raise taxes. Who is really out of touch? The Democratic Congress and their appointed figurehead Obama.

    September 19, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. Darryl

    As Phil Gram sad as apart ofJohn McCain staff America is a bunch of Whinners.

    Is that the type of leadership that we want say not to Senator John McCain and Gov Sara Paliin....

    September 19, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  20. RUN4UR$

    From Scott Tucson:
    "Obama might be ready to be President of say Zimbabwe but he's surely doesn't have what it takes to be president of this nation. Just take a look at his record and the cronies he runs around with."

    This sounds like a John McCain ad shown Arizona & Alaska.

    September 19, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Jorge

    I can't believe this McCain ad is being allowed to run. Not only is it an outright lie, it uses Franklin Raines's likeness without his permission to perpetrate the lie.

    September 19, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  22. IWASP!-Intelligent Woman Against Sarah Palin

    Okay people come on, it's just ANOTHER LIE from the mccain camp, like don't get all worked up about it. It's not like its just the first, second, third...fiftieth lie they've told. What bothers me is that what are mccains plans for ANYTHING? I don't care if its for redecorating the white house, has anyone heard a single plan from him yet on ANYTHING? All he and palin do, to cover their cluelessness and inability to lead, is attack Obama. Yesterday mccain said he had an economic plan but it was not complete and would be unveiled after the election. WHAT??!!??!! Barack has had his plans, all of them, online for over a year now.

    September 19, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. Dem4Cynthia08

    Someone please ask Obama about ACORN!!

    September 19, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. Debby

    The bailouts are a quick fix, will put us more in debt with trillions of dollar, and our taxes down the road will be sky high paying for all this. Whatever you think of McCain he is right on this one and Obama is dead wrong.

    September 19, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. peakarack

    Obama got hundred of million of dollar from big corporation for the last 3 yrs.


    September 19, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
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