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. The Soccer Mom

    The New York Times has published a separate list looking at contributions from "directors, officers, and lobbyists for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac" for the 2008 campaign cycle. That list — using figures from the Federal Election Commission — shows McCain receiving $169,000, while Obama received only $16,000.

    GO Figure McBush, McSame

    September 19, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. Fred

    POW card, Gender Card, Country First card, now Race Card, distortions, lies, pathetic palin, interfering with legislative trooper gate–Every time this schizoprenic opens his mouth, he looses 100 voters.
    All he has left are those racists and empty headed palens.
    These two Idiots cannot run this Country nor can establish credibility in the world.
    Americans are smart. They have two leaders who knows constitution.
    Ask palen or mccain a question about constitution. That would be a joke.
    We had it with these people and their campaign.
    Vote Obama & Biden. They can taclke the complex world prolems.

    September 19, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. JohnJon

    Factcheck says -Did Obama profit from Fannie May? -–Partially true, but misleading. Donations don't come from companies. A list of employee contributions puts Obama second, but a different list including lobbyists and directors shows McCain getting more.McCain getting more???? Why is this no surprise. McCain/Palin lie about everything. Every word is a lie. This election is going to be an Obama/Biden landslide

    September 19, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. cjr

    McBush/Sally – Liar, Liar – Pant's on Fire! Can't wait for the debate, McBush will most likely lose his temper and continue to be confused – i.e. Spain – Mexico – yesterday – Sally still is promoting her non existent foreign policy creds.

    September 19, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. Robert in raleigh

    The higher obama flies. the greater the mccain lies....

    September 19, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. PADem

    Joseph, for you to call Obama supporters immature is beyond the pot calling the kettle black. Most of the comments from McCain supporters ignore the issues and call democrats "baby killers" and "welfare losers." You should take your own advice about maturity.

    September 19, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. Independent for Obama

    This ad is one big lie, no surprise coming from the McCain camp.

    September 19, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. Sarah

    Why people think Obama is an economy expert????? What does he suggest???

    September 19, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. dmw

    Obama's politics of hope, down the tubes. He is a typical politician which is what I thought the whole time. He is not an agent of change.

    September 19, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  10. Kade

    Bush and the boys will waltz out of Washington in fine style. They've financially secured their friends and left the common folk in total disarray.....yet, some are willing to elect another 4 years.


    September 19, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. Hopefully there is still time to make the change

    From the jump street I said Mccain dropped the ball in selecting Palin. No foreign experience, no experience in national economic matters and no background with the milatary.

    Pwaltney, Bobby Jindal and Mitt Romeney would have served him better. These individuals bring a background that would help us to stem the tide of the economic rollercoaster. John, drop Palin and pick up one of the 3 aforementioned people. They can help us win this thing.

    September 19, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. dan

    Raines never advised Obama. Ever.

    WcCain used to provide a "gaffe-a-day". Now he's added a lie a day to his routine.

    Pathetic and lame!

    September 19, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. JusLaugh

    How come McCain says that it is disgraceful for Obama to even think about talking one of those failed CEOs but he has the lady that ran HP into the ground, was fired, and walked away with millions as one of his chief advisors and that's supposed to be OK?

    I don't think the McCain campaign has a message, a platform, or any substance at all. So far, all of the good things they tout are lies and all of the things they say are wrong with Obama they have either copied or have the same thing, if not worse, going on in their campaign negating their argument.

    It's almost sad to see the pundits still trying to make McCain/Palin look credible when the rest of us are sitting back shaking our heads at the amount of BS and self destruction coming out of their campaign.

    September 19, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. fixthebroken

    McCain is treading on thin ice here. Obama has not brought about the Keating 5 issue yet (and don't even come here telling me McCain was exonerated - you know he did wrong). But if McCain keeps these type of ads up, then Obama will bring up the Keating 5 and make McCain defend it.

    September 19, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. we havent forgotten....

    as if listening to Rev Wright for 20 years is "presidential"

    September 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. charlie

    Way to go Joseph! You spoke my sentiments precisely! I was wondering if most of the posters on this blog should not go back to seventh grade spelling, english and writing skills! I wonder what the GPA of some of them was? Sad, these people are going to elect our next president!

    September 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. Sage

    geez more lies from McCain? a man who has 169 fat cat lobbyist and recycled Bush campaign managers running his campaign,a VP under investigation, and now in his total desperation all he has are more lies...sad, sad, sad man

    September 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    nobody is talking about stop the spending. Both Sen McCain and Sen Obama nothing. Go Obama/Biden

    September 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Tom

    Remember the Party who got us where we are today. It's time for another direction.

    September 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. Joseph

    If McCain's shameful acts are his "high road" to the White House (as he promised), I would hate to have seen his "low road"

    Who needs integrity, John, when you can just smear and sneer at the American people?

    September 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. Ron to the clueless right

    Pride – win or lose

    Let me give you a clue...The reason you will still have pride is because if Obama wins the country will once again have hope. Something they have lacked for the last 8 years. If Mccain wins the elections was fixed (again) he will die of old age in the oval office Palin will be President she will appoint a moose as vice president and the US will go down the pooper.

    September 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. Blue Collar Workers for Obama

    The McCain / Palin is all about lies. I can't believe what they are saying everyday. Now they are regulation, last week they were for deregulation. What will they stand for next week, who knows.

    The fact is that the Iraq war is costing us $10 billion a month and we have spent over $1 trillion on it is a major reason that we do not have money to go around in this country.

    Stop the lies. People the real choice in this election is Obama / Biden '08.

    Joe is so cool, we are with you all the way man...

    September 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. kamenwati

    The straight lies express rolling to a town near you.

    September 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. Sam

    I just donated to the OBAMA campaign . . . . . again!

    September 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. Never let them see you sweat....



    NOT TRUE!!!!!

    September 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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