July 31st, 2008
05:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama criticizes 'Celeb' ad, McCain 'proud' of it

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/31/art.obamaad.ap.jpg caption="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. Just a Mom

    Senator Obama is rising in my esteem as the McCain campaign attacks him with lies and aspersions.

    July 31, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. HEIDI


    July 31, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  3. John G

    " you'd think we'd been having a serious debate"

    Obama has been ducking a debate with John McCain since he was handed the nomination in June. If you want a serious debate then agree to some town halls already.

    July 31, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. That is how the least candidate wins

    Obama himself has been exploiting his celebrity image- using it to draw crowds and to inflate his already too-big EGO.

    July 31, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Nunya

    Wow, now he not only defends the commercial but goes further and says he's proud of it? Talk about bad judgment...

    July 31, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. Ron L

    It is a DUMB AD...and make McCain look like he has no control over his campaign strategy. If McCain campaign continues on this course not only will he lose the election, he will destroy his reputation as a man who does not believe or participate in old school FEAR / ATTACK political tactics.

    July 31, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Obama-Junkie, IL

    Tha't right Obama, "bop" McCain again. He is the leader of his campaign, not his campaign managers or aides. If McCain wants to lose the general election on side bullsh!t like this, go right ahead.

    July 31, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. phony baloney Obama

    The media has been presenting the Obama phenomenom as just that for months now.

    All of a sudden, saying Obama has pop-star appeal and influence, has become a negative attack?

    Why does the media present him as a celebrity- and compare him to JFK and MLK- constantly just to magnify Obama's appeal.

    July 31, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  9. Charlotte

    Obamas' arrogance will bring him down. Once people really listen to what he has to say, the less they like him. We already know we must tighen our belts. We already know gas mileage is improved with less driving. DUH.. We don't need this arrogant person in the White House, we just had 7 years of that. He plays the race card everyday. Why does he have to mention the fact he looks different from other candidates. If that isn't racist, what is? The only difference is the color of his skin. He is, as Rev. Wright pointed out, a typical politician. I bet he dreams of his face on Mt. Rushmore. Such arrogance I have never witnessed before. I will write Hillary on my ballot in November and that is one less vote for either of them

    July 31, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. karen-phoenix

    I'm a former republican of 50 years. I am sooooo ashamed of the republican party, its ads, its camphaigning tackticks and Choosing McCain. The republicans have fallen to new low–below pond scum!!!

    July 31, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. Griff

    Security at it's best... Say's Borack Obama..
    The Man who bend's in a Breeze... Backbone of a Jelly-Fish..

    July 31, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. liz

    Ouch!!! McBush has been schooled...lmao!!!!!!

    July 31, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |

    Obama is nothing but an arrogant idi0t. He has ZERO experience, is affilliated with a racist church, is all full of pretty but empty and confusing rethoric, says what people want to hear at the moment, and on and on. He says in one of his ads that he "worked [his] way through college". What a lie!! The record shows that he took tons of student loans and only worked a couple of summers. He is a big pretender and , oh yeah, did I mention that he is also extremely ARROGANT?

    His supporters play the race card all the time by calling one a racist just because one does not see him fit to be President of the US.


    July 31, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    Sen. Obama you are so right, even though they sit there and lie on you its easy for them to talk about you because Sen McCain dosn't know anything about the economy, war, social security, even viagra, healthcare and nothing else thats dealing with the welfare of America, You are a Rock Star and a Celebrity to Sen McCain you are all he talks about he has giving new meaning to the word FATAL ATTRACTION.

    July 31, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. sheisone

    McSame had to do something to win the spotlight, so he comes out with this pathetic ad. He whined, and whined about Obama getting all of the attention so he had to do something. The ad is so ridiculous. I'm sure Britney & Paris are pretty mad about them using their names, and probably without their permission. McSame is old & senile, and needs to sit his Butt down somewhere & retire. He is so freakin boring. I want to see the some debates so Obama can tear him apart.

    July 31, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. Susan

    Give him Hell Obama!!

    July 31, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |

    Get him Obama! With their saying your "race-baiting" I'm so disgusted with them

    July 31, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. Mike & Kelly

    I thought this was an election for America, not crying about who's more popular. MCCain, didn't think I'd say this about you, but GROW UP!

    July 31, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  19. CW4Barak

    Thank you Sen. Obama.....finally we might just have someone in the White House who is intelligent, articulate, an A student, favorably world renowned and interested in addressing the concerns of the "common man". I am thanking America ahead of time, for voting for Obama to be our next President and future world leader.

    July 31, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  20. Duane Tennant

    I wish both of them would stop cheap shots enough already!! I want both of them to explain to me how wind, nuclear, and solar gfenerated energy is going to reduce the oil consumtion here as I bet niether one of them can give me list of power plants making electricity that are operating oil products?? I believe most energy sources for power generation is coal or natural gas. I BELIEVE THIS NEEDS BE IN THE NEWS

    July 31, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. Texan for Progression

    As reported in the N.Y. Times, "Mr. McCain’s advisers continue to look for ways to bring more discipline to his message, and are being urged by some supporters to cut back the frequency of his question-and-answer sessions with reporters, a staple of his campaign but one that occasionally yields unscripted moments, misstatements and off-the-cuff pronouncements that divert attention from the themes he is trying to promote. " It's ironic how the "Maverick" that the Republican Party has managed to chorale (Bush tax cuts, environmental concerns, etc.) is now simply tearing down everything in the chorale. How can a president who can't be trusted by his own Party to speak freely to reporters be trusted to represent the country on a global scale? Didn't the Clintons place that same "reporter restriction" on Chelsey for fear that she couldn't handle well informed, fact-based questions? How does that old saying go, twice a child once an adult.

    July 31, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  22. John Kaleto

    Given the attention this ad has drawn it's pretty obvious it hurt Obama (who is unable to negate its effectiveness). The ad didn't mention Spear or Hilton, Mr. Obama, it merely flashed pictures of them. And if Mr. Obama wants to discuss serious issues, then he should address what the ad actually said: he's a worldwide celebrity who wants to raise taxes and opposes new drilling for oil.
    Oh, and I love how Obama says he doesn't want to get into tit-for-tat attack ads...the day after he launched his own attack ad implying McCain was too old!

    July 31, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  23. Keith

    Obama hit the nail right on the head.

    OBAMA '08

    July 31, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. obamacrat

    Go get 'em Obama. McCain's desperation reminds me of back when Bush 1 was falling behind in the polls to Bill Clinton and resorted to calling Clinton and Gore "Bozos". That didn't work and neither will this latest McCain plan of attack. Serious times call for serious leaders and right now McCain is starting to come off as a joke.

    July 31, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. SOS!

    Rick Davis and McLow are bogus, desperate wrong ,misleading
    ,ugly, offensive and reckless... What ever Mr Obama said about himself is no more than what you and Old Hog Jaw McCain say behind close doors everyday . Do you honestly think you can Attack this Man everyday and Sean Hannity pie face A_S spin for you. I was wondering how long it would take for him to Stand up and Fight back ...you should know better than to bring a Knife to a Gun Fight!!! No doubt he is a strong Man ..you guys have beat him down talked about his wife kids (dead) mother and father and he is still standing Fired up and ready to Go

    July 31, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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