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."

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. DeVone

    if we listen to Senator Obama, he leaves the B S behind and he
    says things like the war in Irac is killing Americans there and at
    home the money spent there is killing us at home he talks about
    everything he needs to in the absolute correct way we have to
    except change and that is what America and the world want
    thats what he want foe the world that is the reason people flock to

    July 31, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  2. Us liberals

    The McCain camp is truly disgusting...

    Obama's hit the nail on the head – McCain's ONLY hope for winning is to play the 'he's not one of us' card - that means attacks on Obama's patriotism, his foreign sounding name, his race, etc.

    How I WISH McCain would run the kind of campaign he and Cindy promised – one that sticks to the issues and refrains from personal attacks...

    July 31, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. amy

    People are loosing their homes, parents are concerned about feeding their children, seniors cannot afford gas, and Obama's "popularity" is the best subject the McCain campaign has to focus on??
    Give me a break and sign me up as a democrat!!

    July 31, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Dem for McCain

    People of all parties love Maverick McCain. I don't have a problem at all with him going negative in the ads. As long as he wins. He's doing Americans a great favor by doing what he needs to do to win. Anything to keep Obama out of the White House.

    McCain '08

    July 31, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  5. Sabreen60

    McCain is PROUD of this ad???? Really??? Wow????

    July 31, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. Enlightened Voter

    Mcsurge, you and the repugs are disgusting and have made my voting choice clear – OBAMA all the way.

    July 31, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Media darling

    The media created the Obama.

    Now McCain mentions that fact.

    Doing so is seen as a negative attack? How so? Obama has run a slick, image-driven internet campaign.

    The media has applauded him for it. So now Obama is the product he cleverly marketed.

    That is the truth- it is not going negative

    July 31, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. PC

    This celebrity talk is nonsense. Count on McCain's cronies to be as, nasty, divisive and petty as they can be. McCain's stands on the issues range from cynical to ludicrous. Obama and his team need to fight back and show McCain's ugly, wrongheaded and spiteful attacks for what they are.

    July 31, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. jimmy velman


    July 31, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Cindy

    I dunno if Obama is as popular as Spears or Hilton, but if he is, hats off to him. I don't see Spears or Hilton attracting the nation's top Economic leaders for brainstorming sessions, or the leaders of the world anxious to pick his brain. If that's the result of his popularity, bring it on!

    A celebrity with a brain, who uses it for good things... Wow, what a concept!

    July 31, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. Kris from AZ

    Sad part is MCcain is just getting started with the right wing noise machine. Stick to the issues

    July 31, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. Matt Joachim

    Sen.Obama's right , why does that matter ? we should be focusing on the issues.I once had great respect for Sen.Mccain,and by the way being a celebrity shouldn't be considered as a bad thing,as far as i can remember Reagan was one.

    July 31, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. A Brick

    Barack said it right: "is that all you can come up with?". Good for Barack for not turning personally negative on McCain. ie. Calling his wife Cindy Lou a stealing drug addict

    July 31, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. tren


    July 31, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. AJ

    McCain didn't answer the question and he didn't give her the chance to ask a follow up question like he does most people that disagree with him. I wonder why???

    Because he's a HATER and a liar.

    July 31, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. WarHeroFmrPOW HijaxStr8talkXpress DrivzIn2GutR TurnzCoward XploitsTroopsAsProps UsesPatraeusAs PoliticalPawn

    Only Johnny-Mac would take pride in work like that. Doesn't say much for the quality of work he would produce as president, does it?

    July 31, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. Mark VA

    Obama gets in front of a crowd of screaming fans and give a great sounding message much like a song with lyrics that are beautiful, but abstract (no substance). I would say he is a rock star. Listen I love Bruce Springstein and the message that his songs deliver, but it does not mean he is qualified to be President. Sooner or later voters are going to realize that Obama is a 2nd year Senator with his only other experience being state and local government. You don't send the puppy out as security in case of a home invasion. We certainly don't want to send out Obama to secure our Nation.

    July 31, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. pirhana

    “I wish we had time to be divided. I wish we had time to be upset. To be angry. To be disappointed. I wish we did,” Pirhana said. “Because if we had time for that, then things wouldn’t be so bad right now. Instead, we’re in a place where another four or eight years of the world as it is will devastate the life of some child.”

    July 31, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  19. Ex-mod-GOP for Obama

    If that's the best that the McCain camp has right now, they're toast.

    July 31, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. eye's of the wise

    Mccain say's he is PROUD of THAT commercial ????? there he goes again losing his bearing's, that has been happining a lot lately, now he is talking about race card, so preditable,an excuse, I guess they are going to recycle Rev, Wright now

    July 31, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. albert griffith

    thank God 4 open minded intelligent GOP's like Sen.Chuck Hagel,Gen.Colin Powells,Sen.Richard Lugar,Paul O Neil,Susan Eisenhower,!!!OBAMA/CLARK 08!!!!

    July 31, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Mark, Gainesville, VA

    Obama = the people's chump

    July 31, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. Elaine

    Clinton did the same thing. Now McCain with the negative ads, the negative attacks, and the overall negative feel of his campaign is doing the same. If McCain is not carefully, it will backfire just like it did for Clinton. If he learned anything from Clinton at all, it should have been that slinging mud at your opponent doesn't work. It just makes the other side seem more sympathic to voters. Shame on you John McCain.

    July 31, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. TangoDancer

    The commercial and the tactic by McCain and company is pretty lame. This insane jealousy by the McCain campagin is beyond anything that I've personally witnessed since highschool. This tactic is probably going to go over well with the republican base – like throwing raw meat to dogs – but the rest of the people in the middle must be wondering what is up with this guy. I find myself now asking how I could have been such a strong supporter of McCain for the past dozen years or so. I'm just blown away by my poor judgement and now must really take a look at how I judge other peoples' character attributes. I'm an Obama supporter, but I also want to recognize the positive qualities of his opponent. Stuff like this totally diminishes the man who used to be John McCain.

    July 31, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |

    that ad was a total sign of desperation. Poor McCain

    July 31, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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