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. tony

    Obama's an empty suit–that's all they are pointing out-
    It goes much deeper than Paris or Brittney–
    Even his web site periodically takes stuff off - that won't help get donations-
    He even admitted that his positions can change with more info-
    FOLKS this means he doesn't have enough info to even say what he does-

    July 31, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. Megan

    Stupid old buffoon. Thats all hes been focusing on is slinging crap at Obama. I would love to hear McCain give a real idea of what his campaign is all about. Can he please show that he will not be a continued Bush administration but something completely different? All we keep hearing is Obama this and Obama that. McCain supporters, please tell him to speak on himself and take his lips off the other guys rear end.

    July 31, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. jAYjAY

    McCain plays the "white guilt" card and gets away with it.

    July 31, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. Doris,Memphis,TN

    McCain shame on you. This is terrible behavior from a man of your

    July 31, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. pam Eugene OR

    Obama is right. Don't we have much bigger issues to discuss!
    McCain is earning his name McLame.
    How about what is happening to our country McCain? Can we spend a few minutes on that?

    July 31, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. bridgette

    That commercial was so beneath someone who is suppose to be the experienced one. It was just silly. Is he mad becasue people did not come out too see him. That is something totally out of his control. Obviously he is saying something people want too hear.

    July 31, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |

    I hope that Britney and Paris sue the McSame camp for using their image in a comercial. I'm sure they didn't ask their permission and you know how celebs love to sue over use of image w/o permission. Look for it as this may be coming soon.

    OBAMA '08

    July 31, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. lul

    ".. comparing obama's celebrity"??? Is CNN labeling obama as celebrity?

    July 31, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. AL

    Now McCain is accusing Obama about race... now we're getting into the silly season.

    Gramps, please let me know when you're going to introduce that bill regarding the tax holiday. Wait that was a gimmick too, huh?

    July 31, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. Taryn

    McCain is an idiot ! Obama calls him out so intelligently every time!!

    July 31, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. Bola

    If the Senator McCain's campaign ad with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton qualifies as one to be proud of, then being proud is not what it used to be.

    July 31, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. McCain=the draft

    I want Obama to call McCain out, on national TV, during the debates, for all the LIES he's spewing.

    McCain is, by far, the arrogant one!

    July 31, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  13. Danny

    The days of the SWIFTBOAT are over GRANDPA JOHN.

    July 31, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  14. crazy4obama

    Obama is bigger than anything a old white man can throw at him. Obama greater than God? Not yet but he's getting there isn't he?

    Obama/08/12 and after we amend the constitution... Forever!

    July 31, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. hollie

    since when did the presidential candidates start debating britney and paris, for heavens sake, please dont take us to the old tired politics of yesterday...

    uncommited for now 08

    July 31, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. Nezzy

    John McCain is an idiot and thats being nice. Go Obama all the way. McCain and his camp are not too happy, mainly because they didn't expect Senator Obama to be as welcomed and liked by the American people has expected. We need change, and Obama is change. We don't need the same old lame game in office once again.


    July 31, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. Brian, Pittsburgh

    McCain is complaining that Obama is 'too popular'?? Does he realize he's running for president?

    How does this affect how much I'm paying for gas, or my family's healthcare, or the job market for my community? Does any of this make our country safer or better prepared for the changing global environment? McCain is doing nothing but attacking Obama, and it's not helping any real Americans.

    Obama '08!

    July 31, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. JJ

    I honestly now 100% think that McCain has lost the plot. Seriously McCain..."is that all you got"?

    July 31, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. Biffington, Biff

    I do believe i have been censored, cnn... comments before mine.. comments after mine.... but mine remains... 'awaiting moderation'.

    Fee Fi Fo Fum, I smell the work of the Rovians. “Go after him. Go after him on his STRONG SUIT – Americans KNOW Obama can lead them out of this mess we made so LET’S GET HIM before he does!”

    well... if you feel like being 'fair and balanced' then post this outstanding paragraph of a mock conversation inside the McCain campaign war room...

    “And people, pay attention. This is important. Phil, let’s try not to get caught whining about “If only Barack Obama would just stop drawing all these big crowds, and the Heads of State around the world would stop receiving him, and if only all these VOTERS would STOP VOTING for him. And McCain try to stop agreeing with him and crying about “If only he would stop inspiring people and laying out Economic plans that Americans KNOW will work, and Energy plans that Americans KNOW will work, and a plan for ending the occupation of Iraq and promoting diplomacy. How the hell will we make money stealing other people’s resources if Obama wants to PAY for them and engage in diplomacy and Fair Trade? Oh Why did I agree that TIMETABLES for ending my bloody occupation.were the best idea EVER? What’s wrong with me? Waaahhhhh”

    July 31, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  20. Ms. White

    For an OLD MAN, McCain is surely playing "sandbox" games.
    It funny that many people can not see he is using all types for dirty trick and games to discredit Obama because he has nothing else to attack Obama with. McShame should not be the next POTUS because he is not for the average American citizen

    July 31, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  21. Obama for Life


    McCain + Bush = Jealous, whack, old, confused, flip-flopper

    McSame + Bushed = Same ole' politics of the past

    Obama for President + HOPE = A new America

    July 31, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  22. James

    The best that McCain can come up with is that "Campaigns are tough"?

    That is so weak and nonresponsive. That is the response of a man who has flip flopped and reversed almost every position he's had.

    He has sacrificed almost every conviction he has held and has shown that he will sacrifice all to become President. The fact that so many are willing to accept that type of 180 degree shift is commentary to the lack of true convictions on the right. Anything to win. All is fair in love and politics.

    John McCain is willing to sell his soul for the Presidency.

    July 31, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  23. jm

    I hope that Sen. Obama will talk about how McCain becomes Bush as the run goes on by telling the people that McCain, just like Bush, manipulate facts. McCain manipulated the facts about visiting the troops in Germany, while Bush manipulated the facts about the war.

    July 31, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  24. Marcus Allen

    It's a fair comment to say Obama is going for "Image" after seeing his traveling photo op abroad. Obama is phenomenally great at drawing a crowd but phenomenally naive about world affairs (just like real celebrities).

    July 31, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  25. Gramm, looks like McCain is the whiner...

    How can McCain compare Obama's "celebrity" with the likes of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, and then remind us all "that he regularly speaks about how he admires Obama's accomplishments."

    McCain and his Republican cronies have no good ideas about how to fix the huge mess that this country is in. Our economy is a mess because of conservative fiscal irresponsibility and lack of Republican leadership. The Middle East is a mess because of short-sighted Republican foreign policy. McCain has no answers, because he's part of the problem!

    Obama '08!!!!!!

    July 31, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
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