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. Danny

    Other than SURGE and WE ARE WINNING THE WAR, "did somebody say he has already used those words?" he has nothing else to offer. Mama's boy... stop crying.

    July 31, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Franco

    Obama's campaign IS playing the race card an doing it very subtly.
    It seems that every time a negative comment is made he takes on a
    "sympathy card" mode." poor little ole me he comes out with. Well...
    this is not what the American people want or the rest of the free world.
    He has no federal government experience, just pretty words! He may
    continue fooling the romantics, but it is time for voters to wake up.

    July 31, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Debby

    So wait Obama has his entorage of camera's in Europe following him all over the place and is blaming McCain for that display. Sounds like Obuma can dish it out but can't take it. Obama himself compared himself to Hilton in 2004 so whats the big deal.

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

    Hey, if the general media, lead by CNN, didn't 'worship' their new god, O-b-a-m-a, the McCain commercial would never have been produced.

    July 31, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Sn in MN

    Sure are a lot of insults about Sen McCain's age. Yup, the new hoey, changey politics. Plastic Jesus and his supporters are scum.

    July 31, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. NotFallingInLine.org

    Barack Obama: The Paris Hilton of Politics.

    Midgea NFIL

    July 31, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Proud of your campaign, and that commercial specifically? Get real McCain. Seems to me your campaign in being run by Bozo the Clown. Obama is right to ask "Is that the best you can do?". Well John, is it?

    July 31, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. RH in Hartford, CT.

    Well, it appears McDumb is jealous and doesn't know what to do now.
    Why shouldn't Obama get more attention from the media? When McDumb gets the media attention and it's like," Do you understand the words that are coming out of his mouth?"

    And for those folks who don't like Obama get your heads checked!

    July 31, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. Joseph adewole

    It is clear that John McCain has nothing to offer The Americans and America..he just thinks of anything at all that could distract people and just fire it; its unfortunate that Americans are still listening to this 'old cargo plane'... ..as my friends put it.

    July 31, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. Danny

    The surge is working. We are winning the war. Why not coming home then? That oldman makes me sick

    July 31, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. Unity

    Is McCain secretly betting against himself to win or something? His campaign must be run by apes?!?!?!

    July 31, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. RH in Hartford, CT.

    And another thing McCain, has any country ever really win a war? Everyone loses at both ends no matter what!

    July 31, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Sherry for Obama

    How anyone in their right mind could vote for McCain is astounding.
    He doesnt talk about the issues of importance..........All he likes to do is attack Obama.
    Hes an old pathetic man that is so jealous of Obama.
    Right wingers need to get over the fact that Obama is what America needs and they need to put old man McCain out to pasture.

    July 31, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. Melba Corliss-Yish

    I had high hopes that for once a campaign could be without this negative, disgusting foul play. I do hope Obama can keep it within acceptable bounderies. I keep hearing that in order to win, Obama has to answer these stupid allegations, which will have a tendency to lower him to McCain's level. I just wish, for once, the good guy could win because he remains the good guy!

    July 31, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Danny

    And Debby that's why the oldman is crying because nobody is paying attention to him. Who is smarter than a 5th grader? Grandpa John? I DON'T THINK SO.

    July 31, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Joseph, Los Angeles

    Did McCain really say he was proud of that ad? Oh my... I'm speechless!

    July 31, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. Willy

    I like it too. BHO needs a little lap dog.

    July 31, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. windrider

    McCain is starting to sound as catty and petulant as a clique of high schoolers. So now Obama isn't fit to be President because too many people like him? What's next? Another negative ad because Obama is taller than McCain? Or shoots better basketball? Just pathetic!!!!!

    July 31, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. George

    ****NOBAMA is a NOVELTY the LEFT is using. How SAD!!****

    July 31, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    I'm really tired of the whining! McCain whines, the bitter HRC/PUMA people whine. The Conservatives who know their goose is cooked this election whine. WHINE, WHINE, WHINE.

    Get over it, people. This is politics, always has been, always will be. If you can't come up with some real thoughts and ideas that might actually be useful, do the rest of us a favor and just shut up!

    And that's the end of my whine.

    July 31, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Sam in WNC

    Isn't it the true...the old man can't handle the big issues and just want s to get in the mud....Go Obama

    July 31, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. Amber

    Good afternoon, what is the topic at hand?

    July 31, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. Keating 5

    Anyone remember the REAL McCain? Keating 5.

    July 31, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. Collins Agya Yaw Yeboa Siakwan

    Desperation in the Camp of Mccain. Too old to do modern politics. The same old politics. This election is for the young folks. We have allowed the old folks to dictate our politics for long, and what did we get in 2000/2005, George Bush.

    July 31, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Kathy in Michigan

    McCain had better be careful in the African American community (I have been listening to African American Radio all day) and they are pissed!!! The little headway he THOUGHT he made is gone!!!

    Why would he put Senator Obama in an ad with two young, blond, white women??? This looks like what happened to Harold Ford. This is ridiculous. If Senator Obama were like him he could charge (and be right) that these two women with substance abuse problems and lots and lots of money remind us of his wife Cindy. Be careful McCain! Cindy never was charged or served any time for her wrong doing all of which were felonies. She got preferential treatment.

    If there is a comparison to Senator Obama, he could have chosen many MALE celebrities who are black and white who used their celebrity for human rights, civil rights, HIV/AIDS and other admirable causes.



    July 31, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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