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. Dave

    Score one for Obama...

    July 31, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    Back in May. . .just a few months ago. . .Senator McCain stated he will run a "clean campaign," and his wife said that the "McCain campaign will not stoop to low levels of personal attacks.

    Well, so much for their promises. It is pathetic that the Senator from Arizona . . .with all his years of "experience". . .has become so desperate that he doesn't talk about issues, but indicates his jealousy of Obama's appeal not only to Americans but to the people of the world.

    Please, please, please Senator McCain. Grow up!!

    July 31, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. joe kiloz

    Obama is another Johnny Cochran with this nonsense. In my opinion he pushed some more moderates into the McCain camp. The media outlets are not questioning Obama about this ? What a joke.

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

    JOE UNGER . . . Couldn't say it better myself.

    July 31, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Citizen AJ - Northern Virginia

    Senator Obama is heading off the inevitable, the GOP, not necessarily John McCain and his woeful campaign (but he will not speak out against it), will make subtle hints at Senator Obama's physical difference. Come on, many websites have started this already. But other than whining and having surrogates and republican strategist lie on thise cable news shows all week, what is Senator McCain's message, plans and vision for strengthening the United States?

    The only thing we know about John McCain for sure is that he wants to win "the war" in Iraq. I always thought war was conflict between two opposing forces. What force is the U.S. and its coalition partner, Great Britan, fighting in Iraq. Please don't say Al Queda or an insurgency. They are small bands of guerillas, not an opposing force.

    July 31, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. Ralph

    So McCain is proud of being negative and sinking lower than dirt. He morphed from maverick to a grumpy old man.

    July 31, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. Krissy

    Good points, Stephen. This ad is certainly not McCain's most uncredible. His ad blaming Obama for the oil prices is also completely absurd.

    McCain's integrity has fallen so far, it no longer exists. Very disappointing.

    July 31, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. lee

    McCain shots himself on the foot again and again.... I think he is irritated by not getting enough attention by the media or may it is time to tell Lieberman to change his depend. He needs to freshen up... whatever??? Obama 08

    July 31, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. Eric



    July 31, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. Denise

    There are a lot of benefits to calling all your opponents racists, Biff, particularly when they aren't. It distracts voters from real issues and gives them a label to slap on the candidate they dislike, even if that candidate has spent many years working for civil rights (e.g. Bill Clinton). We are also in an election year in which 90% of one race is voting for the candidate of their race, and in order for them to rationalize that they must vilify their opponents with the "racism" label.

    One of Obama's running strategies is to allow his supporters to play the race card, use sexist and offensive terminology, and spread blatant lies; then if there is outrage, he merely pretends to be outraged, too, and throws said supporters under the bus.

    July 31, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. Georgia Girl


    #1 He is desperate and about to lose his mind
    #2 He has no hype and no position on anything that’s why he whines about the media and continues to bash Obama
    #3 his supporters are too stupid to see that McCain holds no position instead he steals ideas and positions from the better candidate and the Democrats and talk about flip flop let’s make a list
    A. “I will not raise taxes”= Now “I’m open to raising taxes”
    B. “I support Affirmative Action” Now: to pander to his racists conservative base he’s “Against Affirmative Action”
    C. “We will stay in Iraq for 100 years if needed”…NOW since OBAMA has been proposing a 16th month leave the country wants … McCain plays follow the leader and, has now stolen Obama’s idea and now agrees to pulling out in 16months.

    July 31, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Texan for Progression

    To Mark, Gainesville, VA:

    Thanks for the humor, it was refreshing. Unfortunately, it won't be funny come Nov.

    July 31, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. keith

    You people are so shallow and uneducated on the issues. Obama would be a DISASTER for this country. How many times has his story changed on why he didn't visit the injured troops in Germany. More important to kow-tow to Europeans to try to bring some of his "HOPE" to injured American heroes! True colors!

    July 31, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. carla

    It's no surprise. Obama has always played the race card. He acknowledges his white heritage only when it's beneficial to him, but he is not proud of it. He's the "black candidate"!!!!! What he really is is a "black fraud and liar" who doesn't have the intelligence or experience to lead this country.

    July 31, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Citizen AJ - Northern Virginia

    Hey Joe Unger,

    I see Obama supportes called more names than McCain or GOP supporters. Check you facts buddy! Someone on this very blog referred to Obama supporters as "scum". Politics, brings out the "best" in America!

    July 31, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. Christina, NYC

    Obama IS playing the race card; always has. McCain's ad is a very good one where it questions his seriousness, not how popular he is and how presumptous he's being by seeing crowds of ppl support him. Just as much the Obama camp comes out attacking EVERYTHING a person says, the more McCain will get my vote!!!

    Obama has to turn to this tactic because he's so tight in the race and didn't expect this. He did much of what the Clinton campaign did when they were losing. The truth, however, is that at least Clinton had EXPERIENCE!!!

    That is the card that is played. Experience vs. Inexperience. As long as the campaigns contiue playing EVERY OTHER card in the deck, this DEMY will go REPUB!

    I'm not alone... MY FRIENDS... there are millions of us. Some of us are just more vocal than ever.

    Btw, brings me to wonder... are there any major concerts on Nov. 4th?? Only because that's where all the Obama supporters will be instead of voting since they love rockstars instead of SERIOUS candidates. McCain – continue doing what you're doing. You'll be fine. I know all voters who have been on the sidelines and not wanting to post in annoyance of being attacked by Obama supporters, no fear... Nov 4th will come very soon and that is when voices matter... MY FRIENDS!!!!!!!

    July 31, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. Democrat

    This whole thing is getting very silly on McCains part. Is that ad the best they can do?

    July 31, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. JfromNC

    LMC – Why would Obama supply big crowds for McCain. Obama is doing town hall meetings every day and he's doing just fine without McCain. I heard someone from McCain's campaign this morning ask Obama's campaign to "bring the crowd and we'll bring the candidate." Enough said.

    July 31, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. Unity

    It's obvious – McCain is going after the uneducated Bubba Vote and throwing every person of color in the country to the wind at the same time.

    July 31, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. Bill

    To: The Moderator

    If I am on some list that says my comments are not to be posted, just let me know and I won't waste my time any further. Most of my comments are logical and not mean-spirited as many comments on this blog are. I have not, however, been very respectful of CNN's apparent biases so maybe that's it. If that's the case, don't try to hold yourselves out to the public as journalistsany more because you won't fit the definition.

    July 31, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. Democrat

    This whole thing is getting very silly on McCains part. Is this ad the best they can do?

    July 31, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. Self-actualization and manifest destiny

    Obama Zombies,

    Stop texting on your cell phones, move out of your parents' house and pay some taxes. We'll have good debate when you grow up.

    July 31, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. Swing Voter in Virginia

    Can McCain please tell us why we SHOULD vote for him. He has NO vision for the country, all he does is knock Obama! What a loser!

    July 31, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. Tarheel Unity

    When people can't point out good things about themselves they divert attention to other people. Jealousy does not become you, McCain.

    July 31, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Lester

    McCain, you're running for prez. If a corny ad about Paris Hilton and Brittney Spears makes you "proud", you may want to raise your standards.

    July 31, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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