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. Cbal

    John Mccain has definitely taken the low road. Over the past few weeks he has done nothing but focus on Obama. John Mccain is low, he is jealous of the publicity Obama is gaining, whose fault is that? Wasn't it John Mccain that said he likes being the underdog? Why is he now being bothered about Obama's ability to draw media and crowds? He is is definitely trying to distract the American people on the real issues. He knows that a John Mccain term is going to mean more wars, worst economy, and nothing more than what Bush has offered.

    I will urge that Obama be voted president not for his lack of experience but atleast for what he is offering. John Mccain hasn't offered anything, not even a means to fix the broken health care system or the economy. He has offered absolutely NOTHING! All he keeps saying is we have to stop government spending. Ofcourse government spending is an issue but is that all he can offer?

    July 31, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. nancy

    Welcome back, Karl Rove. We remember the last 8 years. We know you are using the same evil tactics again to destroy an important and crucial election.


    July 31, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I think that the reference to Spears and Hilton are complete wastes of my time. This only makes me think that McCain has nothing really worthwhile to say. If McCain or his campaign staff read this, then they should know that the commercial is was a completely stupid idea with no redeeming value. Yes, Obama has some "rock-star" like qualities, but that doesn't mean that you have to compare him to pop stars with little taste or understanding.

    July 31, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Don

    Obama even the European leaders were unimpressed with you. Great speeches they said, but we still do not know where he stands. Isn't it time Obama starts telling us where he stands.

    July 31, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. BVAL

    If you want to draw differences, talk about the issues. All I 've been heard so far is offshore drilling while big oil compagny already have millions of acres available for them and have never even tried to use them . Look what recently happened in mississipi river.....Mccain knows he is not serious about this but wants to use it as a political weapon. Mccain plan is to keep the same Bush policy that sent us to war in first place, that destroyed our economy and now our environment. Elect Mccain and expect the economy to be worsenning for four more years. We will call call China for rescue. Canada and Mexico won't accept illegal alliens...

    July 31, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. Kristyn

    McCain is sounding a bit pathetic. Why can't he talk about what he is for instead of just talking about Obama. Shouldn't he be for something, instead of just being against Obama?

    July 31, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. Obama all the way

    What issues is he trying to address? All the McCain camp is trying to do is put fear into the heart of American voters, and quite frankly, it is disgusting.

    July 31, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. Sherry, Atlanta

    Appears that McCain just can't get beyond the POLITICS OF OLD, (even when he said that this would run be a respectful campaign).


    July 31, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. Mickie in PA

    So he admires Obama but can only compare him to female stars. Getting a compliment from McShame is like getting slapped on the back of the head with a pick axe while he is shaking your hand.

    July 31, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. Mccain uses the P.O.W Card

    McCain's platform consists of attacks on Obama and the P.O.W. Card:

    McCain what will you do for the economy?
    I was a P.O.W.
    Obama will raise taxes
    What will you do about home foreclosures?
    I was a P.O.W.
    Obama is for big government
    Why did'nt you support the new G.I. bill?
    I was a P.O.W
    Obama did'nt visit the troops
    Since the surge has apparently worked and the Iraqis want us out, do you believe we can leave now?
    I was a P.O.W.
    Obama was against the surgeHow do you feel about our image in the world?
    I was a P.O.W.
    Obama's a celebrity, but is he ready to lead?

    (Yes McCain he is, but you sir, I'm not so sure. You offer attacks where is your substance?)

    July 31, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. Marie

    So McCain is "proud" of his campaign? Fact checking of his ads has found that more than 90% of his "facts"are out and out lies while 5% are distortions. Senator McCain you have lost the respect of many, many people in this country. Your straight talk express has taken you straight to mudslinging, lies and nastiness. Everywhere we go we hear people talk about you as that grouchy old man. You have ruined all the good you have done. The young look at you as what is wrong with this country the old look at you as what needs to be forgotten and those of us in between just shake our heads saying we can't take any more of this. Go take a nap, some prunes, something.

    July 31, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  12. Greg

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

    Yeah, you sure would. So when will you step up to the challenge, Obama? Oh, and while we're on the subject, why did you wimp out of McCain's challenge to a series of town hall meetings? Was there a "no teleprompter" restriction?

    The ad is accurate and that's why Obama has no choice but to "find issue" with it. The true issue is that Obama is in NO WAY qualified for the position of POTUS.

    July 31, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. Ashley

    WOW!!! Im paying 4.09 a gallon for Gas, I can barely afford medication for Myself, and My house is Worthless and JOHN MCSAME puts out on AD showing Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. There goes the Staright Talk Express right down "RNC Rove BLVD"


    July 31, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. Moderate Republican for Obama

    This is exactly what Obama needs to keep doing. He needs to keep hitting the issues hard and relating them back to the average American, who is immediately hurt by the failied policies of Bush...policies that McCain is supporting and will continue to support. While McCain is going negative, Obama must continue to hit the issues hard and aggressively.

    July 31, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. Lisa, DC

    Anybody who’s talking about change, after 8 years of a corrupt presidency, is a celebrity and a star in my book. Of course we're drawn to Barack. Americans will never quite be the same after the horrific, and dismal presidency of George Whacko Bush.

    Barack is our choice and McCain is not. McCain needs to start prepare himself for returning to the Senate. He is running on Bush's 3rd term and Americans are saying no.

    But I can understand how he thinks he may have a chance, since some Americans were dumb enough to put GW back in office after he butchered our Constitution. But dream on, so many democrats are lining up to vote for change, which means Barack.

    Our long national nightmare is almost over–Obama will win in November 08.

    July 31, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Nando, Florida

    John Mccain is Just 4yrs of the same as BUSH !!!!!!!!!!

    He can't run from his record Obama does not have to !

    July 31, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  17. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Just highlights what an empty suit Obama is and that he's all hype with no substance. Panderer, race-baiter, egomaniac, those are better descriptions.

    July 31, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. Eric-PA

    McCain's ad is good. It shows Obama as someone more interested in the limelight than in solving our problems. Obama is more interested in the glamour of being a celeb than actually understanding how the country and the world operates. Congratulations to McCain on the ad. I'm sure they've got some good ones for the fall featuring Obama's memoirs.

    July 31, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. ladawn ervin

    I agree with obama. when are we going to debate on real issues? all i ever hear mcsame talk about is obama this and obama that. HEY MCSAME IF YOU GOT SO MUCH NEGATIVE THINGS TO SAY ABOUT OBAMA, Y DONT U TELL IT TO HIS FACE!!!

    July 31, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. Bush & Clinton Free

    I can honestly say I've never voted for a Bush or a Clinton in my life, and I'm proud of my record. It's been a long time coming but, I am so happy to cast my vote for Barack this year. Finally a candidate I can believe in.

    Obama 08

    July 31, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. Rob indetroit

    John MCCain has no honor

    July 31, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. 100% OBAMA

    McLame can just get over himself.....we do not want this type of person in the white house or to represent us in the world.

    July 31, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Tony Z- MD

    To think McCain wants to be Commander in Chief. I really think its about being better than his old man.

    SONGBIRD, the Flip Flopper. Country first- yeah right.

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

    If Senator McCain is proud of that ad, then I question his commitment to address the tough issues that we face in America today and for tomorrow and I question his qualifications for the job of the Presidency of which he is asking the American people to elect him.

    CNN, you need to show more of the town hall meetings of each of the candidates and not just give the public your choice of "sound bites." Less commentary and interpretation from the ever increasingly irrelevant, extremely arrogant and most annoying "political pundits" - best political team on TV, yeah right - and more direct info from the candidates themselves.

    July 31, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. TX for Obama

    This election will prove if we are a nation of smart people or stupids. It should not be that diffucult to figure this one out.

    OBAMA '08

    July 31, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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