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. Xango

    McBush, wants attention, blah blah, blah,
    he is an old, senile person,
    he forgets today and yesterday ..


    they are the past the darkness

    we are in the n ow, looking towards teh future

    July 31, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. Ed Via, Camden Ohio

    I have some advice for Barack Obama. Stop making any reference whatsoever to any of the attack ads coming from the McCain campaign. Simply do not respond to them at all, period. Talk about the issues and how you plan to get this country back on the right track. You don't need to lay down in the gutter with the other camp, and if you do all you'll accomplish is picking up some of the stink. Stick to the high road . . . we don't need you to explain what the McCain camp is trying to do. We're smart enough to figure it out for ourselves.

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

    with this kind of nasty campainge that McCain is doing. America will never be a bettter place .He needs to stay home and take care of his grand children.

    July 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Dina-Bronx for Obama

    McCain is just ticked off because Obama is getting all of the attention, has a personality, speaks extremely well, and has a plan. He's photographed wherever he goes, and draws huge crowds. But Unlike Paris and Britney, Obama's attention is not negative. He's actually gotten America to pay attention and to "think" and to feel good for a change. Obama is "new"; McCain is "old".

    Europe welcomed Obama with open arms because they too are tired of the "old stuff", which is what McCain represents.

    Bring on the debates already!

    July 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Jason

    As I hear it, Obama might be looking at Bill Nelson, considering the race is getting much closer in Florida, I'd be a little worried about that decision considering the astronaut gig would only make him more of a celeb.

    July 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. Natasha

    So, I shouldn't vote for Obama because people around the world like him? This ad and its insinuation is completely useless. It's not THE reason I'll be voting for Obama, but it is absolutely great to have the rest of the world want to see America be restored to its values and its symbol for hope and progress. McCain should be ashamed.

    July 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. DEBBY, NJ

    Tabloid McCain!!!
    What a TROLL ... BARACK THE VOTE !!!

    July 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Experience

    This experience argument is a joke. Old people love to tout experience. Is experience a good thing. Sometimes. Experience is only a good thing if someone uses it wisely. I know a lot of people who have experience in what they do. Some are still stuck back in the 1970s and 80s and some have been able to change with the times.

    So the real question of experience for John McCain is has he been able to change with the times and able to move us into the future or is he stuck in the old style Washington politics that have been so disgraceful for so many decades. That the real question.

    July 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Janet WV for Obama

    McCain's mind is like cement–mixed up and permanently set! It is pathetic that this is all he can come up with.

    July 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Toni

    I listened to a call-in show on C-Span, where listeners seem to possess more brains than bloggers who scream "Go Obama," "Go Hillary," "Go, Anybody" as proof of their understanding of the issues.

    What I noticed was that even McCain supporters were saying that the ad was "beneath him." The problem is that, if McCain is making ads that are all the idea of somebody else, that doesn't bode very well for his possible presidency. I'm against McCain, not because of the man, but because I fear who he will surround himself with, to run the country for him ... Ala Bush-Cheney.

    July 31, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Obama photo ooops !

    Obama loves to be in front of camera.

    We dont know much about him yet, except that he had started having hip-pain even before he steps in the WH.

    July 31, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Abrown

    I Agree with Obama.
    Even right wing bloggers are calling the latest ads from McCain dissappointing.

    None of them were factually accurate. I think CNN should add a new segment called FACTCHECK and it should play in prime time

    BUt hey CNN is still a business and must show the news that's fits the entertaining storyline

    July 31, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. are you done yet?

    where are my comments?

    July 31, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Real Debate

    Who cares about the negative ads by either Obama or McCain.

    When will either candidate step up to the plate and offer SOLUTIONS to the problems we face (economic, foreign policy, energy, etc.) as opposed to just talking about the problems or attacking each other.

    Bob Barr talks exclusively about his plans to fix our broken government, but sadly gets no coverage in the mainstream media.

    July 31, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. Former GOP Member For Obama 08-12

    I think McCain and the RNC have nothing new to add that will give them the edge over Obama, it truly feel that they underestimated him and his appeal, so they have to started neg ads like this hoping that Americans are stupid and will not see through McCain and the RNC fear of this unstoppable force BHO. As a former republican and a white woman for the south, when if first learn that this bi-racial black man was running for President I dismissed him all together, because he was black, then I heard one of his speeches, wow he makes sense, so I did some research on him, Wow he is the American story! Then I watch Fox News, I could not believe all the half truths they told about the American success story.. I must say I did not start out as an Obamaican but I’m one now.

    July 31, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    Sorry, but this guy is losing the election, already, and we haven't had the Democratic Convention!

    Can someone at the DNC help this campaign out? He HAS become a celebrity!

    He has all that campaign money and he is STILL losing to John McCain! We could run Michelle Obama and SHE could have done a better job against John McCAin!

    July 31, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. T. Trent

    McCain pull up you collar, your red-neck is showing!!

    July 31, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. ProudToBeDemocrat

    what part of the ad makes you proud Old man. I can not understand your thinking Mcshame, you are running for the highest office what are you going to do for the people that are hurting there is no time for game people are hurting, 90% Americans are not rich like you with a rich wife worth more than 100 Million. So Mr. Mcshame I ask stop playing games and start to talk what you are going to do to fix the problems this nation is facing?.

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

    Absolutely spot on, Senator Obama. Call McCain on all his weak, cheap, divisive, counter-productive campaign tactics. I used to like McCain, but now I'm disgusted by him.

    July 31, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Biffington, Biff

    ok.. its like 3:20 in Atlanta... where the heck are the cnn moderators?? (getting their white house talking points at the same time??)

    July 31, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |

    That old low road Geezer McSane Bush is a has been never had it and never will have it.
    End Of Story

    July 31, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  22. Nick - Arlington, VA

    McCain is getting extraordinarily pathetic...and if the public votes against Obama because of his silly, stupid and degrading attacks we should all be unfathomably disappointed in our collective intelligence.

    July 31, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  23. Honestlady

    Come on...the ad was ridiculous. What if Obama makes an ad comparing John McCain to old people with alzheimers and dimentia due to McCain's age and his inability to remember several statements that he's made in the past? McCain would be outraged by this.

    You see...the fact that Obama is popular with people does not warrant an attack. If you don't think he's experienced enough then attack him on that. But it just doesn't make sense where Obama's popularity fits into all of this.

    If John McCain is proud of this ad, then one has to wonder about his character?

    July 31, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  24. Rich

    It's funny because the issues that McCain brings up in the ad he is also for. He has more then flip flopped, he does it in the ad. Fact check people! Don't be buy in to the dirt that is McCain.

    Anyone but McCain '08.

    July 31, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. AMGC

    "But so far all we've been hearing about is Paris Hilton and Britney Spears."


    Exactly. Stick to the issues, McCain. Hillary's campaign was about Obama, McCain's campaign is about Obama, and Obama's campaign is about us. Stick to the issues, McCain. I'm sick of the same old political game. We're tired of it and ready for change.

    July 31, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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