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. Obama all the way

    CNN how come you don't ever post my comments???

    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 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. trust

    I lost all respect for McCain this week. I'm very disappointed in the campaign that he's running.

    July 31, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. Demagogue

    It is precisely the celebrity bandwagon and star appeal that made me decide NOT to vote for Obama.

    It has been there all along- adulation, adoration, swoon effect, pop-star image.

    Obama chose to use that to his personal gain- starting with Oprah, Caroline, rock concerts etc.

    July 31, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. Christopher

    When is McCain going to start talking about real issues and stop attacking Obama. McCain reminds me of a battle rapper instead of a Presidential Candidate.

    July 31, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  5. Lila Sapon

    McCain has been in the Senate for over 20 years. There are plenty of bills that he voted on where he now takes a different point of view. I would like to see Obama bring up all McCain's past votes that are not politically correct now. Let's nail him.

    July 31, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. nola

    McCain is now acting like my three year old granddaughter when she cannot get her way. I cannot believe that a grown man would and could be so petty. MCCAIN GROW UP

    July 31, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. Dennis in IA

    McShame has lost his marbles! Same old republican garbage – we Americans are smarter than that. It is time for the news, especially CNN to step to the plate and call out poor old Johnny Boy on his miscues and words. I am glad our next POTUS Barack Obama is taking the high road with actuall talk and substance about what matters to me – the economy, gas, the war that should have never been fought. 26 years of being in Washington has cemented his old senile mind into believing that politics of the past will work – Not this time. Come up with some substance McShame and maybe we Americans will warm up to you – NOT! Obama 08!

    July 31, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. NO JFK

    It is the star pop idol image that makes me suspicious of Obama.

    I want a humble leader- not an American Idol.

    Stop the comparisons to JFK and MLK then if you don't want to exploit the celebrity appeal factor.

    July 31, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. SUE, Michigan

    This is low even for a Rove-inspired campaign. "My friends" (gag) this man will stoop to anything to get elected. He promised during the primary to run a civil, honest campaign, and has done just the opposite from day one. And then has the gall to call Obama a flipper. Honestly. Someone needs to black out "Straight-talk" on his bus, and call it "Lies and gossip" or something. It's as if they polled the people most against Obama and asked them what they were "afraid" of, and they jumped on every issue and made an ad out of it. Americans really are sick of this crap, McCain, and I can't stand to look at you any more than your mentor, GWB. Go away!

    July 31, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. SUE, Michigan

    Can you say "jealous?"

    Go Democrats! Take back the USA for democracy.

    July 31, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. momis

    McCain should be ashame of himself.... all the love I had for this guy is gone....

    July 31, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. Mike

    Obama is lying – the ad did talk about the issues. By stating he is against off-shore drilling and for taxing energy and americans it shows the difference between him and McCain.

    Obama is just as low – with his arrogant, self-righteous attitude that will hurt america for longer than Bush's policies will.

    July 31, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Why are all my comments awaiting moderaton? Gutless MSM!

    July 31, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. Ben

    I used to at least respect McCain, although I disagreed with him on most issues. But now I fear his Straight Talk Express has taken a detour through Bulls**t Town.

    July 31, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. Listen Up...

    This is such a distraction. McCain is permanently in attack mode and if constantly trying to get us to look at Obama instead of looking at what him. Enough of McCain already!

    July 31, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. reba

    Good heavens, how low can we go. McCain's campaign certainly doesn't credit the American people with much intelligence!

    July 31, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. Meave

    McCain's ads and gaffes have made me catch my breath! But right now I am closely watching the media. One of my degrees is in Journalism and I had the honor of Tony Hillerman as a professor who taught me to report straight and fact-based and not to respond to irate comments from readers speaking from their bias. Unfortunately the media isn't looking too good right now – McCain slides and headlines – at first read- appear negative to Obama. Cover them both with journalistic integrity and ignore the biased
    noise makers!

    July 31, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |

    Obama please do not be drawn in to bull crap like this. Most of American people with their heads on straight would like to hear about the issues. Not the throw sand in your eye tactics that McCain is throwing. And the ones that are backing him were not going to back you anyways. Just look at the back drop when he is speaking. It is not a true representation of America; it only represents a small portion of who America is made up of.

    July 31, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. Carlos

    This is a real shame. I used to respect senator McCain, but the more I get to really know this character, the more I learn about his idea of how the country should be run, and the more he, his surrogates, and his campaign comes up with such cheap, third world country kind of politics it makes me feel ashame he is actually running for president of this great country. We defenetely deserver better candidates.

    OBAMA '08!!

    July 31, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. Allan

    No obama. The Obama is fake. He play race card w/out provocatio, just to have sympt.... HE have made amockery out of the presidency.

    July 31, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. Sandy

    McCain, Celebs are Americans too, you are just jealous.

    July 31, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  22. Corey

    Whats worse than stupid political tricks is the fact that stupid Americans fall for it over and over and over and over again. Hence Bush 2-term.

    July 31, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  23. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Obama has the thinnest skin of any candidate I've seen run since Edmund Muskie.

    The junior senator ought to get some backbone!

    July 31, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. Independent

    I though McCain said that this will be a clean campaign?! But I guess he sell his soul to ill minded republican. Or may be he came out from his shell and showing his true picture. I always respected McCain but he is loosing it.

    July 31, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. Travis

    McWar I only wish you to do one thing......just one

    Talk about what you are going to do....not what Obama has done.

    GET THE MESSAGE?.......I won't hold my breathe

    July 31, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16