New McCain Ad Attacks Obama

The McCain Campaign tries to turn Obama’s popularity against him in a recent political advertisement. Showing images of Paris Hilton and Brittney Spears, the ad implicates Obama as an inane image lacking substance, and targets Obama’s position on off-shore drilling and taxes.

The ad, while being effective in its presentation, skirts along the thin division between character attack and policy disputes, one that both candidates are dancing between in recent weeks.

Jonathan Martin of Politico.com writes, July 30, 2008:

“Celeb” represents a risk for McCain. His campaign seems to have made a conscious decision to use Obama’s enormous appeal against him, with the hope that Americans will ultimately vote for the more familiar and less glamorous option. But by acknowledging Obamamania, they also reinforce the sense that the young Democrat has created an unprecedented and perhaps historic movement. It’s quite a concession from somebody who himself was once a media darling and is close to a household name. They’re trying to inflate Obama to tear him down — but they also could just enhance his stature and send more buzz, money and supporters his way.

The ad, which was teased on Drudge, will be cycled into the same 11 states where McCain is already on the air, an aide said, promising that this is a real buy.

Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor responded by tsk-tsking McCain for his negativity and channeling one of the figures in the ad.

“On a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Senator McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another,” said Vietor. “Or, as some might say, ‘Oops! He did it again.’ Our dependence on foreign oil is one of the greatest challenges we face. In this election the American people have a real choice — between Obama’s plan to provide tax rebates to American families while creating a renewable energy economy in America that frees us from our dependence on foreign oil, and Senator McCain’s plan to continue the same failed energy policies by handing out nearly $4 billion in tax breaks to oil companies while investing almost nothing in the new energy sources that represent our future.”

Mark Memmott and Jill Lawrence of USA Today, July 30, 2008:

McCain campaign chief agrees that, like Spears and Hilton, Obama is “frivolous and irresponsible:”

The McCain campaign just held a conference call with reporters to discuss the ad. Campaign chief Rick Davis was asked at the end if the McCain team is saying that Obama is — as Spears and Hilton are perceived — “frivolous and irresponsible.” Davis agreed that is a message the ad is intended to send.

For the full official response by the Obama campaign, click here.