McCain’s “celebrity” criticism strikes a chord with Obama

Seems that Obama isn’t taking a liking to McCain labeling him as a celebrity. At least, his campaign has aired two ads responding to McCain’s comparison of Obama to Parish Hilton and Britney Spears.

Story from Yahoo News:

HARRISBURG, Pa. – In a presidential campaign freighted with war, recession and energy woes, a jibe featuring Paris Hilton, of all things, seems to have struck a nerve in Democrat Barack Obama.

For the second time in two weeks, he aired a TV ad Monday rebutting Republican John McCain’s claim that Obama is little more than a celebrity, like the blonde hotel heiress.

The first time, Obama dismissed the assertion as “baloney.” On Monday, Obama took a different tack with a commercial that says McCain, not he, is “Washington’s biggest celebrity.”

The back-and-forth may seem as frothy as a boardwalk milkshake in mid-August. But it suggests McCain is making some headway in trying to fight the campaign on his terms.

For weeks, Obama has tried to frame the election largely as a referendum on President Bush, using every chance to tie McCain to the unpopular incumbent. McCain has tried to make it about Obama by arousing concerns about the first-term senator’s experience and depth.

McCain has aired a series of TV ads that showed far more images of Obama than himself, a somewhat risky approach. All of them tried to turn Obama’s crowd-pleasing talents against him.

A July commercial blaming Obama for high gasoline prices — which the watchdog group called “a tank full of nonsense” — portrayed crowds chanting Obama’s name. A subsequent ad mixed images of Obama on his recent European trip with video clips of pop figures Hilton and Britney Spears.

Obama is “the biggest celebrity in the world,” the announcer said. “But is he ready to lead?”

Even some Republican strategists questioned whether the strategy was smart or dignified. And Hilton herself produced a video poking fun at McCain that drew large Internet viewership. But Obama’s latest ad suggests the “celebrity” taunt has some sting, and efforts to dismiss it as silly have not been effective.

It was a funny ad and I think the Obama campaign worries that the label might stick with middle America.