Election 2008

campaign advertisements, campaign ad, 2008 election campaign ads
Mary Altaffer/AP
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, and his wife Cindy are introduced
during a town hall meeting at the Racine Civic Center in Wisconsin. (AP)

How Low Will the Campaign Ads Go?

August 01, 2008 03:18 PM
by Liz Colville
A television ad released July 30 by McCain’s campaign compared Obama to celebrities like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, but it’s certainly not the first of its kind.

30-Second Summary

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Ariz . Sen. John McCain’s ad, called “Celeb,” questions Ill. Sen. Barack Obama’s preparedness to lead the nation, calling him the “biggest celebrity in the world” and showing footage of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, as well as footage of Obama’s well-attended July 24 speech in Berlin.

A McCain spokesperson told the press that the Republican candidate’s team researched the most popular celebrities in the world and named Barack Obama, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton as the top three based on their findings.

Responding to the ad, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor quipped, “On a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Sen. McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another. Or, as some might say, ‘Oops! He did it again.’”

The McCain campaign has suggested that the ad—as well as other remarks about Obama’s media attention—should be seen as humorous rather than negative.

The Obama campaign employed several journalists’ remarks in its July 30 counter-ad, which focused on McCain’s “same old politics” and made counterstatements about the Republican’s economic platform.

Some have hailed this as the beginning of a character-based ad season, where more focus will be spent on the candidates’ biographies and demeanors than their stance on the issues but, if so, it certainly will not be the first time in presidential campaign history.

Headline Link: 'McCain Ad Compares Obama to Britney, Paris'

Background: A history of dramatic, critical and lighthearted campaign ads

Opinions & Analysis: The effect of the ‘Celeb’ ad

Reference: ‘Celeb’ ad, Obama’s response, ‘The Living Room Candidate’

McCain’s “Celeb” ad can be viewed on YouTube.
Jonathan Martin reproduces Obama’s response to the ad on Politico.
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