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McCain ad compares Obama to Britney Spears, Paris Hilton

  • Story Highlights
  • New ad from John McCain calls Barack Obama "biggest celebrity in the world"
  • Ad shows images of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton
  • Obama campaign on McCain launching negative ad: "Oops! He did it again"
  • McCain campaign says reporters cover Obama as they would a megacelebrity
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From Alexander Mooney
CNN
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(CNN) -- Britney Spears, Paris Hilton ... Sen. Barack Obama?

The McCain ad also questions the Illinois senator's leadership ability.

The latest ad from John McCain implies Barack Obama is a megacelebrity -- like Britney Spears.

A new campaign ad from Sen. John McCain -- which flashes shots of the two aforementioned megacelebrities -- calls Obama a megacelebrity, too, and questions his leadership ability.

"He's the biggest celebrity in the world. But is he ready to lead? With gas prices soaring, Barack Obama says no to offshore drilling and says he'll raise taxes on electricity. Higher taxes, more foreign oil -- that's the real Obama," the ad's narrator says while crowds screaming, "Obama!" are shown.

Responding to the ad, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said, "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 ad is the latest in a string of hard-hitting television commercials from the McCain campaign. Earlier spots suggest Obama is playing politics with the Iraq war, is against funding American troops and bears some of the responsibility for high gas prices.

The campaign says the ad will run in 11 battleground states: Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. Video Watch the ad »

In a conference call with reporters announcing the ad, McCain adviser Rick Davis said of Obama's campaign coverage: "The focus on media, on events and activities, is much more something you'd expect from someone releasing a new movie."

"What we decided to do was find the top three international celebrities in the world," he said. "And I would say that from our estimation, Britney and Paris came in second and third. So from our perspective, we have the biggest three celebrities in the world."

Davis also brushed aside suggestions the ad will be viewed by the American public as going negative.

"Will people think of this as negative advertising? Look, it's the most entertaining thing I've seen on TV in a while. I wouldn't anticipate anything about this being negative," he said.

Steve Schmidt, another top McCain adviser, also said it was accurate to compare Obama to the two celebrities who, as one reporter said on the call, are often portrayed as "frivolous and irresponsible."

"I don't poll Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, but I know they're international celebrities, so apples to apples," he said.

A McCain adviser also told CNN's Dana Bash the ad targets Obama's "outrageous, narcissistic statements."

"It has not gone unnoticed by this campaign that Obama makes outrageous, narcissistic statements suggesting that his candidacy is what the world has been waiting for. Excuse me?" the adviser said. "What's going to happen when he parts the sea? What about all the fish in the middle?" the adviser said.

While Obama was overseas last week on his tour through the Middle East and Europe, the McCain campaign sarcastically addressed the Illinois senator's media coverage.

In an e-mail to supporters last week, the McCain campaign said, "It's pretty obvious that the media has a bizarre fascination with Barack Obama. Some may even say it's a love affair."

The campaign compiled clips of reporters praising Obama and made two videos set to music -- one with "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and the other to "My Eyes Adored You."

The campaign also gave reporters covering McCain in Pennsylvania a fake European press pass.

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The pass featured a shot of the Statue of Liberty in front of an American flag, and the words: "McCain Press Corps/JV Squad/Left Behind To Report in America."

The back had a picture of a man sporting a beret and a neck scarf, standing in front of a silhouette of the Eiffel Tower and pouring a glass of wine.

All About U.S. Presidential ElectionBarack ObamaJohn McCain

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