Opinion: Barack Obama’s ‘celebrity’ zinged again by John McCain ad


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In politics, when a campaign finds a theme that seems to connect, it gears up to keep pounding and pounding and pounding that message into the collective consciousness.

So it is with John McCain and his merry band of aides, who obviously believe they’ve struck gold with their bid to define Barack Obama as little more than part of a rarefied -- but insubstantial -- strain of American culture. Note the very first word in a 60-second radio ad McCain unveiled today:


Announcer: Celebrities like to spend their millions. Barack Obama is no different. Only it’s your money he wants to spend. Obama’s got plans -– big plans -– for your money. Eight hundred sixty three billion in new government programs – a 23% increase in the size of government. Massive spending. That will lead to even higher budget deficits. Piling more debt on the backs of your children and grandchildren. Even Obama’s hometown newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, says Obama has “no interest in eliminating deficit spending.” They’re right. So no wonder Obama wants to raise taxes on your income, your electric bills, even your life savings. Ready to tax. Ready to spend. Not ready to lead. That’s the real Obama.

The new L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll indicates the ‘not ready to lead’ charge is resonating among voters.

As for the celebrity angle, Variety’s Ted Johnson has pointed out all facets of the GOP message machine should be in ridicule-overdrive next week, given that the Democratic National Convention is expected to be awash with well-known figures from the entertainment world.

One of them -- Oprah Winfrey -- may be trying to make her presence low-key, but the coverage of what she and her fellow luminaries are up to no doubt will be extensive -- perhaps to Obama’s detriment.

-- Don Frederick

(UPDATE: Obama campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan says of the new ad: “Yet again, John McCain makes another false, low-road attack while he’s offering just more of the same Bush economics that have failed us for eight years. The choice is simple: Barack Obama will give a real tax cut up to $1,000 to 95% of working Americans, while John McCain will follow in Bush’s footsteps, adding to the deficit with huge tax breaks for oil companies and other special interests. No matter how many false negative ads John McCain runs, Americans can’t afford more of the same Bush policies that John McCain promises.’)