Kerry was asked by moderator Tom Brokaw if Obama thinks that he is being picked on because he is black. He answered, “No. What he was saying is they’re trying to scare you. They’re trying to scare the American people. And, believe me, I’m an expert on how they do that. They are engaged in character assassination, even John McCain’s partner in a number of initiatives in the Senate, Russ Feingold, said yesterday, “They’ve decided they can’t win on the issues, so now they’re going to try to destroy his character.” And that is exactly what this ad (Celeb) is calculated to do.”
Later Kerry said that the Republicans are doing this because they can’t win on the issues, “No, he (Obama) was talking–what he was talking about is this campaign to scare about the person, and that’s what they do. They try to scare about the person. They try to attack the character. They can’t win on health care. They can’t win on the economy. Eighty-five percent of the people in the nation know the country’s moving in the wrong direction.”
Lieberman defended the ads as humorous fun, “First off, you know, we all ought to relax a little bit. It’s, it’s a bit of humor. It’s a way to draw people into the ad. Incidentally, the McCain campaign has another ad up in which they seem to be comparing Obama to Moses. So, in my book, that’s about a good comparison as you can ask for. I should say, in “The Book,” it’s about a good a comparison as you should ask for.”
Even if one accepts Lieberman’s explanation of the ads, the point is that John McCain is making jokes about celebrity while 50 million Americans have no healthcare. McCain isn’t talking about issues while tens of thousands of jobs are being lost. Kerry is right. John McCain can’t win on the issues, so he has to create distractions with negative ads. The country wants change and the premise of the McCain campaign is that we should have as little change as possible.
I think that the McCain celebrity ad has flopped. Paris Hilton isn’t happy with being in the ad and her mom Kathy blasted it today as a waste of time and money. It should be noted that Kathy Hilton is a McCain supporter and donor.
I also don’t think it is a good idea for the McCain camp to be pointing out how popular Obama is. It is counterproductive to show pictures of Obama addressing big crowds in your own advertising. This whole discussion should serve as a reminder that beneath the attacks, the GOP is offering more of the same, and in a change election this is a certain path to defeat.