In the latest salvo over John McCain's much-dissected TV ad comparing Barack Obama to such lightweight celebrities as Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, the Democratic National Committee posted a web ad today that suggests McCain is violating a pledge to run a civil race.
The ad uses footage of McCain at a town hall meeting in Wisconsin on Thursday being asked about his past pledge to run a respectful campaign -- then repeats him saying he is "proud of that commercial" with shots of Spears and Hilton.
"Itís disappointing that John McCain is proud to engage in the dishonorable politics of the low road rather than talk about the serious issues the American people care about. Clearly McCain and his campaign don't understand that voters want to hear big ideas about the big challenges our country faces, not more of the same old politics that do nothing to create jobs or provide tax relief for middle class families,Ē DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney said in a statement.
The celebrity ad, which has been panned in many quarters, is the latest in a string of negative ads from McCain against Obama questioning his stands on Iraq and his readiness to be president.
Obama's campaign, meanwhile, sent out a compilation of fellow Republicans criticizing McCain over the ad.
"Senator McCain decided this week to steer his campaign down the low road, launching a daily litany of false, negative attacks -- culminating in an ad comparing Barack Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. But as Senator McCain goes farther and farther negative, fellow Republicans are beginning to speak out," the campaign statement said. "Allies and supporters from Karl Rove to Pat Buchanan and former McCain strategist John Weaver are criticizing McCainís low-road ads and tactics, worrying that his new negativity undercuts his credibility and his core appeal."
UPDATE: The Republican National Committee today launched the latest missive on Obama's celebrity status -- an interactive website.
"There, users can participate in a multiple-choice game in which they must identify who said it: Barack Obama, or one of his fellow celebrities," the RNC announcement said.
The website includes such Hollywood stars as Matt Damon, Jessica Biel, and Cameron Diaz.
"Users will be surprised to find out who said what. Think you know who said, 'I didnít expect it to come so quickly. Itís been hard to keep up with. Thereís been articles in the papers that say Iíve got too big for my boots but people who know me say Iím just the same'? Or how about this gem: 'Anybody gone into a Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?' Celebrities say the darndest things."
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.