McCain defends "Celeb" ad

Accused of flip-flopping on a pledge to run a clean campaign, John McCain says, "We're proud of that commercial."

Published July 31, 2008 6:41PM (EDT)

John McCain has been under fire from all sides recently for his campaign's negative ads directed at Barack Obama. He has been criticized by the press, by some of his Republican allies, even by one-time confidant John Weaver. On Thursday, the criticism was directed right at him, from a woman who attended a town hall he held in Wisconsin, but even under pressure he defended his campaign's now-infamous "Celeb" ad.

According to ABC News' Political Radar blog, the woman -- referring to McCain's promises to run a respectable, issues-focused campaign -- said to the presumptive Republican nominee, "It seems to me that you've flip-flopped."

McCain denied the accusation. "All I can say is we’re proud of that commercial," he said. "We think Americans need to know that I believe that we should base this campaign on what we can do for Americans at home and how we can make Americans safe and prosperous and that's the theme of our campaign ... I'm proud of the campaign we've run."

Obama himself criticized McCain on Thursday. Speaking in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Obama said, "Given the seriousness of the issues, you'd think we could have a serious debate. But so far, all we've been hearing about is Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. I mean, I do have to ask my opponent, is that the best you can come up with? Is that really what this election is about? Is that what is worthy of the American people?"

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz.