New McCain ad brings back celebrity theme

Apparently, Paris Hilton hasn't deterred the McCain campaign from attacking Obama as "the biggest celebrity in the world."

Published August 6, 2008 4:03PM (EDT)

Apparently, despite the criticism it's taking for its latest strategy -- and the defection of key political figure Paris Hilton -- John McCain's campaign believes its current narrative about Barack Obama as a celebrity is working.

On Wednesday, the McCain camp released another ad that attacks Obama as "the biggest celebrity in the world." Unlike its predecessor, this latest spot isn't a straight negative ad; it juxtaposes the message about Obama with a positive one about McCain.

"The real Obama promises higher taxes, more government spending -- so, fewer jobs," the announcer says. "Renewable energy to transform our economy, create jobs and energy independence? That's John McCain."

There are some obviously misleading things about this message. First of all, Obama wants renewable energy too, and this ad implies he doesn't. And the ad is also clearly intended to make the viewer believe that he or she will pay more in taxes if Obama becomes president, something that's not at all guaranteed. As Time's Michael Scherer, a former Salon reporter, wrote in a recent article, Obama "would raise taxes on those who make more than about $200,000, in some cases by significant amounts ... But Obama has also proposed a whole range of tax cuts ... The net effect, according to experts in both campaigns and independent analysts, would be a reduction in government revenue over 10 years. In other words, a tax cut."

The McCain camp says that the ad will be cycled into the buy it already has in battleground states.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama John Mccain R-ariz.