Wednesday, July 30, 2008

McCain Campaign Conference Call On "Celeb" Television Ad

"Do the American people want to elect the world's biggest celebrity or do they want to elect an American hero, somebody who is a leader, somebody who has the right ideas to deal in a serious way with the problems we face?" -- Steve Schmidt

Today, U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign held a press conference call with Rick Davis, McCain Campaign Manager, and Steve Schmidt, McCain Campaign Senior Adviser, on the campaign's latest ad entitled "Celeb":

Rick Davis: "I wanted to take an opportunity to bring you up to speed on the latest phase of the campaign we've entered in to. As you know over the course of the last two or three weeks, the Obama campaign began airing an add against John McCain about two weeks ago attacking some of his positions. We then opened up the same front of that campaign by last week beginning to ad an air that contrasted Senator McCain and Barack Obama's position on drilling. This is the second ad in that series that will focus on the distinction between Senator McCain and Barack Obama on energy prices. This ad obviously also addresses a unique facet in Barack Obama's campaign that is unlike any other campaign we've seen in modern political history. A campaign that is focused on the development of an enormous image of celebrity status. It is unique I think in the political realm for the last couple, certainly last three or four election cycles. And obviously, we pay some attention to that as the ad begins.

"The point we are making, if it hasn't escaped anybody, is that, you know, these images of celebrity status and the way he has conducted his campaign to date both in the kinds of events that he has and what he says at these events -- owe more to the development of an international celebrity status than it does to a traditional campaign for President. Maybe that's what the Obama campaign has intended, and we think it is worthy of some attention by our campaign. In the early aspects of the ad, we have images of other celebrities that demonstrate that the focus of the Obama campaign has been as much to create that celebrity status of his as it is to discuss the hard issues that the American public are forced to debate during the course of this campaign.
"We believe the distinction that is made in this ad is a man who clearly has got fans all around the world owing to the unique aspect of his trip to Europe where he held the first ever political rally abroad with his fans in Germany. I think it also shows a contrast on who is ready to lead. Barack Obama's campaign and he as a candidate have talked a lot about raising taxes on energy. He has a number of quotes in the past that have talked about taxing sources of energy such as coal and natural gas, both of which make up the majority of our power generation activity in this country. He is opposed to increased drilling and dropping the moratoriums in Congress against that. And obliviously, another major facet of this campaign has been John McCain's debate on how to properly conduct the war against Islamic fundamentalism which is an issue that even though [Barack Obama] has had many opportunities to discuss, has really avoided engaging in this topic. So , I think the add obviously stands for itself.

"We wanted to give you the opportunity to show how we feel about it and answer whatever questions you might have. I think people, and maybe certain polling trends indicate this, are beginning to make a distinction between the popularity that surrounds Barack Obama as a celebrity and the kinds of events that he puts on with his adoring fans, and there is a distinction I think in the American public's mind between that and actually having a political movement based on ideas and solutions. Senator McCain is prepared to lead this country and tackle the hard issues. He talks about them every day in town halls. He answers questions. He puts out policy initiatives and he is engaged in the debate in front of the American people. We think that is a significantly different kind of debate than is going on with our opponent."

Steve Schmidt: "I would say that is it beyond dispute that he has become the biggest celebrity in the world. It's a statement of fact. It's backed up by the reality of his tour around the world. He has many fans. The question that we are posing to the American people is this, is he ready to lead yet? And the answer to the question that we will offer to the American people is no that he is not.

"When you look at this election in terms of the economic crisis we are in Senator Obama has a track record of voting to raise taxes on people in the $32,000 bracket, that's people make $41,000 a year, these are middle income American. That's bad policy. That's bad for American families. We're in the middle of an energy crisis in this country. Senator Obama is opposed to more drilling. This is economic quackery. The price of oil is something that rises and falls based on supply and demand. We need to have more domestic production. Senator Obama is opposed to that. He wants to raise taxes on other sources of energy, which is a tax on people's electricity.

"And when we look at his compilation of bad ideas at a time of economic crisis, at a time when we're in an energy crisis, when we look at his bad judgment to our to regard national security situation and the two wars we are fighting. We will pose the question -- stipulating the fact that [Barack Obama] is the biggest celebrity in the world -- do the American people want to elect the world's biggest celebrity or do they want to elect an American hero, somebody who is a leader, somebody who has the right ideas to deal in a serious way with the problems we face? And that will be the fundamental choice that Americans will make as they focus in on who to elect the 44th President of the United States 97 days from now. This is a close election. We've seen much presumption from the Obama campaign whether it is the construction of his own presidential seal and many other presumptuousness on his part and the American people will decide at the end of the day."

Listen To The Full Conference Call

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