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John McCain ad again questions 'celebrity' Barack Obama's leadership credentials

August 6, 2008 | 11:40 am

John McCain and his aides clearly have decided that labeling Barack Obama a "celebrity" is a theme worth thumping.

In the wake of a 60-second ad that gained attention Tuesday both for returning to first principles for McCain -- stressing his "maverick" image -- and skewering President Bush's second term economic record, the Republican's presidential campaign today unveiled a 30-second spot that begins with an image of Obama and invokes the C-word.

This time, there's no link to Paris Hilton or Britney Spears. The spot simply asks: "Is the biggest celebrity in the world ready to help your family?"

Not much need to guess what the answer is.

McCain advisor Carly Fiorina -- who is in the mix as a vice presidential pick -- offered the latest defense from the campaign to criticisms that its spotlight on Obama's celebrity status is a trivial critique.

"There is not question that Barack Obama is a celebrity" Fiorina said today on MSNBC. And, by extension, it is legitimate to ask whether he's ready to lead.

The new ad is unlikely to generate the buzz sparked by the Obama/Hilton/Spears spot -- or by Hilton's much-publicized response video.

The latter, which surfaced Tuesday, was widely interpreted as payback for McCain. But the astute observers who put out MSNBC's "First Read" offered this take:

"With so many problems at home and abroad (the poor economy, high gas prices, war in Iraq, escalating violence in Afghanistan), we’re loathe to spend another day talking about Paris Hilton, but here we go.

"While her new Web video takes direct shots at McCain and his age, it seems to only help the Arizona senator. Why? Because it keeps the memory of McCain’s initial shot at Obama alive."

-- Don Frederick

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