McCain defends new campaign ads

August 1, 2008 5:11:56 PM PDT
Republican John McCain on Friday defended his campaign's new Web ad mocking Barack Obama as a presumptuous messianic figure, saying it was important to "display a sense of humor" in the presidential contest. The new ad, with a voiceover calling Obama "The One," features clips of the Democratic contender appearing to describe himself and his presidential quest in grandiose terms - saying such things as, "This was the moment when the rise in the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal." The ad ends with Charlton Heston as Moses parting the Red Sea in the movie, "The Ten Commandments."

The ad was not set to air on any television stations, so the campaign was counting on it to attract viewers by circulating broadly on the Web. Still, it was McCain's latest attempt to caricature his rival as an overweening but empty media phenomenon, coming on the heels of the campaign's new television ad juxtaposing Obama with lightweight celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan slammed the Web ad, saying the Arizona senator was "spending all of his time and the powerful platform he has on these sorts of juvenile antics."

McCain insisted he was running a "respectful" campaign and brushed off complaints from critics and even some supporters that his tone had taken a sharply negative turn in recent days.

"I don't think our campaign isn't negative in the slightest," McCain said. "We think it's got a lot of humor in it, we're having fun and enjoying it ... we'll continue to fight and scrap all the way to November 4."

McCain also reiterated his contention that Obama had injected race into the campaign, a day after McCain's campaign manager accused the Illinois senator of "playing the race card" by suggesting Republicans were trying to scare voters away from Obama because he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

"I didn't bring up the issue. Senator Obama did," McCain insisted.

On the Net: