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McCain's "Celebrity" Ads Succeed -- In Distracting

09/13/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Everyone has of course seen the new McCain ads, attacking Barack Obama, calling him, "The Biggest Celebrity."

On one level, the ads are failing miserably. One of the tactics of the right is to beat Obama or anyone, not by highlighting their own abilities, but by marginalizing others. Comparing Obama to Britney Spears, or Paris Hilton, is intended to depict Obama not as a strong and masculine leader, but instead as an air-head socialite who's abilities are lacking. Luckily, in this, the ads are not succeeding at all! I can't find one person who, because of these ads, believes that Obama is simply a celebrity and not a capable candidate or future president of the United States. It is just not the case. There is no way that John McCain is going to successfully present a graduate of Harvard Law as someone who goes around Los Angles from party to party without a care in the world. Thankfully, John McCain, the American people are smarter than that.

However, McCain's ads still are working, and quite effectively, on another level. The point of a political ad is to set an agenda. It is to get people to see your view, and to paint yourself in a positive light. John McCain is very much setting the agenda for traditional media with these ads. Yes, they're ridiculous ads. No one can actually take them seriously as logical arguments -- even people in the McCain camp have to realize how ridiculous they are. Yet, they are still making their way on to every traditional news media outlet. Every commentator is going around talking about the ads. Every new show is inviting people from the McCain camp to defend their side, and get their word out.

These ads are drawing more attention to the McCain camp than ever. Yeah, it's difficult after seeing such an absurd advertisement, not to address it. Obama should know that if he is talking about these ads, even to critique them, it is putting McCain out there. Obama should be setting the agenda, not McCain. But these ads are making it increasingly difficult for him to do so.

Obama needs to have advertisements that are not viewed as proportional responses, but simply as advertisements for his campaign, projecting his message. If the McCain camp is going to fall so low as to make comparisons to Moses and Obama, then bless their hearts -- that is their choice. Obama needs to continue to put out ads talking about what he has done, talking about what he can do, and talking about what he will continue to do. There were 85 million potential voters who didn't vote in the last election. Obama needs to let them know what he can do for them. McCain is so out of touch with society, he doesn't even know this populations exists. If your only way to reach out to the American people is to minimize the other guy then, John McCain, you should know that is more like a celebrity feud than anything Obama has been involved in.

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