POLITICS
08/09/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

New McCain Ad: Obama May Be "The One"

UPDATE: The Obama campaign has reacted to McCain's latest ad starring him and Moses.
This time Obama didn't personalize the response. Much smarter than how he responded yesterday to the Britney-Paris ad.

From the Obama campaign:

"It's downright sad that on a day when we learned that 51,000 Americans lost their jobs, a candidate for the presidency is spending all of his time and the powerful platform he has on these sorts of juvenile antics," said spokesman Hari Sevugan. "Senator McCain can keep telling everyone how 'proud' he is of these political stunts which even his Republican friends and advisors have called 'childish', but Barack Obama will continue talking about his plan to jumpstart our economy by giving working families $1,000 of immediate relief."

The fallout over the Britney Spears-Paris Hilton celebrity ad only appears to have emboldened John McCain's new strategy to paint Barack Obama as a witless fad. McCain's latest ad ratchets up the celebrity comparisons by putting the Senator next to one of the biggest figures in time: Moses.

McCain's strategy doesn't feel too different from a tactic Hillary Clinton used against Barack Obama in February when her campaign started to realize it wasn't going to fulfill its media-anointed mantle of inevitability. Hillary mocked Obama, telling the crowd "the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing, and everyone will know we should do the right thing, and the world will be perfect."

Making fun of Barack Obama as a Jesus figure obviously didn't help Hillary. That doesn't mean it can't help McCain. Unlike Hillary, the GOP candidate isn't the one explicitly making fun of Obama. When Hillary did it, people made fun of her. Yes, McCain's in the commercials, but only to approve them. By creating an ad campaign around mocking Obama, McCain is forcing him to comment and therefore make the ads a bigger deal. That's exactly what happened on Thursday when Obama commented on the Paris-Britney ad. Obama took the bait and did just what the McCain camp wanted him to do when he said McCain was saying he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills." Obama's comment painted himself as different, a figure of race, a person who rose up by different means, perhaps even through celebrity... Let's see how the Obama campaign reacts to this one. (Update: Obama has responded. See above.)

ABC dissects the ad to show where the McCain camp is spinning "the one" out of context:

"We are the ones we've been waiting for," Obama says, in his Super Duper Tuesday speech in California.

The narrator continues: "And he has anointed himself, ready to carry the burden of The One. To quote Barack, 'I have become a symbol of America returning to our best traditions.'"

As we covered earlier in the week, that quote was actually Obama telling House Democrats that the big crowds and enthusiastic receptions he received in Europe had less to do with him than they had to do with a desire for a new U.S. foreign policy. In a way, it was more a statement of humility than arrogance.

"He can do no wrong," the narrator says.

Cut to an excerpt of CBS's Lara Logan asking Obama, "Do you have any doubts?"

"Never," Obama says, smiling.

"Can you see the light?" asks the narrator.