Posted by: David Kiley on July 30, 2008
The war of hot button words is revving up in the Presidential campaign. In John McCain’s newest ad today, the McCain camp calls Barack Obama, “the biggest celebrity in the world.”
The word “celebrity” tested very negatively with voters, essentially linking Obama with Angelina Jolie and Madonna. “Celebrity” equals superficial for voters, people who are well known for being well known. This is the approach to advertising that gave us “Death Tax” and “Family Values.”
It’s smart strategic political hardball.
It is starting to look like the McCain campaign, as I have said before, is pursuing the Rove strategy—-relentless, daily attack. This ad goes after Obama’s position against off-shore oil drilling. This is an issue that has plenty of opponents who reason that more off-shore drilling won’t change the price of gas at the pumps. But in focus group testing, voters like it—along with a gas tax holiday.
One of the Rove principles of political advertising—agree with the voters even if they are wrong.
McCain strategist Steve Schmidt said Wednesday that Barack Obama is the biggeest celebrity in the world, and that Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, also seen in the add, are second and third. It’s useful to note that Schmidt pulled this information out of his you-know-what, and that there is no third party measurement of this that Schmidt could cite or that I could find.
On the call today, Schmidt personally echoed a canard that Obama has a track record of supporting tax hikes on people in the $32,000 income bracket. Weeks ago, www.factcheck.org debunked this.
Said www.factcheck.org: “The McCain campaign claims that Obama voted to raise income taxes on individuals who earn as little as $32,000 per year. That’s wrong.
The resolution Obama voted for would not have increased taxes on any single taxpayer making less than $41,500 per year in total income, or any couple making less than $83,000. The $32,000 figure is approximately the taxable income of a single person making $41,500 per year, after all deductions and exclusions.
Obama’s vote (for a non-binding budget bill) does not change the fact that his own tax plan would provide a tax cut of $502 for a non-married taxpayer earning $35,000.”
The Rove/Schmidt strategy may seem like throwing paint bombs at a white house. But here’s the thing. If you throw enough paint bombs long enough, the house changes color.