By Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate John McCain isn’t letting Paris Hilton distract him from his new line of attack — that Barack Obama is more of a celebrity than a leader.
McCain on Wednesday released a second television ad that paints Obama as a celebrity, following an earlier ad that linked his Democratic rival in the November election to tabloid staples like Hilton and Britney Spears.
The new ad avoids any mention of Hilton or other Hollywood types, but covers similar ground.
“Is the biggest celebrity in the world ready to help your family?” the ad asks, over ominous music and slow motion images of Obama appearing before an ecstatic crowd. It says an Obama presidency would lead to higher taxes and fewer jobs while McCain would create jobs and energy independence.
The Obama campaign called the ad misleading and said Obama would provide tax cuts for a greater proportion of Americans than McCain.
“Another day brings another dishonest attack from John McCain,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said. “It’s time to retire these old policies and bring new energy to America.”
McCain’s first ad, released last week, was widely panned by pundits and denounced as cynical by Obama. McCain staffers believe the approach has helped them wrest control of the news agenda after weeks in which Obama dominated media coverage.
Hilton herself mocked the 71-year-old McCain as a “wrinkly white-haired guy” in an online video in which she jokingly declares her own candidacy and outlines a plan to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
“I want America to know that I’m, like, totally ready to lead,” says a swimsuit-clad Hilton in the video, posted Tuesday on the Web site Funny or Die.
McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said: “Paris Hilton might not be as big a celebrity as Barack Obama, but she obviously has a better energy plan.”
(Editing by David Wiessler)