The McCain camp is losing it. They are acting flat out mean and nasty. They are now saying that Obama is using the race card. How desperate they must feel for attention. Yes, Obama is black and he will make observations that are true and not racist. This is a ploy to try and get in front of the racist card because these internet smears are racist in nature. Davis also denied the reports in Business Week that McCain would have run an ad against Obama if he had visited wounded troops in Germany. OK, Rick..
(h/t Christy) Rick Davis, (Uber-lobbyist via FDL) John McCain's campaign manager, was like a pit bull against Andrea Mitchell today on MSNBC---filibustering and revealing the type of campaign Republicans are used to running. Mean, nasty and out of control. Watch this lengthy exchange and you'll see what I mean.
The use of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton is not about being a celebrity to me, but more about morals. Why is Paris famous? A porn video. How is Spears staying in the news? Custody battles and rehab. When ex-McCain campaign man John Weaver said these attacks are childish:
Breaking his silence about the campaign, Weaver said that the attack ad likening Barack Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton "diminishes" and "reduces McCain on the stage.""There is legitimate mockery of a political campaign now, and it isn't at Obama's," Weaver added. "For McCain's sake, this tomfoolery needs to stop.
Davis shot back that that was why he wasn't helping McCain now. You see, he wouldn't lower himself to these types of Rovian attacks. The attacks that McCain was subjected to in 2000. Obama's worldwide popularity is historic and Obama is historic because he is the first African American as the Democratic nominee for president. Rick Davis said that Obama wasn't historic. Wake up, Rick. Facts are facts. Goober Graham and Lieberman tried to defend the scurrilous Spears/Hilton ad this way. (Please read below the fold) Take the AOL Poll below too
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Andrea Mitchell did get intimated by Davis as the long interview progressed. That's what Republicans are good at. They bully everyone that gets in their way. There's a lot to talk about in this interview. Please watch it and discuss.
Did you catch Lieberman's response:
Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Lieberman took a different tack, saying the ad simply compares the two candidates in a "creative" way and people should lighten up. "To some extent the appearance of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears -- people complain about it -- they should just relax and enjoy it," he said. The idea is to draw people into the ad. The point of the ad is really quite strong: Who's ready to lead America?"
Where have you heard 'just relax and enjoy it' before?
Ron Brownstein responded this way via the Political Base:
Here's what political journalist Ron Brownstein just told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell in a live interview a few moments ago:
Andrea Mitchell (MSNBC): Ron, Rick Davis said that this is Obama playing the race card. What is your take on this?
Ron Brownstein: Rick Davis said something that astounded me, that he can't imagine where Barack Obama was thinking that the McCain campaign was introducing race into the campaign. Andrea, there are a lot of famous people in the world: Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Bruce Springsteen, Bono. All of them are globally more famous than Paris Hilton or Britney Spears. And yet, when trying to illustrate their argument about celebrity, the McCain campaign chose the images of two young white blond women to flash those images immediately adjacent to Barack Obama and, you know, we have seen this move before. In many ways, this ad is reminiscent of the ad that the Republican National Committee ran against Harold Ford -- who is now a commentator on this network -- in 2006, and I think the McCain campaign should be asked much more firmly why they chose these particular celebrities to illustrate the point. If you want to make the point that he's a celebrity, Tom Cruise is not more globally famous than Paris Hilton? Is that really a plausible argument? What are the things that those two people have in common? They were young white blond women.
Full transcript. It's worth a read.
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: And joining us now on the phone is Rick Davis, John McCain's campaign manager.
Thanks so much, Rick, for joining us today.
RICK DAVIS, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Thanks you for having me, Andrea.
MITCHELL: First of all, let me play you a bit of sound of Barack Obama, who yesterday, was talking about the scare tactics and what the Republican's are trying to do.
This was Barack Obama, yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, nobody really thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face. So what they're going to try to is make you scared of me. You know, he's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. He doesn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills, you know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MITCHELL: Now, in response to that, you said, Obama played the race card and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It was decisive, negative, shameful and wrong.
Explain to me, Rick, how is what he said playing the race card?
DAVIS: Well, I think it goes well beyond that.
First of all, that is one of three instances yesterday that Barack Obama said the same thing in three different locations in Missouri.
Second, (INAUDIBLE), his campaign actively has been feeding to journalists, all night last night and all day today, the notion that somehow, something we had done in our campaign, of which I could not identify for you today, was somehow-had racial overtones. Third, liberal blogs all around the country were actively pursuing this, this morning. Which I can only assume didn't come out of the blue.
And so, I just wanted to make it clear. And to be honest, I don't know how else you explain the quote that you just played other than to believe that somehow Barack Obama was calling something we had done racist, or something that we had done with racial overtones. Otherwise, I don't know what else he was talking about.
MITCHELL: Well, let's talk about the celebrity ad.
Now, the Obama campaign is responding to that, of course, because they're take on it is that you are comparing him to two people, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, who are famous basically, for doing nothing.
Whereas, he is a United States senator and the Democratic nominee.
You know, how do you defend the ad?
DAVIS: Well, I think it's very simple.
You know, what we did is we looked at three of the top celebrities of our time. And if you look at what the campaign that Barack Obama has waged, you would have to say that he's become one of the global celebrities of our time.
I mean, even your last-
MITCHELL: That's your definition. I mean-
DAVIS: Dr. Thompson said, I mean, this isn't interesting? She said, he's a major figure in world history.
I agree he's a major figure in the world. I don't know so much about history. He hasn't been in the United States for very long. And he was only a state senator for a short period of time. So, I don't know what her history is.
But, the reality is, that he is a celebrity. I don't think anybody would deny that fact. And I think you can compare him to two other people with great global name recognition and a huge fan base. And when you have an event that we used in the ad, like he had in Germany, where 200,000 of his fans show up, honestly I don't know if Britney Spears could get 200,000 fans in Germany, today.
MITCHELL: But you could compare him to a lot of other figures.
You could compare him to political figures, to world leaders.
Why compare him to two pop-stars-
DAVIS: I mean, Andrea, do you not believe that Barack Obama is a celebrity?
I mean, when I'm-
MITCHELL: That's not the way I would define him. I think the word celebrity-
DAVIS: He's on the front cover of every tabloid. He's on the front cover of every magazine. He's on the front cover of every you know, you know, celebrity journal that you've seen.
MITCHELL: He's on the front cover of news magazines, Rick.
DAVIS: -- that he's a celebrity. I can't believe that anybody would think otherwise.
MITCHELL: He's on the cover, as is John McCain, of the new "Time" magazine. That's a new magazine, not a tabloid, not a celebrity magazine.
DAVIS: -- take a presidential campaign overseas.
Look, there aren't supporters overseas. There's nobody in Germany other than the ex-pats who are going to vote for Barack Obama. These are fans. What else would they be?
And so, I think that you're just declaring the obvious when you say 200,000 fans showed up, an event in Germany to celebrate his fame. I mean, do we really believe that you know, the political event that he put on there was for the purposes for getting votes in Germany? No. I mean, it's a celebrity event.
And I think that that's a simple thing. Look, the reality is, you're missing the really important part of this which is, you know, just because he's a great celebrity doesn't necessarily mean he's ready to lead the country. And let's talk about what we think one of the most important, pressing issues were.
You were just talking about it on your show. And that's the distinction between whether we want to act today and get together trying to solve a problem of energy by allowing there to be drilling, or whether you want to take Barack Obama's position, which is siding with the Democrats in Congress to keep a moratorium against trying to create new offshore sources of oil.
MITCHELL: Rick, let me ask you about John Weaver, one of your former colleagues in the McCain campaign.
And he said that, John-John McCain has been a celebrity, ever since he was shot down. Obviously back during the Vietnam War, whatever that means. And he says, I recall Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush going overseas and all those waving American flags. There is legitimate mockery of a political campaign now, and it isn't at Obama's. For McCain's sake, this tomfoolery needs to stop.
How do you respond to John Weaver, a Republican and a McCain supporter?
DAVIS: You know, I think this is just one example of why John Weaver hasn't been involved in this campaign for over a year.
And were you guys ready, by the way, on the whole subject on visiting the troops, not visiting the troops at Landstuhl (INAUDIBLE)?
Were you ready with an advertisement as some has suggested, in case he had visited the troops, to criticize him for doing it while on a political trip?
DAVIS: No. I mean, frankly, we learned about the trip from the media.
We, like many people in the media, weren't very well informed in what details of Barack Obama's trip was going to be. But, when we learned about it you know, it was disappointing to us. Because I am very confident that the soldiers at Landstuhl would have enjoyed a trip and a visit by Barack Obama. So, from our perspective, you know, look, we think he made a mistake in judgment. We think those are the kinds of things that people are evaluating.
And look, Andrea, I think that you know, the public surveys that at are out this week, indicate that you know, that not everybody's been as crazy about his trip besides the Germans who attended his event.
MITCHELL: How did we get so negative here in this campaign?
I can feed you both sides, taking shots at each other. How did we go so off track? You have John McCain, the happy warrior, who survived the 2000 campaign barely, because of you know, the negative attacks and was (INAUDIBLE) by that. But vowed never to let that happen again.
And you have Barack Obama, a new paradigm in American politics. Two guys who say that they were going to be different.
How did this come to such a negative pass?
DAVIS: First of all, you know, I wouldn't describe John as at all bitter about the 2000 election. It was one of the greatest activities and moments of his life. He had an incredibly uplifting experience from that. The millions of people who supported him.
So please, I mean, I wouldn't refer to anything-
MITCHELL: OK. I won't use that term. You're correct.
DAVIS: Our campaign has embarked upon an effort to defend John McCain since Barack Obama won his nomination.
Every single day that Barack Obama has been out on the campaign trail, he's attacked and attacked and attacked John McCain. There are many days and many instances I could show you where they held the same stage where John McCain never mentioned Barack Obama's name and Barack Obama viciously attacked John McCain.
The first that was ad ever run that was a negative ad in this campaign was run one month after Barack Obama won the election by his campaign, not John McCain's. So, the reality is, many people say that the McCain campaign has been on the defense for some time. And to some degree, they're right. Because what we've had to do is defend it ourselves against the ongoing attacks by the Obama campaign that started immediately after his nomination.
MITCHELL: Rick, that first ad was a response ad. It was an energy ad in July and it was a response to a Republican National Committee ad.
The first negative ad in this campaign that any of us can find-excuse me just a second, was the RNC ad-
DAVIS: The Democratic National Committee viciously attacked John McCain in three different ad cycles three and a half months before that.
So, I mean-
MITCHELL: That was before this nomination was decided.
DAVIS: We didn't attack Barack Obama at that time. You know, he wasn't even the nominee. But the Democratic National Committee spent a lot of time saying some very unscrupulous things that Barack Obama did not push them back on.
And when anybody in the Republican Party said anything that was (INAUDIBLE), who was the first person to publicly go out and say, hey, this is inappropriate. We're not going to have that kind of dialogue in our campaign-John McCain.
MITCHELL: And let me just correct myself for a moment.
I wasn't saying bitter-I didn't mean to say that. What I meant to say is that John McCain came out of 2000, saying he would not resort to negative campaigning because of what he experienced in South Carolina, which certainly would have left a lot of other people embittered. And he came right back and was the happy warrior.
And I'm just asking whether the whole tone of this campaign on both sides, has now deteriorated, degenerated, to a level that the American people a pox on both their houses.
DAVIS: Well, I think that's a lot of hyper activity on the part of the media. They think that in the first month since Barack Obama has won his nomination, the campaign that this campaign has stooped this level.
We are running ads that we think attract attention to the issues that we think American voters care the most about. That is trying to get this country out of an economic and energy crisis. John McCain has a specific plan to do that.
We've talked about that in every ad we've run. It is a clear and distinct difference between the plan that Barack Obama has. Which is basically, go slow. And as far as he's concerned, you know, the rising gas prices, just-you know, he's only a little worried about the fact that they're rising so fast, not that they're rising. John McCain wants relief for people who are pressed by energy prices and that's what our ads talk about.
MITCHELL: I wouldn't say there you go again. But, clearly, there's a lot of, a lot to say about the allegation that Barack Obama wants gas prices to go up.
But, let me ask you about this quote. You said, only celebrities like Barack Obama-there's that "C" word again-go to the gym three times a day, demand Met-Rx chocolate roasted-peanut protein bars and bottles of hard to find organic brew-Black Forest Berry Honest Tea and worry about the price of arugula.
So, is that your campaign, you know, stick right now? That he is sort of out of the mainstream, elite, going back to you know, some of the attacks that the Clinton people tried during the primaries against him.
That he does not fit with working class, aspiring voters?
DAVIS: Well, look. I'm going to let working-class, aspiring voters make that judgment themselves.
But, these are all things that Barack Obama has as part of his daily routine. And so, look, there's nothing more personal than a presidential campaign. Those we're not the ones who report things.
Those come out of news reports by folks like you, you know, who make a regular habit of talking about the every detail of our candidate's livesboth John McCain's and Barack Obama's. And so, it's not like we are out there digging up what kind of iced tea that he likes to drink.
MITCHELL: But Rick, do you think that focusing on whether or not he eats peanut protein bars and or this, is part of a dialogue? I mean, is that what you really want to be campaigning about?
DAVIS: Oh, ®MD+IT¯®MDNM¯I don't think-honestly I don't think we are focusing on it. You're the one bringing it up, today. It's in the course of an ongoing dialogue that these things are all in the public domain.
I mean, you know, you can ask that question of every reporter that's covered Barack Obama. Why they felt compelled to write those things.
S, I mean, all we're doing is accumulating the interesting amounts of information generated by the news media about Barack Obama and putting that together in a public domain.
I mean, at what point in time does that not become something that can be entered in the political equation. What does John McCain talks about? John McCain talks about his plan to get this country out of an economic crisis, his plan to get sources of oil immediately so that we can bring down the cost of gasoline.
And those are the things that I think you should focus on those things as well.
MITCHELL: Well, those are the things that Barack Obama focuses on and John McCain.
So, one just wonders about the trivialization of this by some of the attacks and counters, that's all.
I'm happy to talk about more substantive issues next time.
DAVIS: Well, I'm happy to talk about more (INAUDIBLE) issues the next time I come on your program.
MITCHELL: OK, we will do that.
Thanks very much. Rick Davis, who is a celebrity on the political circuit, if not a celebrity like Britney Spears. What can I say?
Rick, thank you very much.
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