"Given the seriousness of the issues, you’d think we could have a serious debate," Obama said. "But so far, all we've been hearing about is Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. I mean, I do have to ask my opponent, is that the best you can come up with? Is that really what this election is about? Is that what is worthy of the American people?"
The crowd yelled: "NOOOOOOOOOO."
"Even the media has pointed out that Senator John McCain -- who started off talking about running an honorable campaign -- has fallen back on predictable political attacks and demonstrably false statements. But here’s the problem. All of those negative ads spending all this time talking about me, instead of talking about what he's going to do, that's not going to lower your gas prices…
"It's politics as a game," Obama said. "But the time for game-playing is over. That's why I'm running for President of the United States of America."
Big cheers from the Iowa crowd.
And from this North Carolinian.
Actually, my first reaction when seeing the "celebrity" ad was incredulity. McCain is running an ad that mostly points out how UN-charismatic McCain is in comparison with Obama? Is he TRYING to lose? But wisely, Obama decided not only to hit back, but to stay on message while doing it.
For years, the conventional wisdom has been "ignore attacks, no matter how scurrilous. If you mention them, you just dignify them." But that's pre-blogosphere thinking, a mindset from before the time when the networks saw it as their job to pick up and magnify every smear by repeating it over and over and over, thus giving the shit merchants free air time, while piously telling us that the accusation was itself a story.
Obama knows better than to follow that "conventional wisdom.." Obama, as I said, knows you have to hit back, hard. More importantly, he knows to stay on your core message while doing so. That message is: McCain is the past. McCain is old ways of doing things. McCain is everything you've gotten sick to death of in the past eight years.
It's a brilliant strategy, because it goes right at the heart of Honorable John's own manufactured "maverick" image. It points out that that image is a sham. Take this response:
Get that? John McCain. Same. Old.
But the beauty of it all is: the ad doesn't stop there...it doesn't just attack. It goes on to to say why you should vote for Obama.
This Obama guy might actually win this thing.