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Reality Check: McCain Ad Labels Obama As A Celebrity, Not Leader

Published On: Aug 07 2008 05:23:59 AM CDT   Updated On: Aug 07 2008 08:26:49 AM CDT

A new John McCain ad has become well-known not because of its claims but the other public figures who make an appearance.

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It's not often that the candidates in an ad are overshadowed by others who appear. But that's the case with the "celeb" ad from McCain.

While much of the buzz about the ad centers around who is in it, we'll start with what it says, which isn't all on the up and up.

"With gas prices soaring, Barack Obama says no to offshore drilling," said the ad.

This is true. A previous WISC-TV analysis discussed Obama's opposition to offshore drilling and his reasons, although his position on the matter has shifted to saying he could support drilling conditionally if it was part of an energy policy including renewable fuel incentives among other things, a WISC-TV analysis found.

Let's move on.

The ad continued, "And, says he'll raise taxes on electricity."

The WISC-TV analysis found that this is misleading. McCain's justification for saying this is an interview Obama did in February with a Texas newspaper. He was responding to a question about whether to tax wind energy to fund education. Obama's response was to tax "dirty energy" before taxing wind but that he'd really prefer local communities step up to cover the cost.

Taxing "dirty energy" refers to a cap-and-trade policy for greenhouse gas emissions that most argue would raise the price of electricity, but you should know that McCain supports the same plan although he doesn't call it a tax.

"He's the biggest celebrity in the world. But, is he ready to lead?" said the ad.

This needs clarification. Obama is a celebrity, but if you consider that celebrity means a famous or well-known person, so is McCain.

The ad uses video from Obama's recent speech in Berlin in front of a crowd of 200,000 to make the leap that he's more famous than Britney Spears or Paris Hilton.

What's implied by the connection with the two women who happened to top an Associated Press list for worst celebrity role model is that Obama wouldn't be ready to lead, a WISC-TV analysis found. That's, of course, for you to decide.

Hilton, who appears in the ad, has posted a "response" of sorts on the Web site She said she assumes she must be running for president as well and thanks the "white-haired dude" for his endorsement, WISC-TV found.

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