McCain negative ad strategy not playing well with key national and state media

Spring Hope (NC) Enterprise: “McCain ads petty and false” – August 6

“It is sad but telling that the presidential campaign of Republican Sen. John McCain has already slipped into the gutter before the nominating convention has even been held. It would be even sadder, considering the nation’s desperate desire and need for a change in political leadership and policy, if American voters fall for the inane, irrelevant, mean-spirited, and flatly false commercials now attacking Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama.”

Lancaster (PA) Intelligencer-Journal: “All McCain has left is to strike at Obama’s image” – August 4

“While the midsummer timing may seem early in the election season to launch attack ads, they’re indicative of McCain’s predicament: being on the wrong side of popular opinion on just about every major issue in the campaign…All McCain has left is to strike at Obama’s image, and you can expect the attack ads to keep rolling out all summer long.”

Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter: – “Where Have You Gone, John?” – August 2

The youthful insouciance that for many years has helped McCain charm reporters like me is now channeled into an ad that one GOP strategist labeled ‘juvenile,’ another termed ‘childish’ and McCain’s own mother called ‘stupid.’…Without some compelling vision beyond support for offshore drilling, the negativity may well boomerang. ‘It’s hard to imagine America responding to ‘small ball’ when we have all these problems,’ says John Weaver, McCain’s chief strategist in 2000 who was pushed out of the campaign last year.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Republicans and old advisers second-guessing” McCain’s tone – August 2

“Of course, there are risks for McCain in how he goes after Obama, with some Republicans and old advisers second-guessing the tone and content of his attacks, and worrying out loud about whether McCain is putting his vaunted personal image and nonpartisan appeal at risk by sounding negative on the stump.”

Dayton Daily News: “John McCain’s campaign so far is a disappointment.” – August 2

“John McCain’s campaign so far is a disappointment. Once upon a time, he seemed – didn’t he? –like a guy who would resist turning to the slash-and-burn tactics associated with the likes of Karl Rove. He talked about wanting a ‘respectful’ campaign. He invited his opponent to share the stage with him at multiple events. He trashed certain kinds of charges made against Sen. Obama, such as those made by Ohio talk show host Bill Cunningham and Columbus-based preacher/activist Rod Parsley. But look at what’s happening now.”

Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson: McCain running “a desperate, ugly campaign” – August 1

“It’s awfully early for John McCain to be running such a desperate, ugly campaign against Barack Obama… Negative campaigning is not a pretty thing, and it should be beneath John McCain to stoop so low.”

Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz: “Even some McCain allies have winced” at his ad – August 1

“By featuring Paris Hilton and Britney Spears in an attack ad against Barack Obama, the senator from Arizona has risked charges of silliness to draw attention to his frequently overshadowed campaign…Even some McCain allies have winced at the Paris/Britney spot. Republican strategist Dan Schnur, a former McCain adviser, said that ‘most voters won’t see the parallels between a presidential candidate and two party girls. So a legitimate point about inexperience gets lost in the appearance of name-calling.’”

St. Petersburg Times: “The Straight Talk Express has taken a nasty turn into the gutter.” – July 31

“The Straight Talk Express has taken a nasty turn into the gutter. Sen. John McCain has resorted to lies and distortions in what sounds like an increasingly desperate attempt to slow down Sen. Barack Obama by raising questions about his patriotism. Instead of taking the Democrat down a few notches, these baseless attacks are raising more questions about the Republican’s campaign and his ability to control his temper.”

New York Times: McCain “has wholeheartedly adopted Mr. Rove’s low-minded and uncivil playbook” – July 30

“The candidate who started out talking about high-minded, civil debate has wholeheartedly adopted Mr. Rove’s low-minded and uncivil playbook…Mr. McCain used to pride himself on being above this ugly brand of politics, which killed his own 2000 presidential bid. But he clearly tossed his inhibitions aside earlier this month when he put day-to-day management of his campaign in the hands of one acolyte of Mr. Rove and gave top positions to two others.”

Five Ohio Newspapers: “McCain ad attacking Obama’s celebrity is a ‘zero’“ – July 30

“But lumping Obama with Spears and Hilton – two celebrities who have not exactly comported themselves in public in a Mother Teresa-like manner – seems like a dubious comparison… RATES THISAD: 0 In truthfulness on a scale from 0 (misleading) to 10 (truthful)”

Washington Post: “The attacks are part of a newly aggressive McCain operation” – July 30

“The attacks are part of a newly aggressive McCain operation whose aim is to portray the Democratic presidential candidate as a craven politician more interested in his image than in ailing soldiers, a senior McCain adviser said. They come despite repeated pledges by the Republican that he will never question his rival’s patriotism…Asked repeatedly for the ‘reports,’ Bounds provided three examples, none of which alleged that Obama had wanted to take members of the media to the hospital.”

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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