- The Washington Times - Monday, August 4, 2008

Buyer’s remorse?

Yes, many chortled over the appearance of blond starlets Paris Hilton and Britney Spears in a campaign spot for Sen. John McCain, who claimed the ad was intended to deflate the distracting celebrity of Sen. Barack Obama. You know. Just for laughs. No racial stuff. Really.

Miss Hilton’s mother is not amused. Kathy Hilton penned a terse reaction at the Huffington Post on Sunday.

“I’ve been asked again and again for my response to the now infamous McCain celebrity ad. I actually have three responses. It is a complete waste of the money John McCain’s contributors have donated to his campaign. It is a complete waste of the country’s time and attention at the very moment when millions of people are losing their homes and their jobs. And it is a completely frivolous way to choose the next President of the United States,” Mrs. Hilton wrote.

She is — or was — presumably a Republican, and with her husband, donated $4,600 to Mr. McCain’s campaign this year.

The Arizona Republican has earned some new critics in the aftermath.

“Way to go, Johnny. You just [angered] a heavy-duty donor to your party. And by the way, the Hiltons are VERY influential in your party,” noted one annoyed observer at the Huffington Post.

No word from any of Miss Spears’ relatives. Yet.

By the numbers

The “celebrity ad” itself is now a celebrity.

Sixty-nine percent of the nation’s voters say they’ve seen press coverage of the campaign spot. Of those, just 22 percent say the ad was “racist,” while 63 percent say it was not.

Most black voters — 58 percent — saw the McCain ad as racist, however. Just 18 percent of white voters and 14 percent of all other voters shared that view, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 voters conducted Aug. 1, with a margin of error of three percentage points.

Fat chance

“He has been called too arrogant, too remote and too clever, but last week Sen. Barack Obama was hit below the belt with a cruel new allegation: He may be too skinny to win the White House. Suggestions that Obama’s slim physique is a liability in a nation of mostly overweight voters marked a dangerous new turn for the Democratic contender’s suddenly vulnerable presidential campaign,” said Tony Allen-Mills of the Sunday Times of London.

Recent news reports have explored the notion that Mr. Obama would lose votes from chubby voters because he was too svelte. Well, there’s something to that — 66 percent of us are now overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The Wall Street Journal suggested that Obama might be too thin and too fit to appeal to voters who tend to like candidates with flaws that they can identify with. Several analysts noted that widely circulated pictures of a red-faced Bill Clinton staggering into McDonald’s after a short jog did the former president no harm at all; millions of Americans knew just how he felt,” the Times noted.

“Obama’s enthusiasm for exercise first raised eyebrows last month, when he stopped three times in one day for workouts at Chicago gyms, prompting an Associated Press reporter to wonder: ‘Sometimes it’s hard to tell if Barack Obama is running for president or Mr. Universe.’”

Zucker punch

You remember David Zucker, the Hollywood producer of “Kentucky Fried Movie” and other comedic extravaganzas. He is now at work on “An American Carol,” which showcases a character named Michael Malone — a fat filmmaker who wants to ban the Fourth of July. But uh-oh. The fat filmmaker is visited by the ghosts of George Washington, Gen. George S. Patton, and John F. Kennedy, who try to convince him he’s wrong.

“It’s unlike anything that has ever come out of Hollywood. It is a frontal attack on the excesses of the American left from several prominent members of a growing class of Hollywood conservatives. Until now, conservatives in Hollywood have always been too few and too worried about a backlash to do anything serious to challenge the left-wing status quo,” writes Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard.

“Zucker’s film, together with a spike in attendance at events put on by ‘The Friends of Abe’ (Lincoln, not Vigoda) — a group of right-leaning Hollywood types that has been meeting regularly for the past four years — is once again reviving hope that conservatives will have a battalion in this exceedingly influential battleground of the broader culture war.”

Actors Dennis Hopper, Jon Voight and James Woods are in the cast.

“I don’t have any desire to be taken seriously,” Mr. Zucker said. “But having said that, I really believe this stuff. Why can’t I put it out there? And I’m scared to death of Obama. If I didn’t do something about it I would feel my kids would ask: ‘What did you do in the war, Daddy?’ ”

Political currency

Sen. Barack Obama says his claim that Republicans would try to scare Americans by saying he “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills” was not meant to be an accusation of racism.

But conservative bloggers are not buying the explanation.

AllahPundit at Hotair.com noted that the Illinois Democrat makes that point repeatedly in his stump speech and often explicitly mentions his race. AllahPundit cited a June speech in Jacksonville, Fla., in which Mr. Obama said of Republicans: “We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid. They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced, and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention, he’s black?”

Other conservatives scorned the explanation — citing Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. He said that when Mr. Obama noted he doesn’t look like the faces on U.S. currency, it simply meant “he didn’t get here after spending decades in Washington. There is nothing more to this than the fact that he was describing that he was new to the political scene.”

Jimmie at the Sundries Shack sarcastically titled his rebuttal “Obama Campaign: He’s Not One of Those Washington Insiders Like John McCain, George Washington, or Abe Lincoln,” and dryly observed that Washington “was such a Beltway Insider that he was one of them even before there was a Beltway.”

Or on further consideration, even before there was a Washington, D.C.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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