From The New York Times:
Mr. McCain’s campaign is now under the leadership of members of President Bush’s re-election campaign, including Steve Schmidt, the czar of the Bush war room that relentlessly painted his opponent, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, as effete, elite, and equivocal through a daily blitz of sound bites and Web videos that were carefully coordinated with Mr. Bush’s television advertisements.
Here’s the video in question (via the Huffington Post):
"What we decided to do is find the top three international celebrities in the world, and I would say from our indications, Britney and Paris came in second and third," said campaign manager Rick Davis. "Will people think of this as negative advertising? Look, it is the most entertaining thing I have seen on TV in a while." He went on: "It is not our campaign that is trying to make him into an international celebrity. It's his campaign... I don't know Paris Hilton and Britney Spears but they are international celebrities, so, you know, apples to apples."
I would like to think this is going to backfire on the McCain campaign. (Just for the ineptness alone: could the inset shots of Hilton and Spears be any more ham-handed?) Perhaps this time the press won’t let the Republicans control them quite so blatantly.