The strategy embraced by John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign of casting Barack Obama as a feckless celebrity has been picked up by supporters of Mitt Romney in a video ad that went viral last week.
Produced by American Crossroads, a Super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, the 45-second spot, "Cool," has collected 385,000 views since being uploaded to YouTube last Thursday. It begins with a mashup of clips showing Mr. Obama sipping a Guinness, crooning a line from Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," calling Kanye West a "jackass" and hugging Jimmy Fallon , and it's sometimes overlaid with low-rent digital effects like a cluster of stars shimmering over the president while he stands in front of an American flag. It then segues to grim statistics about young, jobless Americans, including a statistic that 85% of recent college graduates are living with their parents. It ends with the question, "After 4 years of a celebrity president, is your life any better?"
According to American Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio, the spot generated 400,000 views in four days without any advertising, and the group plans to promote it with paid media next week when the president officially kicks off his re-election campaign. He also said that the video is being tested to determine whether a new version should be cut for TV.
"Cool" is reminiscent of John McCain campaign's "Celeb" that went into heavy rotation in the summer of 2008. It interspersed footage of a preening Paris Hilton and Britney Spears with footage of Barack Obama delivering a speech to adoring crowds in Berlin.
That spot went viral and has nearly 2.4 million views on Mr. McCain's official channel, but not everyone thinks that rebooting the strategy is smart. Donald Trump condemned the new ad for painting the president as a "supercelebrity, which I don't happen to think he is ."