From NBC's Andrea Mitchell
Obama senior strategist David Axelrod called into the 1:00 pm MSNBC hour to respond to McCain's latest TV ad. Having watched McCain campaign policy adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer defend it, Axelrod called in and said the latest ad is both "sophomoric" and "negative."
VIDEO: NBC's Andrea Mitchell talks with John McCain's policy advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer about a new ad by the Republican presidential candidate that says Barack Obama is the biggest celebrity, but he is not ready to lead.
When asked about the ad's attempt to link Obama with Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, Axelrod replied, "I think the most important reference in the ad was Britney Spears, because as it said in the [Obama campaign] statement, she has that song in a paraphrase 'Oops, he did it again!' Sen. McCain has been criticized in papers all over the country -- Factcheck.org -- for the tactics he has taken in the last several weeks, and the ads that he has run including one that blames Barack Obama for the energy crisis and so on."
He continued, "And in the words of USA Today yesterday, it's baloney! And the thing that is sad about it is that Sen. McCain entered this campaign as someone who was going to elevate the debate and talk about the future, and that is the reputation he had. And instead, we get some very familiar tactics. And it makes you wonder who is running the campaign, who is making the decisions, who is behind all of this. This isn't the John McCain we expect."
When told the McCain campaign's charge that it was the Obama camp who ran the first negative ad of the general election -- which was a response to an RNC TV ad hitting Obama -- Axelrod added: "The real point is we have got serious, serious challenges facing this country, including a genuine energy crisis. And we ought to have a real discussion about it. Instead, we get sophomoric, negative ads that are completely false. There are things in that ad that are fundamentally wrong in terms of what Sen. Obama's position is."
*** UPDATE *** Obama just responded outside of Bell's Restaurant in Lebanon, MO: "You know, I don't pay attention to John McCain's ads, although I do notice he doesn't seem to have anything to say very positive about himself. He seems to only be talking about me... You need to ask John McCain what he's for and not just what he's against."