From NBC's Ken Strickland and Andrea Mitchell
Responding to criticism of McCain's recent TV ad depicting Obama as celebrity without substance, two of McCain's key Senate allies fired back in an unrelated news conference.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said the whole idea of the ad was "fame without portfolio." "This is a hysteria around a personality that's attractive, but when you look under the hood there's not a whole lot there," Graham told reporters. "So fame without portfolio is sort of fashionable. But leadership without experience is dangerous."
VIDEO: A TV ad released by John McCain's campaign labels Barack Obama an an empty celebrity to be compared with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Ads from Obama have hit back. NBC's Savannah Guthrie reports.
The "hysteria" Graham referenced was about Obama's recent European trip. "If you embark upon a world tour and you decided to make a campaign speech in a foreign country in front of 200,000 Germans and you act like you're already president, people may notice."
Graham then suggested that Obama may be getting too big for his britches. "He said something yesterday, basically, that he embodies everything good about America. Well, it's good to have self confidence, but you can maybe go too far."
Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Lieberman took a different tack, saying the ad simply compares the two candidates in a "creative" way and people should lighten up. "To some extent the appearance of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears -- people complain about it -- they should just relax and enjoy it," he said. The idea is to draw people into the ad. The point of the ad is really quite strong: Who's ready to lead America?"