I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it seems that the new McCain ad criticizing Obama for being a celebrity has ruffled some unintended feathers. I, for one, quite liked the ad, but I hear whispers from the inner campaign staff that the phone was burning off the hook today with calls from Paris Hilton’s grandfather, William Barron Hilton (co-chair of the Hilton Hotel empire), furious that the McCain ad drew an unflattering comparison between Obama and his own granddaughter.
It seems that the elder Hilton has donated $18,400 to the McCain campaign, and $35,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the last couple of years. (Paris’s father, Rick Hilton, has given an additional $6,900 to the McCain campaign. Suffice it to say, he’s none too pleased either.)
Apparently, the elder Hiltons had breathed a sigh of relief that Paris was starting to get her act together since hitting rock bottom with her stay in jail last year, when all of a sudden the McCain ad compares her unfavorably to Britney Spears and Barack Obama.
I suspect that heads will roll at the McCain headquarters - if not within the staff, then I wouldn’t be surprised if Steve Schmidt starts looking for a new consulting firm for the next round of ads. This is a reminder to my brethren at the Campaign: don’t bite the hand that feeds us.
Paris Hilton isn’t just a tabloid tart to be tossed around willy-nilly. She’s the living brand name of one of America’s most successful global corporations. It’s no wonder her grandfather’s upset: every time Paris is in the news, fewer people stay at their hotels. Try explaining that to The Blackstone Group - the hedge fund firm that bought into Hilton Hotels last year. Blackstone chairman Peter G. Peterson gave $30,800 to the McCain campaign this year. Guess who also called the campaign today?
Oh well. So much for my comped room at the Minneapolis Hilton for the convention.
Update: Here’s a few related posts to this item I posted last night. From all ends of the spectrum: