Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Andy McKenna hires media consultant who created McCain Obama "biggest celebrity" spot


There are at least six Republicans running in the Illinois gubernatorial primary and one more may be on deck. The challenge for the staid Andy McKenna, the former chairman of the Illinois Republican Party running for governor, is to put some sizzle in his campaign to see if he can break out of the pack.

Toward the end, he hired as his media consultant Fred Davis--who, as John McCain's media guy last summer created one of the most memorable spots of the campaign--hitting Barack Obama for being "the biggest celebrity in the world," comparing him to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

"We don't do normal political stuff," Davis told me. "We build excitement and buzz."

Besides McKenna, the field so far includes businessman Adam Andrzejewski; State senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard; political consultant Dan Proft and DuPage County Board chairman Bob Schillerstrom. Former Attorney General Jim Ryan is also mulling a run.

McKenna lacks "political pizzazz" and Davis said his job is to "put some spark and energy in the campaign" without "destroying" the essential McKenna-- a guy I cannot visualize delivering a stem winder of a speech.


The famous McCain ad Davis made mocked Obama's popularity--a touchy subject in an Obama camp concerned about the then presumptive nominee being seen as an empty suit.

The narrator in the spot says of Obama, "he's the biggest celebrity in the world" and then shows pictures of the two high profile celebs. That McCain spot followed the "Berlin" video produced by the Republican National Committee--they hired a crew to tape at Obama's big Berlin speech--featuring Germans gushing over Obama in ways calculated to turn off U.S. voters.

Davis take on Obama's Nobel Peace prize win:
"It's like he won American idol withouth really having to sing."


Well we can now be sure McKenna's in this one to win it. This clearly shows that he's ready to mount a serious campaign and it equipping himself with the tools to do just that. Davis is the real deal in GOP circles-- merely him accepting the job shows he thinks McKenna has a good shot too.

McKenna is wasting his money. Republicans have more respect for Rod Blagojevich than him. Have fun wasting daddy's cash.

Great move by McKenna. I agree with Evan - sounds like he's in it to win, has a great campaign staff & is being taken very seriously by the GOP heavyweights.

McKenna was a great leader for the state Republcan Party. A decision like this only solidifies his ability to lead and his seriousness as a candidate. With these steps, other candidates should be concerned.

Great to hear that this outstanding Republican candidate has hired a nationally recognized consultant. Good move.

And he will lose because hre is supporting Mark Kirk who supports same-sex civil unions. Most Illinoisans oppose gay civil unions. That is why Kirk and Mckenna ans Murphy and any others supporting them will lose in 2010. Like Dan Rutherford.

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 15, 2009 3:31 PM.

Obama asks New Orleans students for a "pinkie promise" was the previous entry in this blog.

Durbin meets with Eric Holder to discuss Chicago youth violence; seeks $5 million is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.