Fast Company

Paris Hilton, a Political Force

It's not just Project Runway contestants that hope to get into Young Hollywood's good graces: If The White House Correspondents' Dinner this year was any indication (The Hills' villains Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt were among President Bush's honored guests), the nation's political elite also aims to play nice with reality TV stars, party-prone socialites and other E! Channel regulars.


Which is why, FunnyOrDie.com's Adam McKay says, John McCain's campaign ventured into dangerous territory when one of its campaign ads mockingly compared Barack Obama's celebrity to that of Paris Hilton. In case you haven't yet seen the original ad, you can view it here.
"McCain made one huge mistake: He drifted into the world of pop culture. And that's Paris' world. She owns that world," McKay told The L.A. Times to explain the inspiration behind his much talked-about Paris Hilton comeback video (In case you've been in a newsfeed blackout, McKay shot the video, in which Ms. Hilton outlines her own campaign promises, and posted it on FunnyOrDie earlier this week in response to McCain's ad).

Embarrassingly, The Hiltons have given large donations to the Republican nominee's campaign. And even though we are talking about Paris Hilton here, the unofficial punching bag of our celebrity-addicted culture, she has truly emerged from this debaucle as the more sympathetic of the two. Hilton: 1, McCain: 0. Even Obama hasn't managed a more persuasive, or a better-publicized, counterpunch.

Sure, while Paris delivers her video monologue with surprising eloquence and a charming, self-mocking glimmer in her eyes, she appears tensely focused while outlining her energy plan that would combine the best of Obama's and McCain's platforms. I assumed her to be concentrating on cue cards, but according to McKay, she appeared in his video without compensation, and memorized the entire script.

Whether you trust McKay or not, it's clear that he and Paris have taken the slightly lagging campaign coverage to a new level. Obama-buttons still haven't lost their cool-factor, but thanks to the combined exposure of Paris's fictional campaign and Scarlett Johansson's private email to Obama, the rest of the E!-channel crowd may just be inspired to enter 'energy plan' into Wikipedia.

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  • Rachel King

    Young Hollywood got involved in the 2004 election to some extent (i.e. the "Vote or Die" campaign), but this is unbelievable. I am curious, however, to see how much of it will influence and actually get more younger voters out on November 4.