http://blacksportsonline.com/index/skeletor.jpg MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE - yooooow --- Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. -- Dr. Seuss
Red is the badass who'd own you up if you sucked. Ash is the little girl who has a lvl 100000000 pikachu that cant beat a lvl10 elekid --- "We've already been brainwashed by the first 2 games, so that we'll like anything calling itself Golden Sun."- Tetirs
I'm probably an idiot for taking this seriously, but here goes.
As far as the characters go, Red and Ash are very different. Yes, they started out very similarly as idealistic, naive and somewhat arrogant stock heroes determined to prove themselves in competition. And they were both based on the protagonist from Red/Blue. The difference is that Red was allowed to mature, while Ash can't, or the writers won't be able to cycle him through another region.
That, of course, is using Red from the manga. If you're going by the character from Silver Cave, he's yet another character based on the hero of the originals. "..." represents the silent protagonist bit, while his team consists of the four starting Pokémon from the originals, plus two notable limited Pokémon from the same games (an evolution of the single Eevee you get from Celadon and one of the two Snorlax).
In terms of which character has the closer parallels to him, it's going to have to be manga Red. Said character caught a Pikachu in Viridian City, has owned both a Venusaur and Charizard at one point in the manga (even if owning Charizard was well after Gold/Silver), caught a Snorlax during a bicycle race, and owned a unique Eevee that finally evolved into an Espeon while he was recuperating in Mount Silver's hot springs.
So I guess the true answer to this age old debate (10 years...) is Red =/= Ash or Red.
Everytime you say Ash and Red are the same person, many keyboards get wet. --- I am sooo sleepy. People get up way too early in these parts. I got dragged out of bed. For night owls like Selkies, this is downright painful.