August 15th, 2008
07:10 PM ET
10 years ago

New DNC Web video tries to link McCain to Abramoff scandal


WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Democratic National Committee’s is taking on John McCain in a new Web video calling into question his reputation as a campaign finance reformer and a maverick who stands outside the inner circles of political dealings in the nation’s capital.

The online video accuses McCain of “cozying up” to the “cronies” of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pled guilty in 2006 to federal charges of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials.

The video takes issue with McCain’s fundraising ties to Ralph Reed, a former business partner of Abramoff. “While most people now see Ralph Reed as a tainted man raising tainted money, John McCain sees him as a source of campaign cash,” a narrator in the video says.

Reed recently sent out an e-mail that urged Republicans in Georgia to attend a planned Republican National Committee fundraiser for McCain scheduled for next Monday in Atlanta.

The Democratic National Committee said that Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, will call for McCain to cancel the planned fundraiser in a conference call with reporters on Friday morning.

Update 7:10 pm: Alex Conant, spokesman for the Republican National Committee released the following statement in responce to the DNC's new web video: “It’s laughable Democrats would try to make this a political issue, considering John McCain led the Abramoff investigations and has record of fighting to reform Washington, while Barack Obama’s brief political career already has its own fundraising scandals.”

(full script after the jump)

Script, DNC Web ad “Tainted”

VOICEOVER: “On the campaign trail, John McCain claims that he fought to expose Jack Abramoff and his corrupt cronies…”

MCCAIN: “And I led the investigation.”

VOICEOVER: “It was a scandal that rocked the country, linking all the way to the Bush White House and Republicans in Congress, sending two former Republican Congressmen to prison.

“But, now, desperate to raise campaign cash to run more negative attack ads, John McCain is cozying up to Jack Abramoff’s cronies.

“Ralph Reed, a key business partner of Jack Abramoff helped the convicted former Republican lobbyist launder 2 million dollars through a front group to finance a gambling campaign.

“Now, Ralph Reed has signed up to raise money for John McCain. Reed has even been appointed to McCain’s Victory 2008 Team.

“Ralph Reed’s murky connections to Jack Abramoff run so deep, it cost him a race for Lt. Governor in Georgia.

“While most people now see Ralph Reed as a tainted man raising tainted money, John McCain sees him as a source of campaign cash.

“John McCain – more of the same old politics.”

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (251 Responses)
  1. JDC // NE Ohio

    Looks like a dirty, mud-slinging "campaign" ahead!

    August 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. Patrick Gloeckle

    That's almost funny, McCain calling anyone's plan a disaster! I thnk that's what we have right now from the current leadership, an economic disaster. McCain's lobbist friends will insure he never has to face those kinds of realities, as well as his wife's money to fall back on if that dries up. McCain's a dinosaur from a different generation and is going to require require too much sleep and Rx to keep up with the Presidency. His election would feel like a when those old Russian guys kept becoming the new leaders of their country – old, frail men clinging to old ways.

    August 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Dane

    @empty vessel

    Why don't you actually look at his reason which does make sense:

    "There was some suggestion that we might be able to craft something that might meet constitutional muster with respect to caring for fetuses or children who were delivered in this fashion. Unfortunately, this bill goes a little bit further, and so … this is probably not going to survive constitutional scrutiny. Number one, whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a — a child, a nine-month-old — child that was delivered to term. That determination, then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it — it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute."

    –Barack Obama

    In layman's terms: If we are considering babies at that stage people, kids, etc., then we should really take a look at abortion period. If we are considering them people, then we are only accepting the child because he/she didn't die. So aborting that child would essentially be murder if that child had died. This could kill Roe v Wade

    Personally, I don't agree with abortion. While I don't agree, I do understand where pro-abortion people are coming from. This seems like a reasonable response from somewhat of that nature (even though pro-abortion people supported the bill).

    Furthermore Obama did support the federal bill.

    But to vote based on abortion is ridiculous. Bush used that crap in both campaigns and has done what????? NOTHING!!!!!

    Just the same old thing to get Evangelicals who don't care about anything else but abortion (sarcasm guys and gals) to vote for them.

    And for your information a bill protecting live infants HAS BEEN LAW IN ILLINOIS FOR 20 YEARS ALREADY!!!!!!!!!
    [Illinois Compiled Statutes, 720 ILCS 510/6]

    August 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Joe

    Next time, the headline should be "MCCAIN calls Obama's Economic Plan a Disaster". It's apparent where your loyalty LIES, CNN.

    August 15, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. gary

    what a sad pathetic country we have become. everyone is right, while everyone else is wrong. for a nation built on democracy, we have become an intolerant bunch of wretches blaming "the other side" whether it be democrats, republicans, extremists or your neighbor. that's right america... hate and criticize everything while your government flushes your civil rights and paycheck down the toilet. rather than attempting to compromise we fuel ourselves with anger while we plummet away from what this country is founded on. for this, we all deserve the pain headed our way.

    August 15, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |

    The obama campain and especially the DNC have NO business talking about negative campaining. The proof is in the pudding. Obama and the DNC are no better than the republicans. Still voting for Hilary

    August 15, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. Janey/Michigan

    Obama has been smearing McCain with ageism and racism comments since the beginning. That did not work and McCain continues to rise in the polls. Now he is trying to smear with the money trail. I still do not understand how Obama gets so much money when he can't even top Hillary Clinton with number of voters. Can anyone tell me how the "bundles" money laundering works? There must be a trail somewhere!

    August 15, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. creighton

    Question for CNN, why are some story comment lines closed out so much sooner than others. The story on McCain's new attack ad on Obama's eco plan was closed out after just 25 comments. It was posted later than this story but closed much sooner. Why?

    August 15, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. arc, Lugano CH

    dmw August 15th, 2008 6:54 am ET
    Well the DNC just opened up Obama to his connection to Rezco.
    I am voting for Hillary Clinton in November.
    The RNC and the McCain campaign are already well aware of the weak Rezco allegations. As much as you hope, I don't think your post offered them any new 'ground breaking yet false' ammunition.

    After all it was Hillary who first attempted to bring them to light during her losing gender victim-anthem, bigoted sewer campaign.

    Make sure to pack a warm blanket for your Denver parking lot rally.

    August 15, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  10. Gerry

    It's about time the democrats start telling the truth about John McCain.

    I also hope they run an ad showing how disasterous his military record really is.

    August 15, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. Annie

    Don't let one more Obama supporter let cross his lips that Obama is running a clean campaign or a positive campaign. He has attacked just as much in a more negative way that McCain or Clinton ever did. This is just another example of say one thing and then do another. Obama and his suporters are just and if not more negative and condescending than any other campaign that has ever been run. Too bad once again Obama says one thing and then stands by and lets his campaign and supporters do the opposite.

    August 15, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. vic nashville,Tn

    Life long Democrat voting for Mc Cain
    I am proud of my self I voted for good democratic candidates in 1992, 1996 and 2000
    2004 also I voted for democratic candidate now I regret for that I would have stay at home that day
    This time my vote for Hillary or Mc Cain
    I am not ready to vote for inexperience candidate Obama
    Hillary 08 or Mc Cain 08

    August 15, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    McCain's 30 years in Washington is only beneficial to himself and cronies like Reed.

    August 15, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. ztormtra

    It is laughable to try to link McCain to the scandal with Abramoff. For over 30 years mCcain has proven himself to be honorable and trustworthy; not even asking for any pork barrel (earmark) money for his state.

    Obama has asked for & Gotten millions in pork barrel spending & now we discover he beleives in killing babies who are born alive after they are aborted.

    The bible says that in the lasts days that men shall make evil to be good and make good to be evil & it took the DNC & the media to do it.

    August 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. Carl from MI

    McCain and the Repuglicans have set the tone alright... the tone for SLIMEYNESS!! The more you educate yourself with the facts... the more you will see right thru the shallowness and failed policies of Bush AND McBush.

    Besides... after the whole 'tire gauge' incident', it’s OBVIOUS that the GOP prides themselves on being ignorant. Way to go, GOP!! 'Ignorant' is the new 'Cool'.

    McCain's campaign staff is just LOADED with lobbyists, it's no wonder they're tied to Abramoff. The GOP party is ENTIRELY about the money... about scandal and dishonesty... why do you think we've been calling it a 'Culture of Corruption'? They are just rife with it... overflowing, to be exact. This isn't an opinion... just count all the scandals in the news over the past 8 years. Let the facts speak out!! Even McCain has the Keating 5 and his infidelity. Remember that??

    McCain is just another Bob Dole... lacking in luster and electability, and empty suit that will do or say anything to get elected. He has no character or substantial policies of his own, so all he can do is attack, attack, attack. They may have been great Veterans, but they're both lousy politicians. WAKE UP, AMERICA!!

    August 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. Teresa chicago

    Wait and see when John Mc will piick as a vp his salamander patch Joe Lebermann !!!We will have War III and economic disaster!!Go Obama GO!!

    August 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. George

    Why is it when I say I am going to vote for the smart candidate , people know I am saying Obama?
    How can a Clinton supporter get behind a Republican candidate ?
    One who voted to investigate forward with Ken Starr?
    Why does Republican hate radio call Obama a flip flopper when some of his positions align with theirs?
    Why do people want to see our nation internally rot , so long as a white guy is the gate keeper?
    Will anyone pay for GWBs sins ?

    August 15, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. Chas in Iowa

    I wish the DNC would do a piece on family values.
    Then we can talk about the way John McBush threw his wife and family under the bus when he returned from Vietnam.
    If it wasn't for his trophy wife and "beer bucks" he would be a shadowy memory like Mitt,....what was his name?
    He threw the religous right under the bus in '04 but they seem to have a short memory. I'd like to see the DNC remind America of that.

    August 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Octogenarian

    It's interesting to see how many Obama haters out there thats showing their true colors. I guess once this thing is over, everyone will know where they stand . We don't have to go to war in Iraq or any other country, because the enemy is right here in our own country. There will never be unity because those of you that are bigots will always remain true to your ancestors beliefs that if you are BLCK, stay back!

    August 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. proud army and navy mom

    the repugs only have about three people blogging, so they have to use others names to make people think lots of people like mccain. how sad for them.

    If it not pro-Obama, it's not me. a true army, navy mom

    August 15, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  21. tedious898

    I know that the Repugs and PUMA's feel that Obama is "bad for america"....But I ask you; Why wouldn't the smarter voter pick the smart guy?

    Ok....the smart voter doesn't include those that believe John McClueless has plan. But for some reason there are a load of really dumb american's that believe that being in the Senate for 26 yrs, and consistently screwing up and making the wrong decision, is the best leadership for this country. What????

    John MCan't is a senior citizen that couldn't even balance his check book.

    August 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. James , Houston, TX.

    McCAIN : "NO MAS, NO MAS" !! Sir, Yes Sir , Rupert !

    August 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. Joe Kiloz

    A sign the Obama camp is growing more desperate. Despite

    outspending McCain by far and for an extended period of time, Mr. Obama

    is not closing the sale with centrists. Worse of all, his camp again

    demonstrating with this ad that Mr. Obama is not about "Change," in fact,

    he is a poster child for Chicago style under the table politics which have

    served him well in the past in his backyard. I can't wait to see first

    hand Obama's accomplishments in public housing in Chicago. I was

    there recently and saw the delapited conditions tenants live in,

    despite years and years of multi millions of dollars thrown away there.

    That's the kind of change Mr. Obama is proud of.

    August 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. Octogenarian

    Never have I seen anything like this and I am ashame that in this day and age, our children and grandchildren have to face this kind of hatred.
    Hillary was not liked among her people, but running against an African American, she is suddenly admired by so many. Those supporters were never going to vote for Obama anyway. Why would anyone want to vote for someone whose husband disgraced the white house and if she were chosen as vp would bring that baggage with her. That being the case, why criticized John Edwards. At least he wasn't in office.

    August 15, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. B J

    There are so many that are calling McCain, McBush, Bush's third term, etc. Taking a comment by the McCain camp, if Obama is elected it will be Carters third term.

    August 15, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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