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. Clare

    NEVER Barack Hussein Obama for the US President


    August 15, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  2. fella from Chicago

    What does Rezko think of all this? Barack Obama...same old dirty politics.

    August 15, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  3. republican

    to tammie from cleveland:

    Rev. Wright and many others.... right?, he is a muslim, etc.. well tell me something, How many shady people has McCain being in touch with for the last 27 years?, how many lobbying money has his campain accepted for the 2000 and 2008 election?, he claims -country frist- right? well how come he voted agaist a veterans bill that will extend education benefits for people like my son who serves in Iraq, who is 21 and has been there since he was 19. How come he slams Obama for "looking presidential" in germany with his "I'm a citizen of the world", and yet he goes looking presidential and says that "Today We All Are Georgians", what would happend if Obama had said that?, We republicans are not focusing in the issues, we are trying to tell the people that Obama is a risky choice, no experience and a celebrity... well Who was Ronald Reagan? Even president Bush, what kind of experience does he have?, his daddy was a president, but that does not inmediately qualifies him to be president...
    How come the McCain campaing does not even let him use his cell phone? they said that he does not stick to the talking points... is that the stright talk express? or the secretive white house politics he currently have?

    August 15, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  4. McCain=the draft

    How about a link to the ad... like you have when it's an ad against Obama. Reading the script doesn't give the same impact.

    McCain's top foreign policy advisor got money from Georgia. Google for more.

    August 15, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  5. Tony

    Wow! The Dems are really nervous. When you send Bulldog Waxman out to ask for a cacellation of a fundraiser, then you know it is bad.

    August 15, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  6. CJ in FL

    You know, for such an intelligent voter base, Democrats come off as some of the most angry, ignorant people I've ever seen...

    August 15, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. Toby

    On the one hand, I hate to see the DNC stoop to RNC levels. But on the other hand, that's all the American people seem to understand. So be it.

    August 15, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  8. WOW!!

    empty vessel Second time Obambi's campaign has used the WORD OLD underneath a picture of McCain. H_LL he is old .......Where is the picture .......SAME OLD POLICTICS
    Tammie From Cleveland - Look who's calling the kettle black. Obama is a disgrace to this country with his shady friends, especially Rev. Wright his mentor..McCain is a disgrace to this Country especially when it comes to Family Values Ask Carol his 1st Wife!!!

    August 15, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. Kitten for Obama

    What more do you expect from McCain, all he see is dollar signs. It doesn't matter who you are, you can be Cindy McCain or Ralph Reed. He will do anythng for millions ask his first wife. He will sell his soul to the devil that is what he did when he divorce the first wife and married a 24 year old Cindy. I don't trust him, even if I wasn't for Obama I still would not vote for McCain, I would rather have George Bush Sr.

    August 15, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. Big D

    I'm only moderately concerned about the McCain campaign's ties to a disgraced lobbyist like Reed. But I'm really concerned about the McCain ties to a paid lobbyist for Georgia. The same Georgia that is all of a sudden in the news for a conflict with Russia, and McCain is taking the opportunity to grandstand about it. I'm concerned about McCain's over-reaction to it (sending his own emissaries is presumptuous when he's not the POTUS) and his over-the-top rhetoric (we're all Georgians). Just what is the connection between the lobbyists, Georgia, and McCain? This is a blatant conflict of interest, if not something very much worse.

    August 15, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. Will-South Dakota

    McSame is old style Washington out of step politics as usual. Doesn't suprise the average everyday middle income taxpayer that McCain after 30 years in Washington OWE's alot of people and now it's payback time for McCain, same old Republican tactics, Tom Delay, Ted Stevens, the Keating Five,

    August 15, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  12. G


    empty vessel, lets go have a drink and put it in this MORON'S tab.
    (some of you people really need to learn to spell)

    August 15, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. Don

    The Obama camp can try to link Mccain to whoever they want. The hard fact is, it'll be hard to convince voters to turn away from what they know to be true and to accept a politician's version of the truth. At this point, Obama can roll out billions in ads linking Mccain to Micky mouse and no one would believe that the old man is truely Micky mouse. The linking strategy is not working...get a clue.

    August 15, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. Tim Johnson

    We shouldn't be too quick to judge the "same old politics" as wrong. Look at us, the US is still the greatest country of all history and are still in the game in keeping ourselves the best. The "same old politics" were involved in all those years. Don't mess with something that's not broken. Just because youngsters think they know a better way, please don't fall for that. The youngsters will learn, just like we did.

    August 15, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Xavier

    To all complaining that this is unfair to McCain,
    What's a matter? You like to dish it out, but cant take it in?

    August 15, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  16. William in SJ CA

    I'm John McLame and I approve this trollop!

    August 15, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  17. President McCain


    August 15, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  18. cecil

    tired voter; too long a campaign, and voter fatigue. Take a break ,
    from it all. That's what I Do.

    McCain joked. “I’ve got to say that a lot of my taste in music stopped about the time I impacted a "surface-to-air missile" with my own airplane and never caught up again.”

    Listen To The WAR Analogy. "surface-to-air missile"
    He's A Scaremonger.

    You McCain Supporters Can Have Him!
    Sen. McCain, Eats, Sleep and Thinks WAR.
    No Wonder People Call Him A Warmonger.

    August 15, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. Phil Newton, Murphy, OREGON

    Dirty money = Dirty campaign = Dirty Candidate.

    John McCain = No Maverick.

    OBAMA 08

    August 15, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. Wisest one of All

    While Hussein Nobama is friends of a terrorist. Proven fact!

    August 15, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  21. roger

    Well it was a nice try but I fail to see how this "links" Sen. Mccaine to anything improper.

    August 15, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  22. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Haha, that's a hilarious ad coming from the campaign of a politician from CHICAGO! Are you kidding me?

    August 15, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  23. John B. From New Hampshire

    Tom, apparently you did not read the article. the obama campaign did not release this ad... the DNC did. but it's good to know you pay attention!! OBAMA '08

    August 15, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  24. Ian

    Obama's campaign stragtegists need to grow a HUGE SET and get on the attack. I am a big supportoer of Obama, but he is going to get smacked around by these conservative schmucks. They will do the same to him that they did to Kerry if he doesnt fight fire with napalm.

    Obamas campaign AND the DNC both need to expose all of corruption in McCain's political career. Just sending emails to your supporters and having them read some 40 page memorandum about how Jerome Corsi's book is a lie, will not work. It's too blase. You need a NY Times bestseller about Hurricane McCain. You need to place ads exposing McCain's camp and his senile policies (He is 70 you know). GET ON THE ATTACK NOW, BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!!!

    August 15, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. RJ, CA

    Well, here comes the dirty Chicago political machine . . . was wondering when it would start up!

    Will be interesting how the "coronation" of the "emperor with no clothes" (Obama) will play in Denver, considering the world is on pretty shaky ground right now, considering Russia's threats against Georgia and Poland.

    August 15, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
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