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. Mark Wagner

    I love when McCain supporters come on here and say "Look at Obama, he is launching negative attack ads!" simply because the ad that is being ran (the DNC ad in this case) is telling the truth.

    August 15, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  2. LLMTruth

    McCain sending two representatives to Georgia? Ahead of Condi Rice even. I have just three words for him; 'The Logan Act'. It is a punishable offense. Go ahead and Google it.

    The audacity to call Obama presumptuous..... This guy is a joke. A blood-thirsty maniac, no doubt.

    BTW, in Denver he stated that if diplomatic efforts fail, he would not rule out other options. I thought Bush was president. Is this guy a madman or what?

    All you clowns that vote for him, don't waste any time go straight down to your nearest recruiters office and enlist in whatever service you choose. Especially those that think this kind of rhetoric is what this country needs. This nut-job WILL get us involved in another conflict, but this time of a much greater magnitude.

    He is absolutely insane, and anyone who votes for him is too...

    August 15, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  3. NUTTER!!

    TO- Paul .... Shame on you DNC. For corruption, look at Obama who used racism against Hillary and now against McCain. He stole the election from a superior candidate. NO it was Bill that used Racism
    plain and simple she LOST...Take this DOLLAR help her pay her DEBT!! .....SHAME on YOU!!!

    August 15, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  4. JA Cook

    John McCain, Phil Gramm, Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed.... all birds of a feather.

    August 15, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  5. dollorbil

    Why won't you let me post my comment? CNN is the most biased blog I have ever tried to post on. Anything bad about Mc Cain you are ready to put it up but if you try to blast Obama you won't let it be posted. I cry foul.

    August 15, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  6. dittohead with forty names

    I love John McCain and Rush Limbaugh and beleive every word they say.

    August 15, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  7. Tommy

    Rethuglican's...what else is new. You and the has been Hillary supporters still cry like the schoolyard bully when someone fights back. What a bunch of McWhiners.

    August 15, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  8. TJ ca

    Have any one of you checked where Obama is getting his campaign money besides Oprah? Delve into it, you may be surprised. Speaking of Oprah I think he should have her for VP maybe she could help fund Obamas' impossible promises that would cost more than the Iraq war to carry them out.

    August 15, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  9. Debby

    OH PLEASE DNC your Obama is connected to Rezko, Wright, that bomber and his wife and I am sure others that are not mentioned. This add isn't going to fly with Obama's past dealings.

    August 15, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  10. DMC, USA

    Obama/Clinton, please. Annouce and this bickering will be shut down.

    August 15, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. proud army and navy mom

    John Mccain is entrenched in the corruptness of DC.

    he has sold his soul to bush and his henchman, so that he could secure the repugs' nomination. too bad bush and repug party can't stand him.

    August 15, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. John McShame, Obama Is Going to Tax You & Cindy, but Not Me & 95% Americans Making < $250,000/Yr

    where is McShame Keating 5 and his criminal gangs story?!

    McCain's worth over $100 million... He owns 10 houses... He flies around on a $12.6 million corporate jet... He walks around in $520 loafers. If John McCain lost his Social Security, he'd get by just fine. Would you?"

    More: "John McCain wants to gamble with our Social Security... John McCain started receiving Social Security when he turned 65. But now he has a risky scheme to privatize Social Security - threatening our benefits."

    August 15, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. Cindy

    To DMW and anyone else who plans on writing in a vote for Clinton. She can not win, so therefore you are basically voting for McCain. Every democratic vote that is taken in spite is hurting our party and america. If you would rather vote for Clinton just to make a point, your point will be well taken when McCain is voted in and your rights to choose and make same wages as men are taken from you (don't think that can happen...wait and see). I sure hope you who are frustrated will stop and think hard and cast your vote for the nominee who represents your beliefs.

    August 15, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. CM

    The handful of Red staters on here are laughable at best with their Rezko (sp) retorts. McCain continues to provide jobs for the shady characters.

    Who here is naiive enough to think that politicians and the people they deal with are all squeaky clean? Do you check the backgrounds of everyone you have dealings with?

    The PUMAs need to come out and just say they have no purpose in life and are another swift boat group. I watched the clip on MSNBC's Hardball with the PUMA leader and some other joker and they were properly schooled with the facts. PUMA as an organization can only raise $50k? What happened to the 18 million disenfranchised voters you had in your corner?

    August 15, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. Stupid Neo-CONS

    You neo-cons are funny. If obama says say he is not strong enogh...while you Neo-Con Christians lie your man to the office. Then when Obama says anyting to fight say, he is so fake..." I thought he was above regular politics"

    NEO-CONS and Conservative are becoming more to be NEO-Dummies and Prodummies!!!

    August 15, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. JJ

    Why does CNN Ticker always seem to highlight the McCain ads on your home page? It seems you never highlight Obama's ads about McCain on the home page.

    August 15, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. MikeH

    Don't get to wordy with these ads or you'll do the John Kerry blunder.

    Link McCain present to McCain past, work in the Keating 5 scandal and say John is just as corrupt as he ever was.

    August 15, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. DAVID




    August 15, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  19. cwonucsub

    I expect the McCain campaign to launch videos shortly before the November election that will ruin Obama's election chances. There is enough negative issues about Obama to make it clear to American voters that he is unfit to be president.

    August 15, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. SDunn

    dmw August 15th, 2008 6:54 am ET

    Well the DNC just opened up Obama to his connection to Rezco. I love how quickly the DNC and Obama, who claim they are so above it all, goes into the mud. I am sure there excuse will be, the RNC and McCain started it! All of these men bore me.

    I am voting for Hillary Clinton in November.
    This isn't mud this is truth! There is a difference and I'd doubt the RNC would go anywhere near Rezco when all the false accusations regarding Rezco have already been dealt with. Also McCain has to walk lightly when it comes to scandals because the DNC can bring up Keating 5 for McCain. I'm sure McCain does not want to hear about that again in the media, but I do think new voters have a right to know.

    Also DMW please waste your vote and vote for Hillary you'll be doing all of us a favor, thanks.

    August 15, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. Lost (maybe) in CNN Moderation


    FYI! According to the article you apparently didn't bother to read it was the DNC who did the ad.

    August 15, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. Jeff

    Tom in SA: How can Reed possible go to jail? Bush judges will find him innocent, and he is such a good, caring Chirstian, concerned only with the welfare of his fellow man. Not a greedy bone in his hypocritical body. I cannot think of these neo-con Christian types without becoming ill.

    August 15, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  23. MD

    FINALLY!!! Democrats should attack McCane on other "moral" issues such as his affair with Cindy while he was still married to his handicapped wife.

    They should have pictures of his homes as backdrop of their ads. Come on Democrats get started!!! McCane is a sleeze ball that must be exposed.

    CNN– Don't be afraid to print this, please.

    August 15, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  24. Valerie

    It's only fair. Since the republican's are so worried about airing Obamas' "dirty laundry" then I guess they won't mind if we bring up all of McCain's.

    And since John Edwards affair is so shocking and newsworthy even though he's out of the race for president and holds no public office, then shouldn't we be devoting even more of that conversation to John McCain leaving his first wife for a young, rich hottie who was half his age? I wonder if John McCain would have ever been as successful as he is in politics without his "Sugar Mama?"

    August 15, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  25. SDunn

    All Right August 15th, 2008 9:35 am ET

    What a dirty and sleazy campaign Obama is running. This guy is the lowest and he claims to be different…so much for change.
    And the type of campaign McSame is running is actually honorable? You people are so ridiculous.

    August 15, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
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