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. Puck

    All Right:

    Nothing like the pot calling the kettle black.
    (No pun intended.) If McCain were any lower,
    he's be living underground.

    August 15, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. karen-phoenix

    McCain has his lobbiests and he was at a fundraiser with him!!! Go back and read about McCain and the Keating 5. Birds of a feather......

    August 15, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  3. sacto joe

    You know, when I read the CRYBABIES FOR MCCAIN on this site, I can't help but ROFLOL.

    What's the matter, fellas:? You can dish it out, but you can't take it?

    August 15, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  4. Rave

    It is not More of the same old politics.
    It is completely of the same old politics.
    Vote for McCain, Loose you job, Loose you home, Loose your car, Loose everything and then again vote for a Republican in 2012..
    God help you
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    August 15, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. Denise

    There you go DNC!! ! Obama is the man!

    August 15, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  6. Typical White Person

    DNC is playing with fire. Rezko connection to Obama is a lot less tenuous...

    August 15, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. ben

    Enough Already!!!!!!!
    Some one wrote Obama is running a sleezy campaign. Some one wrote McCain is running a sleezy campaign. The rest of the world must think we have nothing but sleeze balls trying to fool us into voting not for someone we like, but for against someone we dont like. The tragic truth is if enough idiots out there believe all this crap, they are the ones who will decide this election.

    August 15, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. Vincent

    He cares about rights of EVERYONE but these babies that were BORN.

    This isn't about abortion, this is about MURDER.

    McCain – Rice 2008

    And just what does war do? It would seem to me that if you were against abortion, you would also be against war and therefore would not vote for anyone that would start one.

    What makes you think that abortion isn't right but, dropping bombs on pregnant women, killing them and their unborn children is o.k.

    Hypocreaceae at it's finest.

    August 15, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    radar August 15th, 2008 9:32 am ET

    well, well, well. look at all the outraged mccain supporters. poor you.

    way to avoid the point, guys and gals. the commercial links mccain to a money launderer. your response? "rev. wright is terrible;" "the DNC called mccain old … booooo;" "lawyers donate to obama."

    how about addressing the actual point?

    No problem!!
    Why was Ralph Reed not arrested? If Obama has proof that he launder 2 million dollars He would be in jail.

    John McCain is cozying up to Jack Abramoff’s cronies. If so why did Obama only name one person. Cronies suggests more than one.

    A key business partner. Key meaning that he did what exactly? It said he was laundering monney. What proof can be given to support that?

    I could go on and on. Since you wanted to stay on topic why don't you answer some of those questions? You can't because they are lies.

    August 15, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. LS

    McCain, his camp and supporters are not all 'upstairs', so sad to say.

    I read their comments, and it's a little scary to think these people might be driving on the road somewhere, knowing that they can't see or think too clearly.

    August 15, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. Mccain=Bush=WARMONGERS

    We need more hard hitting ads to show how Mcbush would appoint judges that would overthrow roe v wade or show how he was involved with the Keating 5 or how he left his Wife for a 20 younger women when his wife was ill or how he wants to go to war with iran and how he wants to reinstate the draft or how he fell the American people in this tough economic times are Just whiners or how he voted twice against making Martin Luther King Jr. a nationally recognized Holiday I guess he Felt king did not do enough HuH Someone needs to Point out these thing the Media sure won't So will keep Blogging about if i could ever get out of moderation.

    August 15, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. ben

    Let me tell you a combination absolutely unbeatable. I mean absolutely unbeatable! Obama for president and Ron Paul for vice president.. Naturaly this wont happen, but god, I wish it would.

    August 15, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. McCain:SmallWeakCowardlyMan OffersMoreOfTheSame TearsOthersDownToBuildHimselfUp

    This isn't negative: it's just the simple truth the Republicans have to smoke, like it or not. McCain is so corrupt he doesn't even know how to spell clean (unless someone is whispering it in his ear because he can't remember what he's supposed to spell).

    You think this is bad, just wait until the debates when JohnnyMac melts down under the lights and the pressure. Grampy will be just a big ol' puddle of grumbling, stumbling, bumbling melted goo.

    August 15, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. Barry Soetoro AKA Barrack Obama


    Obama's votes on killing alive babies if they are born during abortion???

    Michelle Obama's thesis paper about hating white people and America???


    Oh how come Obama is staying in that home in Hawaii owned by a lobbyist and not paying for rent???


    August 15, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. Doug

    Each campaign needs to respond to the other. To this point, Obama has only responded to McCain's attack ads. This is the first time that Obama has been proactive in examining McCain's past. Personally, I want to know what McCain did in the navy that was so heroic. But I digress....

    A small request: Could all of you illiterates from either side please take the time to write thoughtfully and somewhat accurately? So many entries look like a chipmunk was released and ran across the keyboard several times. And not a very smart chipmunk at that!

    August 15, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  16. DR. YES

    mccain's campaign is saturated with crooks and thieves.they been around him for 26 years,buying his vote.

    August 15, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. Marilyn

    I really thought I would be a Democrat all my life, but after 40 years of voting, I'll be voting for a Republican for the first time.

    August 15, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. Kevin

    An ad about McCain's infidelity would end the Mccain campaign in 30 seconds.

    August 15, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  19. Truth

    Paul Seattle,
    Have you ever heard of Keating 5? If McCain fought so hard against corruption, why is he affiliating with Ralph Reed with his connections to lobbyist Jack Abrahamoff now?

    Regarding the Rezko diversion by others, Obama donated those funds to charity in case you were not aware.

    August 15, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  20. J.C.

    There should be laws against any access of lobbyists to our Congress members and the administration. The lobbyists can publish whatever they want online or other media, but it is up to the Congress member to decide whether or not they want to read or view what the lobbyists are preaching or bargaining for the organizations they are employed by.

    August 15, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  21. David G

    Wake up, CNN. This video doesn't TRY to link McCain to Abramhoff, it DOES link him. McCain's king of the lobbyists... he's got them as his advisors. All of them. So watch your pockets, folks. McCain's gunning for your wallet. D.

    August 15, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  22. Veteran for Obama

    Good ad. Somebody needs to call John McCain to the carpet since the media won't do it's job. McCain has many more controversial skeletons buried in his closet and the media is afraid to talk about them.

    McCain = Bush plus a new military draft

    August 15, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. Stud

    The DNC's add isn't sleazy if it's true. And it is!

    August 15, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. donna4hillary

    what is the dnc doing? playing six degrees of kevin bacon?

    August 15, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. Jeff

    White girl: It isn't because he is black. I would vote for a African American for President if I agreed with anything that came out of his mouth. It is because he is a socialist liberal hack. He has NO relevant political experience that qualifies him to be President. It is his idiotic populist "tax the rich" and "tax the windfall profits" and all of our problems will be solved attitude that I don't like. Making a profit is a good thing (for shareholders, employees, etc). That is what companies are supposed to do and they should not be punished for doing it well. Taking a corporations profits will only serve to
    1. increase prices for all of us
    2. cut higher paying jobs
    3. reduce shareholder return
    If you want to place limits on executive compensation (I think the boneheads that run most of our corporations are overpaid), that is one thing but a simplistic solution will have unintended casualities.

    August 15, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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