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. cmoore

    If thats not the pot calling the kettle black!

    August 15, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. Rove working for DNC?

    When did Karl Rove sign a contract with Obama's campaign? Sure looks like an attack ad to me.

    August 15, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Shannon

    wow, I thought Obama was above all this, isn't that what he's always telling us He leaves it to his supporters like Anonymous to trash people who don't agree with his policies. Anonymous says Americans are stupid. That's what Obama and his supporters think, that we are all dumb enough to buy his empty rhetoric, his hope and change crap, that has no substance behind it. People like Obama and Anonymous are planning on us buying these negative ads, or hoping we let Oprah tell us how to vote. I will be voting for HIllary Clinton, but I hope for the sake of this country that people like Anonymous who support Obama are wrong, we won't be dumb enough to buy this ad. By the way Anonymous why don't you call Americans stupid while using your name!

    August 15, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. pam Eugene OR

    Please actually read the article before you comment. Obama did not run the ad, the DNC did and every word is true.

    August 15, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. beth

    I wish they would quit trying to link the repubs to people many of the voters don't even follow. If they just stuck with the bread and butter they would do fine. Stuck in an illegal war waged over a lie. Economy in the crapper. McCain offering no new path but down the Bush road.

    August 15, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Scott, Wichita


    The McCain supporters aren't the ones talking about race. Only the Obama supporters are. I'm sorry If I'm not brainwashed like you, but just because I don't support a candidate does not make me a racist. In fact, my ideal presidential candidate is Colin Powell, who happens to an African-American like Mr. Obama. I don't plan on taking a bus to work, either. My car works just fine when it's cold or raining, and when it's a nice sunny day, I bike to work. I also have very healthy job security in the aviation industry. While the rest of the country is complaining about the economy, we happen to be enjoying record numbers. My healthcare is also rather cheap, affordable, and will pay for everything up to, and including, major surgery. Just because I had the drive to get out of a low-income family, and push myself to get a degree and a good job doesn't mean that I am a racist. It just means that you are lazy, and don't want to take responsibility for your own future.

    Scott – Wichita, Kansas

    August 15, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. Jimmy

    McCain is the biggest hypocrite I have ever seen. Lets not forget was part the Keating 5. and now he some mighty do gooder. Come-on McCAIN is sleazy politician. McCain canb't even live up to his own campaign finance rules. McCain is using swift boating tactics and I think Obama should defend itself.

    August 15, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  8. Carmen Colorado

    All that McCain and Bush do is bullying. Now Bush does not want Russia to do the bullying, but when he did the bullying in Iraq it was fine. McCain is the same.

    August 15, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  9. rexx

    Big reach with this ad. Waste of money for Dems. Well it isn't like obama is going to win anyway. If you want to talk about "dirty politics" lets talk about a certain Chicago politico who was "elected" by getting people kicked off the ballot in his State Legislature race. lol

    August 15, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  10. Barry Soetoro

    9 out of 10 positive adds...

    LMAO... Name them?

    August 15, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. Paul

    How is this not considered smear tactics, but Obama's relations to William Ayers is?

    August 15, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. mary, new jersey

    At Least Obama Had Enough Sense To Donate His So Called Tony Rezco Dirty Money!!!

    Unlike This Low Life Mc Hypocrite!!

    America Will Never Make Another Mc-mistake When It Comes To Choosing A Leader!!!

    Obama 08/12

    August 15, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  13. ree

    Hey, what about Rezko. Was he not with Obama. Look whos calling the kettle black.

    White girl for Obama: I am a white women for McCain. I am not stupid, racist or hateful or mad about Sen. Clinton. . I just don't like or believe him or his wife. Even though I am a Democrate, I was never for him.

    I will never eat crow if he becomes president, but will watch you people be disappointed when everything is not coming up roses.

    August 15, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. J. Sully, New York

    Hey Empty Vessel,
    You must be talking about your brain!!!
    Did you ever hear of the Keating 5? McCain is very shady. Fear mongerers like McShame cater to fearful people like you!!!

    OBAMA '08

    August 15, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. Janey/Michigan

    I see the left-wing moderator is on today–no pro-McCain comments are getting through.

    August 15, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. Barry Soetoro AKA Barrack Obama

    White Girl for Obama...

    White people don't say hater or use it in a grammatically incorrect sentence. Stop playing the race card like your messiah.

    Have more kids, collect more welfare, follow Obama like he is Jesus. Then abort more kids...


    August 15, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Rick

    Speaking of more of the same, notice that Obama's tax proposal continues his contribution to Social Security at it's current rate – wich is zero. If Social Security is such a great idea, why doesn't he propose REAL change and promise to make all members of Congress, the executive branch and all other government employees contribute to this system just like the rest of us. This, instead of continuing their own sweetheart deal.

    By the way, the 50% of us making less than the nation median income pay only 2.9% of the tax burden. There isn't much left to cut. Don't believe Obama's proposals will be a net cut in taxes. They'll go up and the so-called "rich", who have seen their share of the tax burden increase dramatically under Bush will find a way to turn higher marginal rates into lower overall tax payments. Unfortunately, this can't be explained in a 15-second sound bite, which is all the politicians and news media are capable of – to our ultimate detriment.

    Note that the so-called rich threshold starts just above what Congress makes.

    August 15, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  18. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Link McCain to how he got into flight school ahead of better qualified candidates due to his pappy being a senior 4-star Admiral.

    Think maybe this contributed to his being shot down?!

    August 15, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  19. DR. YES

    so the mccain camps talking point of the day?REZKO!JUST KEEP SAYING REZKO AS MANY TIMES AS YOU CAN AND YOU MAY WIN A NEW ABBA people are so transparent.go get a real job!

    August 15, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  20. Chad, Wisco

    Hello Rezco, truly a dumb move by the DNC. Dont open up a can if your worms are worse.

    August 15, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  21. Mikey

    McCains questionable financial supporters go all the way back to his first campaign.

    Personally, I am more concerned by the fact that McCain has been almost totally AWOL in the Senate for the past two years, well over two times longer than he has been campaigning hard. Why has he:

    Only voted on half of the important defense bills going back 3 years?
    Only voted in favor of one of the last 7 military funding bills?
    Skipped town instead of supporting the new GI Bill?
    Did not support equal pay for women? (HR2831 – April 2008)
    Skipped votes on the last 13 energy policy related bills going back over two years?
    Skipped votes on 20 straight environmental bills going back almost 3 years?

    These are only a few issues. McCain has been AWOL for 2 – 3 years in the Senate on almost every issue important to the American people. Why would we elect this DO NOTHING Senator as POTUS?

    August 15, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  22. Pam

    joe August 15th, 2008 8:31 am ET

    what about the junior senators RESCO DEAL!He was there only a couple of years and he did a koosamakshi in that time.Once a adulterer alwaysan adulterer.look at edwards.we need a person we know where he stands.put him the white house and he will seel the capitol building.Hillary 2012.go mccain.

    Hey Joe,
    You do know McCain cheated on his first wife with Cindy after his wife was disabled in a car accident, right?

    August 15, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. JB, Boston

    There s no story hear. ust as there was no story when a fund raiser for Clinton was found on a train naked after laundering alot of money.

    DEms have got to be careful. They come across very hypocritical. It's OK for Clinton to get favors from Monica in the whitehouse while Hillary is in the other room, BUT, it's not ok for McCain to divorce and remarry.

    It is Ok for Obama to have ties to Rezko. Many dem poo poo'd the whole thing (by the way, there is no argument that he got a ridiculous deal on real estate), and now it's not ok for McCain to have ties (removed ties that is) to a launderer.

    Remember, if you hold a R's feet to the fire for an action, just remember, there are no excuses when a dem does the same thing.

    That is the issue here. The Clinton's have gotten away with more fundraising scandals then anyone else by far, and yet "18 million" dems still voted for her.

    Say it with me. . . . . Hypocrites!!

    August 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  24. dave morrison

    First of all, CNN is getting pathetic! The new McCain add makes front page but this is buried on the ticker page. I am starting to think that CNN is a major contributor to the McCain campaign.

    Having said that McCain stands for the rich, pure and simple. We are seeing the benefits of deregulation, free trade pacts not being enforced and tax cuts for the rich. The residential housing market and economy is in shambles but the custom/high end housing market is roaring. McCain may or may not have taken money but the Republican's have. Time to oust the party of big business and get some sanity back in government.

    August 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  25. gl

    DO THE HILLIARY SUPPORTERS EVER GIVE UP! Hillilary is not running for President – she lost you nut cases! I will say the Hilliary haters are getting very small. I notice it is the same ones over and over again making comments. Sore losers!

    August 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
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