August 20th, 2008
07:16 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama camp links McCain to Abramoff scandal

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Obama's campaign is out with a tough new campaign ad featuring Jack Abramoff.
Obama's campaign is out with a tough new campaign ad featuring Jack Abramoff.

(CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign is linking John McCain to the infamous Jack Abramoff scandal that ended several Republicans' political careers three years ago in a new campaign ad hitting Georgia airwaves Wednesday.

The 30-second spot is the Obama campaign’s second negative ad in the past 24 hours. It attacks the Arizona senator for his association with former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed, one of the Republicans implicated in the scandal.

The ad also seems to suggest McCain didn't call Reed to testify before a Senate panel he chaired in return for political favors.

“When the Senate investigated, the senator in charge never even called Reed to testify….And that senator? John McCain. And who’s now raising money for McCain’s campaign? Ralph Reed," the ad's narrator says. "For 26 years in Washington, John McCain’s played the same old games. We just can’t afford more of the same.”

The TV spot sparked a sharp rebuke from McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers, who called it "ridiculous," and noted Obama's connection to Bill Ayers, the current University of Chicago professor and one-time leader of the militant group "Weather Undeground."

“If Barack Obama wants to have a discussion about truly questionable associations, let’s start with his relationship with the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers, at whose home Obama’s political career was reportedly launched," Rogers said. "Mr. Ayers was a leader of the Weather Underground, a terrorist group responsible for countless bombings against targets including the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and numerous police stations, courthouses and banks."

Reed, who lost a bid in 2006 for lieutenant governor of Georgia, had promoted a McCain fundraiser last week in the Atlanta area that netted the presumptive Republican nominee $1.75 million in campaign cash. Though Reed did not attend the event (after intense Democratic criticisms), he circulated "special invitations" to several Republicans in the Atlanta area seeking donations.

That prompted several watchdog groups to call on McCain to cancel the event - although his campaign noted the fundraiser was sponsored by the Republican National Committee, not Reed.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Extra • John McCain
soundoff (599 Responses)
  1. kerry

    Go Obama!

    Let them eat at mcdonalds!!

    August 20, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. Greg FL.

    The Cross in the Dirt issue is complex.

    McCain told a story in 1999 about how when he was in capitivity in Vietnam on Christmas day, a soldier loosened his restraining ropes and drew a cross on the dirt floor of his cell with his boot, then erased it. McCain said this was a defining moment in his faith, as it showed him that two Christians could connect no matter their circumstances.

    This is near identical to a story accredited to a Russian author named Solzhenitsyn in which he's serving in a gulag in Siberia I think. He decides life isn't worth living, so he leaves his labor line and walks over to a beach and sits down in the sand. He knows a guard will come over and shoot him in a head, and he's fine with it. He hears the footsteps and braces himself. But its another prisoner, who draws a cross in the sand and walks away without saying a word. This renewed his faith in God and he found the willpower to survive through the rest of his imprisonment.

    McCain is a huge fan of Solzhenitsyn:

    "In McCain's 2007 book Hard Call: Great Decisions and the Extraordinary People Who Made Them McCain devotes an entire chapter to Solzhenitsyn and his experiences as recounted in The Gulag Archipelago."

    Remember where I said McCain hadn't talked about it until 1999? This is important, because he gave detailed accounts of his capitivity in both 1973 and 1995. In fact, the 1995 interview was about being a POW during Christmas. So it's a little weird that he would leave such an important detail out. Especially one that would mirror an experience had by an author he admired.

    August 20, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. Chris from NY

    I DON’T KNOW WHY THE PEOPLE IN AMERICA NEVER LEARN. AFTER WHAT WE’VE BEEN THROUGH IN THE LAST EIGHT YEARS IN THIS COUNTRY AND AROUND THE WORLD, I CANNOT FATHOM THE REASON WHY WE NEED TO GO THROUGH THAT AGAIN. TO SEE THESE POLLS SHOW THAT MCCAIN IS GAINING ADVANTAGE FROM SOMETHING THAT REMOTELY LOOK LIKE THE WAR WE’RE FIGHTING IN IRAQ IS BEYOND ME.

    DOES IT MEAN WE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT CONFLICT OR DO WE INVITE THEM TO MAKE US LOOK MACHO? I JUST CAN’T FIGURE US OUT.

    August 20, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. Dave

    Antoin "Tony" Rezko

    August 20, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. Phil Newton Murphy, Oregon

    Two Words:

    Keating Five.

    Go away, Long Gone John.

    August 20, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Its time Obama Team let's get ready to rumble! Its show time!

    August 20, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  7. Indiana Bob

    What about Obama and Rezko? Rezko worked out a sweetheart deal for Obama to purchase a house at $300,000 under market value and Rezko personally paid for a $17,000 fence around the Obama mansion. This all happened while Rezko was under federal indictment and after Obama became a US Senator. How many more bribes is Obama going to take?

    PUMA - Vote McCain

    August 20, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  8. dEMOBRAT

    Looks like Obama is the one that is really "more of the same."

    August 20, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  9. GOP Snakes

    Good, the truth comes out, but I don't know if it will do any good. McShame is a slickster and he and his cronnies, Karl Rove are deteremined to stay in the White House.

    I'm still waiting for George Bush to apologize for the Iraq War. I won't hold my breath. He'll sneak back down to Crawford and crawl under some rock, the snake.

    August 20, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  10. Flip Flop Obama

    All you need to say is Rev Jerimiah Wright. Enough said.

    Go McCain – A true American Patriot.

    August 20, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  11. ALLAN USA.

    This Obamaman should not be allowed to even run for PRESIDENT.Obama should make ads about his bodys in Chicago.

    August 20, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. Debby

    Look who is calling the kettle black. I can't Obama's campaign would even go there.

    August 20, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. No More Crooks in D.C.

    True. McCain is cozy with Jack and W.

    August 20, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  14. ShirleyY - Seattle

    It's about time Obama campaign start to fight back. It's more on Mccain and his surrogates. McCain has alot of dirt, but the Obama campaign has been allowing McCain free time. Obama it's aright to be nice, but sometimes being nice is not the answer, it's time to fight and fight hard. Everytime John McCain tells one of his war stories, I will look into it and make sure it's true, if not blast him.

    August 20, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. Yes We Can

    To "Demobrat":
    Looks like you can dish it out, but you can't take it.

    August 20, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  16. Nimi from NY

    Why are Americas afraid to elect educated people as presidents? We just had a "c"average student in the white house and if the poll holds through till November we may be headed towards the second time of such event. We are considered intellectuals around the world. Yet we let ourselves be gullible to be represented by such intelectually challeged people. Beat me once shame on you but the second time around it will shame on me. And I am not ready for such a shame.

    August 20, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  17. jt

    Obama is talking about change.

    Now he is playing old game polictics. This is a sign that in the unlikely event that he become President, there will be NO change.

    He is in trouble, so now he is going negative.

    Poor Obama.

    Vote McCain an American Hero.

    August 20, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  18. Floppy

    Wow, I remember..."I won't lead a negative campaign..."

    Way to stand out, Barack.

    The DNC gave it to the Republicans again.

    And Obama fans...this is not an attack on him. It's the whole DNC. They propped him up and ruined the rest of his career.

    August 20, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  19. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    What about McCain and the draft:

    Today at a townhall meeting, an audience member praised Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for his vow to "follow bin Laden to the gates of hell."

    After a long question about veterans' care, the questioner said she believed we needed to reinstate the draft, to which McCain seemed to readily agree:

    QUESTIONER: If we don't reenact the draft, I don't think we'll have anyone to chase Bin Laden to the gates of hell.
    [Appaluse]

    MCCAIN: Ma'am, let me say that I don't disagree with anything you said.

    August 20, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  20. Tejano

    What a bunch of low lifes. They (Demos) have a candidate with no record, who attends the wrong church for 20 years, hangs around with
    Bill Ayers (Radical Activist ) Gets gifts from Rezko and are despartely
    trying to link a War time Hero to Abromoff. Good Luck with this one.

    August 20, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  21. Anne E.

    Ayers isn't nearly as seedy as Abramoff. Abramoff was affiliated with so many more of the GOP (anyone remember Tom DeLay, for starters?).

    BARACK THE VOTE!!

    August 20, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  22. Nova from NV

    It's about time Obama start slinging some mud and get dirty. I guess he and his supporters seeing his chance slipping away like the poll numbers, they had to resort to mud-slinging ads. dwindling poll numbers have a way of bringing Obama from above-it-all messiah status to the regular Chicago politician that he is.Here's a question to all the Obama supporters: Don't you just love old politics?

    August 20, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  23. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Allen U.S.A learn how to spell !

    August 20, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  24. Latinos for Obama

    When its about Panamanian McCain his followers don't want to hear it.

    I mean how could "holier than thou" McCain be connected to Jack Abramoff ? No, not my McCain he is a POW, a vet, oh no, lies and more lies about Saint McCain. McCain is the worst fraud after Bush. Yes, McCain makes Bush look like a innocent baby.

    August 20, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  25. dEMOBRAT

    Obama is cozy with Ayers, Wright and Farrakhan.

    August 20, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
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