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

Obama camp links McCain to Abramoff scandal

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. Annette

    About time, there seems to be "mum is the word about him." We cannot say the truth about the war hero. What is America afraid of. The world to know that racism exists where in America and we are no different than any other country. We just pretend to be superior. I hear people at the job, everywhere say they won't vote for Obama because he is black. CNN, I am disgusted that you are held hostage by "white people" who say Obama plays the race card because he is telling the truth. McCain wrecked three planes and still was able to get promoted in the military. What a crock.

    August 20, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  2. CTP

    What makes you think that McCain is an honest man? He used to be a patriot – and then he got rich. McCain is no patriotic American. He's a theif, a creep, and an old fool.

    August 20, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  3. James of CT

    Mccain is upset, because he was hiding something and now that he got caught again, he is again on the defensive. Eventually all Mccain's lies will come out.

    Vote for Obama and save this country from poverty and Mccain / Bush's political corruption.

    August 20, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  4. Mary (Texas)

    Alright – the fun is just beginning!!! This is going to be AWESOME!!! Get ready OBAMA.......

    Your days are numbered......

    You need Hillary to help you out and you pushed her in front of the bus – so you are flying solo......

    Yippeee – no more OBAMA....

    McCain 2008

    August 20, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  5. A Woman In California For Obama

    Here's a question to all the Obama supporters: Don't you just love old politics?

    Yes, WE do. What you ignorant people fail to realize is during the primaries Obama knew Hillary was running as a democrat (supposedly) and he did not want to attack her and risk having the republicans get the upper hand. Now, since it is between him and the rep. nominee he is attacking. You people are so ignorant. Get yourselves educated. He is not trying to be the savior or the great one he is just positioning himself for the GE. He doesn't want to get down and dirty until it REALLY COUNTS!

    August 20, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  6. Rebulicans Hate America

    amazing one little negative and and you see the republicans coil up in their little slug shell. If they endured just 1% of the venom and lies they spew all the time they would be a pile of ash. Stick it to them Obama dont hold back what you say is true. time for redneck leadership in this country has come to an end.

    August 20, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  7. Biffington, Biff

    Jeremiah Wright never helped a political party bankrupt America, idiots.

    August 20, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  8. MikeH

    Ha ha ha ha, Dave you're funny, Antoin Rezko, ha ha ha. Rezko can't even shine the shoes of Reed and Abramoff.

    Go Obama campaign! The gloves are off. Hit 'em hard and hit 'em often, and send 'em reeling into the ropes!

    Good lead-in for the Keating Five scandal and how McCain hasn't changed his corrupt ways all the way back to when he cheated on his crippled wife.

    August 20, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  9. Paul

    McCain has been corrupt since Keating 5. He's a fraud.

    August 20, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  10. D R

    Weeks of McCain/Leiberman negative adds and nothing but finger pointing from the Hannity Hitler faithful. Obama hits back and its looooook heeeee's the same old dirty politician. I hope you McCainites get your way. Elect the old man with the Jewish puppet master Leiberman pulling his strings, and see just how much more anger we can stir up in the world.

    August 20, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  11. chas alabama

    McCain has somthing to hide, thats why he won't release his military records, it will show he was unfit to lead, and lets not forget the anti American tapes he made.
    He dosen't wear a U.S. flag pin because it's against the communist rules.

    August 20, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  12. gc

    Glad to see us swinging back. You repubs think it is great when Mccain fights dirty (his are all lies), but it hurts when Obama points out a few of Mccains many short comings!

    August 20, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  13. Ed

    Put your toxic cleanup suits on people, it will only get nastier. Our elections are making this country look like a joke, not the founder of modern democracy. Pathetic. The candidates who refuse to take the high road, the campaigns who put htis garbage out there, the media who push this news, and especially the public who puts up with it, we're all to blame.

    Witness the decline the America, yet another example.

    Teach your children to speak Mandarin, they will need it to succeed when they grow up.

    August 20, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  14. gary


    August 20, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  15. Linda

    Yes, we love it, we love it, we want more of it. You show them all Backtrack Obama. Show them how your WORDS have no meaning. Here you go playing unsubstantiated smear ads, again, like you did to Hillary, where those were called flat out lies, but hey, NO PROB, keep going, then you can worry if you'll even win your re election campaign for your Senate seat after not doing one good thing for your constituents.

    August 20, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  16. Rebulicans Hate America

    I say look at these blogs and that will show you the real polls of how far ahead Obama is on McLoser

    August 20, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  17. theo

    Now the Rep. are crying.
    This war monger who cannot hold a family together-for President?
    Remember he left the kids when they were minors.
    Grandpa get some sleep .

    August 20, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  18. Che-3

    Mccaine is one of the MOST CORRUPT politician in US Congress today. Mccain and The Bushes were heavily involved criminally, in SNL scandals in the 80's including "The Keating-5" of which the US Gov’t. lost $Billions. Not sure why the media has NOT brought these up? Mccaine needs to be JAIL instead, we have too many poor and homeless people in jail for mere shop lifting.

    Only in America does these neo-con republicans are always untouchable and be exposed or be let go by mere apology.
    What a SHAME and how fair is the Media?

    August 20, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  19. I dare you to publish this!

    Where is the Ticker about McCain agreeing to reinstate the DRAFT.

    Get on CNN. Where is the NEWs?

    August 20, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  20. Tammy - KCMO

    August 20th, 2008 6:49 pm ET
    What about Obama and Rezko? PUMA

    You PUMAs should be really careful on how you throw stones.

    "As Hillary Clinton continues to insist that she has "no relationship" with shady indicted real estate investor Tony Rezko, the facts seem to indicate otherwise.

    According to records, Rezko donated $15,000 to the Democratic National Committee in March 2000. At the time, the committee was helmed by longtime Clinton ally Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who endorsed Hillary Clinton on Wednesday. While it's possible that Rendell and the Clintons discussed neither the donation nor the donor, it's not likely."

    August 20, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  21. Mario

    Wow finally ihe story is out... youppiiii

    August 20, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  22. Brandon

    Oh yeah, I failed to mention the other 4 of the keating 5 were democratic politicians....

    August 20, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  23. pecanpii

    I think we should hear more about Bill Ayers–such as

    WHY is the UIC blocking access to the CAC files in their library after they first granted access to Kurtz? What are they hiding?

    What would the files tell us about Ayers and Obama's relationship?

    Why has no major news picked up the story?

    Thank God for the Internet we can find the real news stories!

    August 20, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  24. FlaDem

    Obama has tried and tried to lead a civil campaign while he got blasted by the McCain campaign. These negative ads just started recently. I am so glad he has finally started to retaliate. I love it. There is a lot of dirt on McCain, belive me, this is only the beginning. Go for it Obama, let's see if McCain can take it like he dishes it out.

    August 20, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  25. RLG Virginia

    Slam ALL the liars, hypocrites and ward healers greedily taking handouts from these dishonorable sources. MAKE ALL DONATIONS PUBLIC! We don't need to have policies written by for, and benefiting the K St. cronies any more!

    OBAMA 08

    August 20, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
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