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. Jeff Brown

    GOOD! The Repugs are getting a dose of their own medicine and they don't like the taste!!!!!

    August 20, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  2. zach

    Umm Nimi from NY,
    Obama was on the president of the Harvard law review. I would call that pretty intelligent

    August 20, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  3. Stephen

    –Obama was definitely too kind to defend McCain's service record
    notwithstanding his POW status, which McCain promptly forgot during 1992 Senate Select Committee on POW/MIAs. google it.

    August 20, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  4. La Raza

    McCain is a stone cole idiot. I will never cast support for him even if he was running alone!

    August 20, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  5. Michael in California

    The Senate cleared McCain on the Keating Five. Trying to connect him to Abramoff is a huge stretch. Clearly, the Obama campaign is desperate. Going after McCain is the wrong strategy for Obama. He should just keep talking about his own plans and programs. The more Americans know about Obama, they more they can make sound choices. Hence the narrowing of the gap between Obama and McCain.......

    August 20, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  6. Gary from Canada

    This is a gift for McCain. This is the perfect opportunity for McCain to hammer Obama on his liberal terrorist ties. People should do a research about Bill Ayers. He is a terrorist.

    August 20, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  7. alex badme, albuquerque

    Osama Bama getting desperate. Not quite as smug as last week are we. He can get up there and proclaim himself the winner. May work in the Democratic "do nothing" party but you have to actually get the vote to win the presidency.

    August 20, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  8. Scott L

    HA! McCain was cleared of this long ago. Maybe about the same time Obama was a young community worker sitting at Rev. Wright's church, listening intently to every word he preached of hatred towards America and white people.

    August 20, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  9. Craig A Texas Democrat


    August 20, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  10. Don Hiller

    Let us see here now. BO VERY recently told his supporters that “I will win”. If memory serves me correctly, those who, time and again, correctly boasted such were Demo/Daly candidates in Cook County, IL. OOPSY! Does the fruit fall far from the tree??? Hopefully not all the way to Washington DC.......

    August 20, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  11. Ernie in LA

    Obama is going to open a can of worms that is going to bite him in the butt. He has no room to talk about anyone else's past.

    August 20, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  12. larry

    I like it when some of you shout "Resko. Resko" but cannot give any details that could incriminate Barack Obama.

    August 20, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  13. Seanm

    Obama should hit McCain on the Keating Five bribery scandal. Especially since the media won't touch it. The people of this country deserve to know that McCain can be bought.

    August 20, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  14. Bob (NC)

    And all the Obama supporters said McCain plays dirty politics.

    McCain points out Obama's position on certain issues and questions his judgement. Obama – on the other hand – is lying.

    Which one is more trustworthy?

    August 20, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  15. Dustin

    This is ridiculous...Obama fans will say it's ok, McCain fans will say he's's how I see it:

    Obama ran a "clean" campaign against Clinton (if you could call it that) and did what he could against McCain. Now that McCain is only behind by one point, Obama has thrown out everything that he stands for. This is not the first time Obama has flopped when it fit him politically (counting FL and MI).

    He is just like the rest of them...he will do anything to get elected. False hope. False change. Let's at least elect someone with some experience to keep our country safe.

    -Ex-Obama fan

    -Democrat voting McCain

    August 20, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  16. Sandy

    Let all the bones out of the closet. Some Americans act like they are so perfect, like they never done anything wrong, so perfect. We are not going to get a perfect President never, so enough with the back and forth crap. I'm so sick of the garbage people try to dig up, lets face it, Obama is the better choice...that is a fact and McCain is sooooooooo fake. The focus of this election is who's bite stings the most, they have simply forgot about the American people.

    August 20, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  17. Veteran for Obama

    McCain: What should a 20+ year record in the Senate look like? Certainly not like yours. While his base (the rich) get richer, the poor get poorer. I'd rather have a man with judgement and integrity, than a man with experience in corruption, greed, and destruction.

    What will it take for us to wake up and see that we have to make a RADICAL change if we want to save this country? Joblessness is up. More joblessness is on the horizon. Spending is out of control. 30,000 of our young people have been maimed, and over 4,000 of them have died (FOR THIS ILLEGAL CONFLICT). They've stolen our money and given it to corporations. IT IS A BIG OLD MESS.


    If we don't learn now, maybe we will when we're standing on the street corner selling apples just to get by, because there are no jobs to be had, since they're shipping them overseas.

    August 20, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  18. Mike

    Why cancel the event if mcCrook is not feeling guilty about his devious connections?

    August 20, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  19. ntc

    HA! Take that McCain!

    August 20, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  20. Stan

    Hillary did the same thing that McCain is doing now. She dished out the dirt. If Obama doesn't respond then he's soft. And if he responds, then he is criticized for politics as usual.

    If most America are stupid enough to want another four years of Bush, then that's what we deserve. Shame on us.

    August 20, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  21. Patrick

    The real Obama is coming out....negative. Yeah for change!

    August 20, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  22. Tom in Delaware

    There was a good reason Obama declined to go on the Town Hall tour with McCain, and everybody got to see that on Saturday night at Saddleback.

    Now even the liberal biased press calls the race a dead heat; Just wait until the first of the three head-to-head debates!

    Let Obama try to bring this crap up then and see how Mc____ (fill in your favorite put-down here) SLAMS him so bad he'll look like Al Jolsen singin' "Swannee River"

    This race is merely entertainment value now...cause it's over for poor little Barack Obama.

    August 20, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  23. lovable liberal

    McCain pulled the campaign into the muck, and now he's shocked, shocked to be attacked for things he actually did. Par for the course for Republicans.

    August 20, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  24. pa

    obama never voted on anything at all so you cant say he voted with bush he never voted but got paid

    August 20, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  25. nicole

    McCain is Bush #2 and is preparing to rob Americans blind. He is too old to be president and should be investing heavily in some Depends underpants.
    Good nite McBush...Obama envy

    August 20, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
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