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. eli

    Nothing better than an overly simplistic argument that ends with "enough said". Yes, please. It was enough to show that you don't have a grasp on the issue.

    Now to the Issue, I myself am a democrat who plans on voting for Obama and while I agree that where there is smoke there is usually fire, I have yet to see the fire on this one. It does make me think that Mcain is not only desperate but under the thumb of the neo-cons but I'm still not convinced that he or Reed (in this one specific case) have done anything untoward or illegal.

    August 20, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. Fritz

    Some here claim that Obama puts out unfounded rumors – and McCain has been putting out outright lies. This is gonna be one ugly campaign – it is a real shame that we seem to respond to negative campaiging more than talking about the real issues (see the recent polls).

    August 20, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  3. ERIC, MN

    August 20th, 2008 6:54 pm ET

    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.

    So, whats the right church then? Yours I presume. Also, Obama didnt hang around with Bill Ayers, he served on a board to a charity organization with him. Thats a big difference. Oh and by the way, there were republicans on that board too. Get a life.

    August 20, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  4. M@M

    Obama was 8 years old when Ayers did the bombing and Ayers was not convicted of anything. Rezko was convicted but Obama did nothing illegal .. You were saying ?

    August 20, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  5. MLH

    Bring it, Senator McCain, just bring it on. I used to just think that while he was an admirable man, I didn't agree with his politics and didn't plan to vote for him. Sadly, the more I hear from him the less admirable I find him.

    Obama '08

    August 20, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  6. SJ CA

    McCain: A Great American Zero

    August 20, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  7. Ray

    I would rather hear what a candidate has to offer the people he is going to represent, but if you would rather play negative politics then you are what we already have Thanks , but No Thanks

    August 20, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  8. Tennisguypitt

    Everyone of you guys attacking Obama for this ad are being hypocritical.

    McCain uses low mud-slinging attack ads all the time. Until McBush stops as well, you Republicans and Obama haters can shut your mouth!

    Fight fire with fire!

    Obama '08

    August 20, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  9. Blowing in the Wind

    It doesn't matter who started negative, sometimes you just need to fight fire with fire. Repugs don't like when the foot is on the other shoe. Obama cannot stand there and be silent like Kerry did four years ago. Great job Obama camp! Obama 08/12

    August 20, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  10. Eric

    This is the different type of politics that Obama promised? This is the absence of personal attacks that he stated he would promise? This is change? Where is the Obama that won the primaries???

    August 20, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  11. Zuq

    We know he's a criminal. Type this into Google "mccain organized crime" and you'll be amazed at what you find. Wake up America. Don't be fooled about "experience." Sometimes experience = crooked politician.

    August 20, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  12. TN for Obama

    I'm 54 and am afraid McSame will draft me to bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.


    August 20, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  13. jon

    What happened to getting rid of the politics of the past? Obama is a liar. I loved his answer about abortion of "I am not of that pay grade". What a piece of work. Even though I am pro-choice I at least respect McCain for sticking to his position of abortion, excuse me actually having a position on abortion.

    August 20, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  14. jeff

    You people are exactly what's wrong with the American political system – stick along party lines, throw mud and insults at those in the opposing party like children on a playground instead of working together to solve the issues that our country faces. Neither democrats or republicans are any better than the other – and if people don't start thinking for themselves instead of toeing the party line, our country will continue to struggle and grind it's wheels. You all need to take a step back and think about exactly what it is you're trying to accomplish here.

    August 20, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  15. Sam from Chautauqua

    McCain the wrong American war has sated that he tried to commit suicide in his prison cell in Vietnam. Is this the man we want to have his finger on the nuclear war button? WILL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WAKE UP! This guy is a lunatic.

    August 20, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  16. Zuq

    So wait... Because Obama said that he won't run a negative ad, Barack shouldn't. Give me a break. It's dirty when they aren't facts. If these are facts, it's about time. It's time for Barack goes on the offensive. McCain can't block it... his arms won't go up high enough! McCain is full of lies... cross in the sand.. yeah right... we all heard about that book he stole it from.

    August 20, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  17. ERIC, MN

    Floppy August 20th, 2008 6:53 pm ET

    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.

    How did the DNC prop him up. HE WON, GET OVER IT.
    So, what is Obama supposed to do? Just sit back and let McCain repeat lie after lie, and negative attack after negative attack. The media isnt going to challenge McCain on anything. Both men said they would run an honorable campaign, and it wasnt Obama who got down in the mud first. It was your savior McCain. Obama stayed positive alot longer than McCain did, and he only started releasing negative ads when he realized McCain was going to run the Karl Rove playbook again. So, if you want to blame anyone for running negative attacks, blame McCain and the republicans. They are the ones who challenge peoples patriotism, and military records, not the Dems. The republicans do the same thing every four years, negative attacks. They are the party that started this method, and they are the ones who keep using it every election cycle.

    August 20, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  18. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Right on Obama! Hit McBush where it hurts! Let's see if he can take as good as he gives!

    August 20, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  19. joe

    Obamas case with Rezko was a BONE HEADED ONE. BRING IT ON JOHN!

    August 20, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |

    Did you watch MSNBC ..countdown with Keith?

    McCain wants to bring back the draft....Can you imagine that?

    He is just a warmonger..war.war..war..That is all he is about.
    Hae is danger in waiting.

    August 20, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  21. Mike in Houston

    Ballot irregularities
    Chicago party bosses and payoffs
    Corruption and jail sentences

    Are you sure Obama really wants to go down a path chasing past scandals? He has much more to hide than any other elected official outside of Chicago.

    August 20, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  22. Rave

    McPain will be next biggest natural CALAMITY (after Tsunami) if elected as the President of United States of America. When I say Natural Calamity it is not anywhere else.. but for Americans
    His half damaged brain will lead him to do the most Disasterous stuff that any President of any Country in Histiry has done so far. He will be remembered after Hitler and his sign will be " half brain in a skull " (like swastik for Hitler)
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    August 20, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    It is truly depressing that after 8 years of Bush, Mccain can get elected.
    If it happens, there is no hope for this country. How can people not learn?
    OK, 1st time, I can understand how some people may not have known who they voted for. But in 2004 ? They knew exactly what they were getting in GW Bush. This is unbelievable. Mccain represents the same people, right-wing GOP nazies. GOP needs to be thoroughly defeated, then this party will purge itself of these fascists, and become a party we can vote for again.

    August 20, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  24. blair

    Obama is going to pick his buddy William Ayers as VP.

    August 20, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  25. Hillary Supporter

    Is this the new kind of politics that Obama was calling for in his theme for change. His type of politics stinks and him along with it. Its the same old politics so all you Obama supporters out there have been fooled that he is so different. That man is a scam and his whole political campaign is just one big lie.

    The democrats are in big trouble now and I hope they come to their senses at the convention and vote for Hillary Clinton. If they don't do that then they are in for a loss in November. I hope the democrats have some serious meetings this weekend and try to get the campaign back on track by advising the delegates to vote for Clinton and get a democrat back in the white house. Don't waste any more time with Obama as he is a loser.

    August 20, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24