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. J. Schow

    Have none of the McCain supporters learned of his Atheism? Supposedly McCain gave up on his Christian beliefs after approx two years in his POW cell and he has never been the same.

    August 20, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  2. changed my mind in Texas

    I was leaning heavy in Obama's direction but not anymore. If this thing gets more negative I might not vote for either.

    August 20, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |

    CNN needs to check out McCain's Christmas Story about the cross in the sand with the guard. He is lying about this. You can tell by the looks on his face and that stupid laugh he does after he tells a lie.

    He laughs alot!!!!

    August 20, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  4. Susan

    The whining from the McLame camp has already started. We in Georgia remember Reed, he was a slimball than and is a slimeball now, but McLame is right at the fountain drinking up the money!

    August 20, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  5. Walt D

    While I'm sorry to see Obama go negative with this ad, I also recognize the vast majority of folks in America tend to believe negative ads, as they did in 200 and 2004, and have been believing McCain's negative ads in this campaign too. So to that extent, I'm glad to see Obama go negative with this one in the light of the many negative ads that contain lies and untruths about his policies and positionve by none other than St. John McCain–the straighttalker and highly principled character of the Republican Party.

    It is time for Obama to address McCain's ability to lead and challenge him to be more transparent about his military record. I'm sure we will find McCain may have commanded a few service personnel but no record of him having won a war despite his bellicose speech and bullying behavior.

    August 20, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  6. texas DEM

    God Bless Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

    August 20, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  7. Brandon, SC

    It's sad to see how anyone would even consider voting for McCain, you pro lifers are a whole different breed. Do you ever look at the world through your own eyes, or just keep seeing it as they tell you to. Obama will be OUR president.

    August 20, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  8. valwayne

    You don't get much more further down in the sewer than playing the race card in this country like "The Obama' has done so many the scandal adds are light weight. However, turnabout is fair play......I can't wait to see those Rev Wright video clips again!!!!!!

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

    Indiana Bob August 20th, 2008 6:49 pm ET

    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

    Friend your either trying to influence low information voters to your own advantage or your one yourself.

    Dont waste web space with incorrect facts!

    August 20, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  10. CB

    Can some one explain to me how McCain is a war hero? I've heard and seen his bio. I have not heard he has shot down one enemy plane, or kill any enemies. All I have heard, is he spent years as a prisoner. How do this constitute ranking of a hero.

    August 20, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  11. Necie in OKC

    Its amazing how many people dont say a WORD when McLame promised a clean campaign and don't keep his word... I say talk family values and let's see how long McLame's popularity last.

    August 20, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  12. Denise

    The truth hurts. Obama's camp is telling the truth...not making up lies like McShame. I SAY GO GET 'EM!!!!

    August 20, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  13. MikeH

    I agree with Greg Fl.

    If John had had this fundamental experience while a prisoner, something that changes the way he sees the world and lives his life, I believe he would have talked about as soon as he was repatriated, and brought it up during his Senetorial campaigns (prior to 1999).

    I believe John McCain is lying about the cross in the sand. He is inventing personal history just like G.W. Bush did with his Texas National Guard "Honerable Discharge", and having his drunk driving record in Texas expunged.

    August 20, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  14. Drako

    MCCain an american hero? How is that? All he did during the war was get captured. Calling him a hero is an affront to all the brave soldiers who perished in that war. ALl McCain did was give up and give in the the viet cong.

    August 20, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  15. Don Hiller

    TRY TWO...

    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 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  16. McBush McJihad

    What a pathetic nation we live in, where any political position that cannot be reduced to a soundbite is either "indecisive" or a "flip-flop."

    How can a dying Cold War fossil be considered competent to guide the fate of nations? This is the 21st century, and we have no use for your grandfather's would-be President.

    If the Republicans are so ashamed of Clinton's adultery, how can they stomach voting for McCain? The man's personal life is sordid at best.

    McCain: Four More Wars.

    August 20, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  17. Joman

    We can all thank Lee Atwater (Bush Sr campaign) and his Willie Horton ad. Interestingly, as he was lying on his death bed with an inoperable brain tumor, he expressed regret for his handiwork and apologized to every politician whose career he had ended with his underhanded tactics. It would appear that no one heard him.

    August 20, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  18. conservative lies

    It just comes to show how dumb some american people are, they care more about someones friends than a person(BUSH) who has lied to the american people and cost thousand of lives and Trillions of dollars, but that's not important, the important think in their dumb minds is that someone said something about the country and their worst than a person who lied and cost thousand of lives but did doesn't matter. GO FIGURE YOU IDIOTS

    August 20, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |

    Nothing the Republicans say can win a debate about "the friends"
    you choose. War mongrels cannot win the battle. They chose
    war with Iraq with their heads in the sand and they can walk right
    out of the White House and go sit at their millionaire homes and
    "The Ranch." No Penalty. And here we are, sitting ducks. Hello Russia.
    Whatever McCain and "his friends" want to say about Obama, could
    never compare to the number of lives that America has ruined under
    Republican RULE.
    Obama will win this race, and, God help him. It is going to take a
    army and lots of help and support from all of America to clean this
    mess up.

    August 20, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  20. Ridgeway

    For 20 years Hussien Obama sat in the pews at Jeremiah Wright's church and listened to his anti American, anti White spew. Worse than anything McCain ever did. Che Obama, Fidel Obama, Osama Obama, Barack Ayres. Yeah, there's a pillar of the community.

    August 20, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  21. Bill Nash

    Indiana Bob....Google rezko and reference the Chicago papers. That's a non-starter

    August 20, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  22. Bulldog

    Ayers was a fellow teacher and sat on a board with Obama.

    Reed was a corrupt Washington politician who should have been put in jail but was protected by McCain and now is fundraising for him.

    Big difference!

    I love how the McCain team likes to change the subject when they know they are caught. Why can't they just answer the question? Because their guilty, that's why.

    August 20, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  23. mac

    mccain is a straight fraud!!!!!!!! thats all i can say

    August 20, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  24. Boston

    Go Hillary!

    August 20, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  25. Michael

    I don't know who Obama's campaign manager is, but he is losing the election for Obama by allowing adds like this. He does not understand the audience Obama needs to win over.

    This kind of add will not get any Democrats to vote for Obama, they are going to vote for him anyway. Republicans know this is a bunch of bunk, and weren't going to vote for Obama anyway.

    For either Obama or McCain to win, they must win a majority of independents.

    Obama can get away with negative adds that attack and trash McCains postions on the issues to try and win over independents.
    But when he trashs McCains's integrity, he messes up big time. Even independents that don't agree with McCain on the issues admire his integrity. A wise campaign manger should have told Obama to not go there. Too late. Many, many independents will be deeply offended.

    Many Democrats will not believe this post, again they apparently have bought into that he is corrupt. Just watch the polls. Obama may have just jumped off the cliff.

    August 20, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
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