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. Ray

    WOW! Finally, the Obama camp takes off the gloves and makes a hard hitting, 100% factually accurate ad and look what happens – the McSame/PUMA surrogates come running and screaming out of the woodwork. Sounds like Obama just hit a major nerve. Excellent!

    August 20, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  2. Peter

    That's ridiculous. McCain doesn't have anything connection with Abramoff scandal. Obama is the one who has the most connections with radicals and convicted felons in the whole capitol. I have been voting for democrats in the past. I'll have to change it this time.

    August 20, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  3. Wyoming Iraq Marine

    McCain is no hero. Heroes are not cocky pilots who get shot down while showboating after dropping their payload. Heroes do not come home to find their wife severely injured and then run out on her. Heroes do not sell out our troops by voting for a war he should have known was waged for the incorrect reasons. Heroes do not sell out our troops to score points with the religious right in order to win primaries. McCain, you are a failure.

    August 20, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  4. Gerry

    So McCain is going to institute the draft. Glad I dont have any sons between 16 and 24. Hoep you don't

    August 20, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  5. Ecor

    Uoo, Uoo, I'd like to say something nice about BO If I could; but that would also be 'awaiting moderation' because of who is usually saying the truth but lying just to get past yout moronic 'moderators'. Sorry; lowly qualified moderators/censors who do not have a clue about the real world. Please do not publish this without my earlier 'Cook County' truisms.

    August 20, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  6. California Voter

    Is this considered "negative" campaigning?

    August 20, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  7. Salvice

    All of you repubs who are bashing Obama for going negative are hypocrites. Then again, what's new with your party?

    August 20, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  8. DNC did not cheat Clinton

    For all these people saying that "the DNC chose obama" please stop

    There were primaries for a reason and the PEOPLE who VOTED in the primaries FOR OBAMA so obviously this is the people's choice not the DNC's... please tell me how the DNC rigged this what no one with an explanation?

    August 20, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  9. Wyoming Iraq Marine

    Duke Cunningham was more of a hero than McCain ever thought about being. He is in prison for fraud.

    August 20, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  10. Andrew

    That other Andrew, above, has said it exactly right. I couldn't agree more.

    August 20, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  11. Erica

    O can go negative by telling the truth about McCain and Keating Five, and how he endorsed this FAKE WAR in Iraq. When are Americans going to learn their lesson about electing FOOLS to run this country!

    August 20, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  12. Mike P


    August 20, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  13. Bob

    Tell me one thing. How could FOX NEWS be DUMB ENOUGH to hire Karl(K STREET ROVE) to there OFF BALANCED, UNFAIR, and BIASED news network. Things like this is what makes them NOT A MAJOR NETWORK.

    August 20, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  14. linda from South Dakota

    omg,, enuff , but if mccain wants to play dirty,, i heard on news tonight on a bioagraphy of mccain that he wasnt even divorced yet when he met cindy(current wife) and he already applied for a marriage liescince to cindy,,, wow,, makes one think that hes not beyond ,,LIES,,,,, this guy takes teh cake,, i wouldnt vote for him if my life depended on it,, hes full of lies lies and more lies,,,,, think about it,,,, he lies to us now ,, what will he do IF he was president,, my vote STILL goes to obama,,, and lets stop this dirty play,,, its disgusting and so wrong,,,,

    August 20, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  15. Denise Groves

    Keep it comin!

    August 20, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  16. Cindy

    I predict that a McCain presidency would be just like Bush presidency.. There'll be executive blockage for all the Rovian characters that are now helping him go negative. First I thought, "This isn't John McCain; I thought he wanted to run an honorable campaign." But now I realize.. that was all just talk. Not to mention all the favors he's going to owe his sleazy friends.

    August 20, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  17. Oh Yes 08

    McSame is a loser, and what kills me is he's been on this claim about "I know how to win wars". I just want to know, how do you win a war in captivity? Somebody please tell me.

    August 20, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  18. linda from South Dakota

    ,re:richard,,,, he claims hes a hero because he was shot down, but decieved america because he wanted to look lik eone,, richard go to mccain war,, or mccain via,,,,, i have the link and read it and was so surprized at what he did,,,,,, all americans voting for him should check this out,,,,, chged my mind,,,,,, obama has my vote for sure,,,,, mccain is a liar,,,, 100%

    August 20, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  19. Mike

    Now THAT'S WHAT IM TALKIN BOUT!!!! OBAMA GET HIS @#$#$!!!!! No more playing nice guy with these republican PUNKS!! Obama and his camp got enough ammunition on mcain to bring him DOWN!!! Expose him for the FRAUD that he IS!!

    August 20, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  20. Shannon in California

    So when will someone remind everybody of The Keating Five (of which McCain was part of) and the Enron scandal (which Phil Graham was a part of). McShame has a lot of skeletons in the closet that have yet to come out.

    August 20, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  21. That's Reality

    Honest Abe – I'm not ashamed of voting for President Bush; the only reason I wouldn't vote for him again (if he could serve another term} is because he deserves a break from protecting people like you, who are so ungrateful, from terrorists. You libs just don't realize the foolish and decadent policies of liberalism have screwed this country up so much that it will take a miracle to pull us through, and that miracle is NOT Obama. Of course most libs don't believe in the God who can do miracles so their putting their money on the poster boy.

    McCain/Rice 2008.

    August 20, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  22. Barbara - NC

    Ha Ha Ha Ha – Just more in a VERY LONG LINE of shady connections. It takes 71+ years to accumulate the number of "deals" that warmongering man has made. Experience my behind!

    August 20, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  23. chris

    to the poster talking about the cross in the dirt this hardly means that mccain was copying someone else's story. if you read the history of christianity you'll see that underground christians often did something like this to silently show solidarity and identify other christians. they used the cross or to be even more secret, the symbol of a fish. there are similar stories to this in other parts of the world. it's just a way that you could identify yourself as a christian in secret which could then be quickly hidden from the enemy.

    August 20, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  24. Dan, MA

    You want to talk terrorists, McCain? Let's talk about you and all the other war-mongering, fear-mongering, common-man hating Republicans.

    August 20, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  25. Mary in Indiana

    It is alllll sooooo sad.....sigh....we don't talk about homeless people on the streets or clothing the poor or getting shoes to poor families so that their children can start school in the fall dressed as they should be ... we don't talk about the true meaning of coming together and ACTING LOCALLY...we just continue to bash and bash and bash....

    I'm an Obama supporter....but certainly sick of all the energy we spend blogging about these things that don't matter....

    August 20, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
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