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

Obama camp links McCain to Abramoff scandal

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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. Dave, Illinois

    What here is new? Obama has been negative since day one. His whining about racism from his opponents (that never even occured) set the tone. Just like any old-time liberal, he likes to paint himself the victim in order to get what he wants. He is truely pathetic.

    August 20, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  2. anonmouys

    puma dont vote mccain

    August 20, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. dEMOBRAT

    REZKO REZKO REZKO REZKO REZKO REZKO REZKO

    August 20, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. School For Allan USA.

    Allan USA.
    It's still not too late to go back to school and educate yourself. What is the word "bodys"? You're an idiot.

    August 20, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. Bayou Joe

    Grasping at straws. That is all the Democrats can do when they have a candidate with NO record to promote. All Fluff and no substance.

    Go McCain. a man we can trust.

    August 20, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  6. mario

    sooo much for the almighty OBAMA camp.... this was bound to happen – so can't wait read the camp's response on going towards negative ads.

    August 20, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  7. ShirleyY - Seattle

    iT'S TIME TO RUMBLE, LET THE FIGHT BEGAN. MCCAIN ADULTERY AND CHEATING WILL COME OUT. WE DONT NEED ANOTHER BILL CLINTON IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

    August 20, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. Vince Treible

    You have to be kidding me. Mr. Obama has nothing better to do with his time then spend time overseas and play dirty politics with John Mcain. Thats what we need America 4 years with another child. Wasnt 8years with the last one enough.

    August 20, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  9. Casey - Missouri

    Oh, please. Is that the best the Rovians can dredge up? Obama at a party of someone perfectly free to have parties, breaking no laws doing so?

    Ayers? "Not yet Senator" Obama was at a party.

    Abramoff? Reed? Senator McCain was in CONGRESS, in official functions, supposedly working to stop corruption in our government...

    Hardly equivalent.

    August 20, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  10. ALLAN USA.

    You know,now i know why my family not for obama anymore. The man is "crook ".Talk about McCain,but his Chicago connection?

    August 20, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. Don

    Poor Obama, and his blind sheep!

    August 20, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  12. Dan

    What exactly is Obama scared of.. Why is he not willing to simply go head to head with McCain in a debate? I have personally seen both of these guys have questions put to them.. ONE seems scared and afraid to say anything other than what his people have script written for him to follow.. the other Is McCain..

    This country is in for one hell of a rough time, if this clown is elected.. Please listen to what both have to say before voting.. and not simply vote for one or the other, because one is black and one is white... Pay attention to their platforms.. and understand WHAT the word CHANGE actually mean.

    August 20, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  13. too late ?

    It can't be TRUE, or it would've come out long ago :)-

    American knows McCain doesn't succumb to such paltry things like Obama has for Rezko 's gift.

    August 20, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  14. obamacrat

    I think that the McCain camp is failing to see the "humor" in this new ad. The gloves are off now.

    August 20, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  15. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Floppy August 20th, 2008 6:53 pm ET

    Wow, I remember…"I won't lead a negative campaign…"

    Barack Obama stayed positive as long as he could, but since Gramps McCain has decided to go far negative, Obama has no choice but to respond in kind.

    John Kerry stayed on the high road in 2004, and was swamped by the Swift Boat Liars. Obama needs to step up, address all the lies being told about him, and just give 'em hell.

    August 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  16. Ardnuas

    McCain is a WARMONGER.... Hit "Exxon John" hard.... since he has the "Karl Rove" bunch running his campaign. Also, pick Evan Bayh for VP.

    August 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  17. C Lovick

    Where is Abramoff? In the joint! Where is William Ayers? Teaching School. Something tells me that William Ayers is not as bad as they make him out to be. And Abramoff is the real convicted criminal. Wise up people!!

    August 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  18. Toyin, Atlanta

    And so it begins..................

    August 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  19. John Kaleto

    Typical democrats– instead of talking about the issues they try to smear their opponents by linking them to someone they dislike. First to Bush, now to Abramoff. Who's next, Rove? Rumsfeld? Kenneth Starr? Clarence Thomas?

    I can see the dem's next ad now: "McCain once shook the hand of Robert Bork, Nixon's attorney general who fired the Watergate special prosecutor. Vote for Obama."

    August 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  20. Patrick Henry, Ft. Myers

    This is old news.
    The investigations have been done...the issues are closed.
    Many political figures were involved directly and indirectly with the S&L collapse, indluding one of Bush Sr.'s offspring. No criminatl wrongdoing could be proved.

    Lame attacks from a candidate who is losing a little of the sugar coating of the primaries.

    Wake Obama...this is the national election–your bony butt is toast. If McCain loses...Barr will win...but conservative values will prevail.

    August 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  21. jill

    There's nothing that Obama says now will change my mind for whom I want to vote for. The fact is Obama is confused about economics and we can't have that today at present state of economy. It won't help that Obama will raise taxes, it won't let the businesses create more jobs or help to expand the economy. Obama replies with criticism at anything John McCain says, thinking that it will make himself look more knowledgeable or presidential like he knows more about the issues. The fact is Obama doesn't know, he is just being swift in providing the indirect answers. Obama always changes his stance on things just trying to go with the opinion of the public. Other people that I know have noticed that about Obama also.

    August 20, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  22. POTUS?

    HEADLINE: OBAMA DISCOVERS DIRT.....
    AND FINDS HE LOVES IT....
    END OF THE NEW KIND OF POLITICIAN......
    WHO NEEDS OBAMA.......

    August 20, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    McCain camp can not take the truth he is thug just like all the rest of the GOP rethuglicans they want to destroy America for money!

    August 20, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  24. McInsane Is A Coward

    Dear Nova From NV,

    We love old politics just about as much as you love old doddering men. McInsane can't run on his record, so he has to trash Barack in order to win.

    Whatever Barack has to do to win is fine, I'll take the "old politics" any day rather than th old Bush Administration that we've had for 8 years. I'm sick of Bush, I'm sick of McCain, and you know what, I'm sick of you.

    Bring it on, you coward-lover.

    August 20, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  25. ShirleyY - Seattle

    DEMOBRAT,

    WRIGHT, AYERS AND REZKO IS OLD NEWS, YOU CAN'T FIND ANYTHING ELSE TO ATTACK OBAMA.

    ALL YOU HATERS FOR OBAMA, MCCAIN LIES ABOUT WAR STORIES AND RICK WARREN KNEW MCCAIN WAS GOING TO DO BADLY AT THE FORUM, SO RICK HELPED HIM OUT BY LIES SAYING HE WAS IN A CODE OF SILENCE.
    SHAME ON YOU RICK WARREN.

    August 20, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
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