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. jeremy

    awww poor grandpa is about to get a taste of his own medicine you adultery committing fool! CONSERVATIVES BEWARE McCain is a Fake....Vote Barr

    August 20, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  2. Independant Thinker

    Talk about reaching and stretching the truth.

    Come on Obama, be factual and stop lying.

    August 20, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  3. jeremy

    Next I think Obama needs to bring in Carol McCain and her Family to tell the story of how Pappy feels about Marriage!

    August 20, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  4. Eileen from Maine

    I feel good whenever they bring up Mr. Ayers. It means that they haven't got squat, accept for their own guilt.

    August 20, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  5. Andy

    To Nimi from NY: "We just had a "c"average student in the white house and if the poll holds through till November we may be headed towards the second time of such event."

    GW had a better GPA then Al Gore and you probably voted for Gore. Grow up, Bush has an MBA from Harvard Business School. Obama went to school as a Affirmnative Action case.

    August 20, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |

    Who cares? McCain is winning and there is nothing anybody can do about it. Get over it Obama. You can not win. Simple.

    August 20, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  7. Mike, Eugene, Oregon

    What about the report that McCain, partially drunk and insane, accidentally fired a missile on an aircraft carrier and killed several men? Also, the accounts if his philandering, his recent drunken rages that sow he has learned nothing. Then, there is Cindy. And, how about the current boiler rooms of paid bloggers that post vicious lies about Obama and disrupt forums? If the McCain camp and the Swift Boaters want dirty politics, let's feed it back to them in spades. Let's go after Corsi (the "author") and talk about the pedophile scandle, let's drag Fox News "talent" through the mid, let's publicly try McCain and smear him so badly that he is incapable of holding his head up in decent society. The thing is, if you want to, if you NEED TO, you can invent crap, twist facts, bring up rumors and history and make anyone look like a monster. If expect we cannot survive another four years of NeoCon outsourcing and Wall Street crooks running wild anyways. I want to pitch in and throw as much dirt, do as much harm, wreck as many reputations, polarize this country, make government disrespected and unmanageable, as the right wing attack dogs. So, let's get down to it. Let's set up boiler rooms and rumor mills, an attack machine that ill turn this country's stomach.

    August 20, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  8. Jeremy Johnson

    So, is this what the Obama campaign means by "not going negative." Oh wait, they will just plead that "we only went negative b/c we had to." So, he can have it both ways! See how it works? Do not criticize the Chicago machine puppet.

    August 20, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  9. White-African American Military BRAT

    I, for one, am sick and tired of McCain acting like he single handedly won Vietnam, and that HE and HE ALONE will win Bushes War in Iraq, then Iran and then Russia. Shucks, let's just TAKE OVER THE WORLD! By-the-way, Russia is doing the EXACT SAME THING to Georgia that Bush did to Iraq.

    If there is one thing OUR Military family can not stand for, it's someone who plays up their military experiences for their own illgotten gain. ie. the Presidency

    He was a soldier doing his job, THAT'S ALL.

    My Dad was actually SHOT while being shot down in WWII. He too, was held prisoner of war. None of that means I would elect him to run our country.

    Should, God forbid, McCain win this election, WE ARE ALL DOOMED.. We will be tied up in Iraq, while McSame threatens to take action against Russia. While Russia takes aim at the US.

    Can you say, Nuke, Nuke, Nuke, Nuke, Nuke America?

    August 20, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  10. Dave in Chicago

    The negativity from the Obama camp is the mark of despiration. The celebrity is fading. The empty shell is becoming obvious and this is all they have left in their arsenal.

    August 20, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  11. witt

    LOL.........Obama. In panic mode so he turns up the wick.

    Same old, same old.

    August 20, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  12. soloobama08

    So McSame is questioning O's judgment. Let's evaluate his...
    Keating 5???? Wrong
    His decision regarding the Iraq war???? Wrong
    Drill here, drill now? Wrong
    Supporting Bush's policies?? Wrong
    Defending the "rich"??? about $ 5 million...wrong
    I used to like you McSame, but you're out of touch with the American mid/low people. This election is not about Democrats or's about AMERICA. I am ready to vote for someone who will fight for my pocket, for my family, and most importantly for AMERICA.

    August 20, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  13. Tom

    Again we see that Obama is the same old, same old. So much for "unity" and running a campaign "on the issues". Guess that only applies when he's got a spiritual advisor spouting off at the mouth. So now, because he's learning that he can't beat McCain on the issues, he's going negative. Sit down Mr. Obama – you bore me.

    August 20, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  14. Mary Lou

    America is in serious trouble... it is no longer a government by the people for the people... The election is being controlled by the mainstream doesn't matter who you vote for...Mc Cain will win...because ...this is why the Media gave the most prime time to two of the least likely democratic hopeful nominee's a Woman and a Black Man...while the more experienced and good democratic nominee's were ignored and blacked out! Like Kucinich (the only canidate to put forth articles calling for impeachment of GW Bush and Dick Chaney)...many folks didn't even know who he was until it was too they didn't know Obama either ....until the media put him in the lime light..and clearly Obama was just being used and now they will move to degrade him as much as they can.... what a disgrace the Media has played on the people in such a manner as that...there should be a law protecting all presidential canidates allowing "ALL" to participate on the televised media and "All" to be heard fairly regardless of how many there are!....And the Electoral College Crap...thats so Not allowing every vote count!!! YOUR VOTE DOESN'T COUNT....So why even Vote...

    August 20, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  15. tom, valley forge, PA

    A different campaign?? Obama is a fraud and people are waking up to the facts. He has nothing to offer and will be defeated handily in Nov.

    August 20, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  16. Larry in TX

    McCain may be innocent in the Abramoff scandal,
    but he is still Bush Light.

    August 20, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  17. frank rivas

    chris from ny, you're right feeling so despaired and confused. with so much technological advances in this country, it is hard to figure out why half of the population, at the very least, are so mentally handicapped. and other countries are called "banana countries"; isn't it funny?

    August 20, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  18. m

    You poor Democrats don't you see, your arrogant wonder boy is not going to make it. Obama is too week, inexperience, with only ampty head for himself and his arrogans to be the first black president,
    yes we goin to hae one , but not him.
    Obama never .

    August 20, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  19. mike

    McCain's OK – long as he doesn't have to actually think. That seems to be a bit of a stretch for him. But he does well when lobbyists are telling him what to say . Just depends on what we want from our president – a tool, or a thinker?

    August 20, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  20. Heartlight 3, Maui, HI

    How can you guys say that since Obama is starting to use negative ads, you're now going to vote for McCain? Why is it not okay for Obama to go negative, but you don't seem to mind that that's all McCain has done! I don't get it. McCain can be as negative as he wants, but if Obama goes even a little bit negative you're not voting for him? Don't you think that's a bit inconsistent? You say, well Obama said he wanted a new kind of politics that is not negative so the fact that he now is responding to the negative attacks with a little negativity himself makes him a liar. McCain was the one who said he was going to run a positive, respectful campaign, but he hasn't. Why is negative advertising a deal breaker for Obama, but not a problem if McCain does it? What's up with that?

    August 20, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  21. The Great American, Columbus ohio

    Rezko, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Richard Daley. I'd much rather choose someone who has very very loose ties with a lobbyist than some who has any ties with the 4 names mentioned. Barack Obama is opening a huge can worms and it's going to come back and bite im in the but....

    August 20, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  22. NC

    i didnt know about the Keating five until i saw it on CNN tonight what a disgrace for him and his wife ,Wright and ayers is nothing compared to John McCain that i saw about him tonight,he is also one of the Republican dummies-BUSHED

    August 20, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  23. ruin

    William Ayers is not and never has been a professor at the University of Chicago. He lectures at the *much* less prestigious Univ. of Illinois (circle campus), which is in no way connected with the University where Barack taught.

    Please keep your facts straight CNN.

    August 20, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  24. ap

    if you want to send your kids and grandkids to mccain.
    why dont you americans get it?
    what victory in Iraq are we talking about. how delusional can a presidential candidate get?
    if we vote that cranky old man: were done for.
    god bless america.

    August 20, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  25. jason, tx

    'bout time 🙂

    August 20, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
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