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. Farrell, Houston, Tx


    August 20, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  2. Jimbo

    Obam is clearly getting desperate. I see that most polls have John McCain with a 5 point lead and then CNN has him trailing Obama by 1 point, meaning he actually has a 5 point lead. And now Obama is starting to talk like Reverand Wright with the accent, just wait the Dean scream is coming. The Dems got lucky in 2004 when Dean vetted himself before the General election, they are shooting themselves in the foot as Obama is set to unravel.

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

    YES WE CAN!!!



    OBAMA 2008

    August 20, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  4. J.C.

    Don't worry. There are still 100% – 89% = 11% of undecided voters in the poll of polls. Once the VPs are announced, we will get a better idea.

    Obama/Biden or Obama/Jack Reed

    It's going to be a tough choice.

    August 20, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  5. Robert Mahoney

    It's funny! Obama touts that he is going to take care of the poor while he has let his 1/2 brother live on a couple of buck a month in Africa. What a hypocrite!

    August 20, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  6. Patrick

    This is a new low for Odrama!

    August 20, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  7. Bob G.

    All John has to do is re-run Hillary ads against Barry – She was right on and said it all – "just a speech".

    August 20, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  8. sacto joe

    Hey, Senator McCain: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!

    August 20, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  9. Cutus

    Obama simbolizes a new kind of politics...
    new here, but not in Russia, Old germany and everyother dictarorship..
    the guy is bad news....

    August 20, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  10. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    The public needs to know the bad about McCain. I'm sick of hearing about his military service. He's done plenty of bad stuff. Adultery, Keating Five, and this.........C'mon Dems. Tell it like it is. Let's hear the real "Straight Talk".............Let's hear all the stuff they said about him in 2000 for him to lose to Bush............

    August 20, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  11. pj

    You guys are brutal!

    Remember right after 911 when we all seemed to be together?

    Pulling for each other?

    What happened?

    August 20, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  12. Rick in Chicago

    For those too stupid or lazy to do the research ... the money involved in the Keating 5 scandal completely dwarfed the $300,000 sweetheart deal that Obama got on a house.

    Per the Chicago Sun Times: "McCain was one of the 'Keating Five' senators who met with federal regulators to ask them not to crack down on Keating's failing Lincoln Savings and Loan. Keating's political hardball bought him an extra two years. During that time, the cost to tax-payers of bailing out his thrift grew from $1.2 billion to $3.4 billion."

    You guys are gonna have to do WAY better than Rezko if you want to try and cancel out McCain's Keating 5!

    August 20, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  13. Funny!

    The ad does prove one and only one thing.....That Obama is scared. Very scared.

    These are desperate ads of a losing candidate kicking up waves just for the chance to stay float.

    I'm a life-long Democrat watching this circus of horrors. It didn't need to be this way. The ugly Chicago politics of Obama only goes so far, as we are thankfully seeing now. 🙂

    August 20, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  14. POW POS

    McCain will reinstate the draft. Get your kids ready. Draft Republicans first

    August 20, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  15. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    When asked today about bringing back the Draft ,McCain agreed he was for it. Do you want the Draft brought back so your children can go and get klilled in McSame's 100 yr war? Think about it..............

    August 20, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  16. banderson

    Deception, misdirection, and propaganda, this is the Republican way. If you attack back they will back off.

    August 20, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  17. SamSunny

    Let's take a look at McCain's military records and all of his health records. If, as reported by fellow POWs, that John McCain made propaganda tapes for his captors, then he has no place mentioning anything about Obama. If he didn't, then let us see the records. Why has John McCain fought tirelessly to keep those records closed?

    August 20, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  18. PUMA 4 HILL

    a different kind of politics, a new kind of politics right Obama?

    Out with the old even if it's good. In with the new, scary and unaccomplished, right Obama??

    These ads are just like the rest I've seen in my 40 plus years....

    No BEEF, NOBAMA – he's shallow and empty.

    August 20, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  19. Why not?

    keating 5. – his recent statement on reinstating the draft , that's a goodie – play it in a loop. he's got 25 years of dc politics, there's a ton of dirt out there, the gloves just have to come off. You can be negative on defense.

    mccain should probably start backing off – obama strikes hard and swift. mccains never gonna see what hit him.

    how many wars does mccain want to start?

    I lose respect for mccain every day. what a disgrace.

    August 20, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  20. Richard, FL

    "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."

    So where is this viscious criminal who is guilty of a long list of terrorist activities? Has he hid out somewhere? Has he left the country? Is he hiding in a cave with bin Laden?

    He's a professor at the University of Chicago. Tell McCain's people so they can turn him in and supply their proof.

    August 20, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  21. strict script

    Its on. McBush is about to get a few things he'll never forget.

    August 20, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  22. Michael

    Is this staying above the fray? Is this change we can believe in? Is this a negative attack by the Obama campaign? CNN needs to stop scapegoating Hilary Clinton when Obama gets in trouble and Obama needs to stop trying to have it both ways.

    August 20, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  23. Barack For President- Change We Can Believe In!

    So, McCain borrowed from Hillary Clinton's playbook on how to destroy Senator Obama, according to another blog on this Ticker? This is why everyone in the Democratic party was trying to tell Hillary when it was mathematically impossible for her to beat Senator Obama, to stop the attacks and drop out of the race. At that point, she could have united the Democratic party and cause less harm to Senator Obama and the Democratic party. But what did she try to do because she couldn't win? She used every underhanded tactic she could think of to try to destroy Senator Obama.

    All of you that want Senator Obama to loose this election simply because Hillary wouldn't drop out of a race she had long lost, can be very happy now and can look forward to Senator Hillary Clinton having the same dirty and underhanded tactics played on her by the Republican party, who will be sure to bring up every single lie, misstep, smear, "baggage" they can think of against her (and Bill Clinton) when she tries to run in 2012. All of you are kidding yourself if you think Hillary Clinton will win the Presidential election in 2012; the same things she did to Senator Obama, will be done to her and more if she causes Senator Obama to loose this election. Not to mention, she DEFINITELY WILL NOT HAVE 18,000,000 VOTERS in 2012 because she will not have the support of Senator Obama's 18,000,001 voters!! Trust me!

    August 20, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  24. Robert

    Oh, if that aint just Nasty, I had heard about Obama and the weatherunderground but the news just wont dig in to it....

    August 20, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  25. charley

    I'm not deciding to vote for anyone until I see the vice president candidates. Senator Obama has to go first since the democratic convention is first. Senator McCain will counter the following week. If anyone wants to k now what Senator Obama is about. Look at his voting record in the US senate and his record in the Illonois state legislator. Extreme liberal! He's not the former late President Jack Kennedy as I remember. He won't be bringing in a verson of Camelot but more a Moscowlot. The extreme liberal left under Howard dean has unfortunately captured the DNC leadership. The American public knows that and is not stupid. Obama may get a bump from the united convention but so will the republicans once Senator McCain announces his candidate and they have their convention. Then the fur will fly. Its all in Gods hands.

    August 20, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
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