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. Jean

    For a man who "crashed" 3 military planes, cause a fire on a naval ship that destroyed hundreds of lives.
    got shot down, because he became confused.......




    In your heart of hearts, you know McCain is SO WRONG.... stand up.
    Vote for Change!
    Vote Obama!

    August 20, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  2. Clif, Ga.

    Google The "Keating Five " and you will find out all about McCain. This man has shown poor judgment a long time. I see why he uses the phrase "poor judgment". Check it out.

    August 20, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  3. Itoldyouso

    McCain is bought and paid for. What a creep! He abandoned his cancerous wife to have a fling with this new floozie.

    August 20, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  4. Phil

    I find it very sad that these two are the best we can come up with. This is a truly pathetic time in American politics. I find both of these men unworthy of the job in which they are applying.

    August 20, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  5. Dan - California

    To me, Senator McCain is not a hero, but a man who was a prisoner of war who feared his father. He has built a life living on and bilking the public trough.

    I respected him in 2000 and I have no respect for him in 2008.

    Senator Obama to the best of his ability stands proud and will bring honor back to the White House and our Nation.

    It's time to think of America First and stop all the pontificating..

    OBAMA 08

    August 20, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  6. D in Phoenix

    Why is McCain known as "songbird". Patriot, my rear! This stool pigeon would and still will do anything to benefit himself. Including making propaganda films for the enemy and dumping his first wife for a younger woman with money.

    All you have to do is look at him agree with a lady in New Mexico today (8-20) about reinstating the draft and you get a better understanding that issues are irrelevant, he'll just agree and nod his way to his dream job.

    August 20, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  7. Eric Howlett

    Can you get the following 19 second Micro Script (picture with voice over) made and available for broadcast??

    IMAGE starts with a resolute-jawed John McCain.....


    · Is there any other American politician....
    · Who is more steadfast in his beliefs.....
    · Who is more convinced that his instant answers are absolutely right.....
    · Who is more unwavering in his certainty of final success?

    while PICTURE morphs into....

    A sideways-glancing George W. Bush!


    (It would surely give those who thought McCain had the better of the pastor question session a moment of serious thought.)

    Eric Howlett

    August 20, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  8. vc, md

    It's pathetic to see the candidate of change playing the same old politics. If he loses his holier than thou aura, what else he can fight on? No experience! No substance! Do we want him to learn on job like Bush? It's time to put Obama under scrutiny. I also see that Obama supports are total hypocrites. If they are behind Obama for his being different, they should focus on issues and not call McCain supporter idiots and so on. It usually happens when they start losing.

    August 20, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  9. Mauri

    Nice try, Obama, but so many of us have traveled with Senator McCain down the same long road, and we know what his character is, what and who he has backed. He has acknowledged his mistakes but has learned from them. There's just too much at stake with our great country and its serious, future challenges. While we acknowledge your achievements in such a short period of time, there is just too much to ask of us to turn such problems over to a newcomer. So no matter what you and your supporters say about John McCain, he is tested and is the person Americans will place their trust in to apply his many years of experience. In four years' time, you'll be able to match that experience, but not now.

    August 20, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  10. Barack The Vote!

    For all those who didn't know this, Senator Obama was approximately 6 years old when William Ayers and the Weather Underground were supposedly in existence. Senator Obama met William Ayers AFTER HE BECAME AN ADULT. I doubt very seriouslly if the U.S.A. would allow someone the McCain camp claims to be a terrorist, to be a professor at a highly respected college. Willialm Ayers would be on a terrorist watch list if that were the case, and he is not nor has he ever been. Especially since McCain claims to have all of this POW and foreigh policy experience. He wouldn't let someone like William Ayers slip through the "Terrorist Crack" would he? Senator Obama knows since he became an adult William Ayers. John McCain is taking "kick backs" and political favors from Ralph Reed TODAY, not 25-30 years ago! A BIG DIFFERENCE – McCain is a crook, a liar, a Dubya clone and a warmonger!

    August 20, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  11. Gail

    I feel very strongly that John McCain is a warmonger. Whenever he speaks, no matter what the initial subject matter, he almost always brings in at least a few sentences about his service in Vietham and strongly discusses a questionable story that could have been taken from the writings of his favorite author. I always hear a military push with McCain and I really thought that in 2008, we would be beyond thoughts of playing with guns given the fact that we know the real damage that could result from weapons that are available to all countries.

    In give Obama credit for taking a punch at McCain. I often thought that he was stricking back hard enough at McCain and his lies. And by the way, I am a daugther a father that won the purple ribbon for both World War I and World War II and was highly recognized in his community for his military service. However, my father would never accept John McCain, and he is probably turning over and over and over in his grave over this election and particularly John McCain.

    August 20, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  12. 2pacolypse

    Keating Five
    Pastor Hagee
    Pastor Parsley
    Jack Abramhoff
    Tardy from Senate votes 63.3% since 2000.
    Lobbyist infested campaign completely ran by lobbyist.
    Looked into Vladimir Putin's Soul while taking kickbacks from the Georgian republic. Some Foreign Policy.
    Let's Drill. Let's Drill Right Here and Right Now
    8,200 people will lose jobs in Ohio thanks indirectly to his current lobbyist campaign manager.

    That's the McSame McBush

    August 20, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  13. Scott

    Obamatron at his best! Keep up the good work...McCain will appreciate it when he wins.

    August 20, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  14. Dick

    I don't know why the media is absolutely in love Obama. He has to be the biggest "empty suit" I have ever seen. I am not a McCain fan, but Obama has no substance. He is already changing positions, he doesn't like to answer questions unless they are on his terms and he walks around like he is god. Maybe the real Obama will show up during the debates.

    August 20, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  15. Paula Lacey

    Prisoners of war come home alive and with their limbs. McCain should not brag about being a prisoner of war. It just means he wasn't smart enough not to get caught. He came home and married a young millionaire. America appreciates his service, but that doesn't mean we owe him the presidency or that he is more patriotic than Obama. Millions of men have served in wars, and they don't think we owe them the presidency. People should retire at 65, after that age the brain takes a dive.

    August 20, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  16. Pat

    It takes a frightfully biased mind to believe that Barack Obama is running a negative campaign! What is he supposed to do....just let the dirty old man, who also happens to be a psycho sucker punch him and tell lies on him.

    It takes a frightfully biased mind not to see that McCain in some ways is as dumb as and more of a Warmonger than Dubya!

    What's the deal with Lieberman and McCain? They seem unnaturally close?

    What really happened to Cindy's wrist? she looks so scared most of the time. I am glad she lost the big, oversized, "black" arm sling!

    If McCain should become President; then Cindy doesn't have to worry about moving in with McCain; so long as Lieberman is there!

    Listen and observe. McCain=Monster!

    August 20, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  17. Jack from Freedom USA

    A lot of people on here wonder why the corruption of the republican party with the likes of Bush and McCain hasn't been given the press coverage it deserves? Well, ever wonder who OWNS the media – THE RICH REPUBLICANS!

    McCain is an old cantankerous goat that is as greedy as the day is long!

    And, his experience with his last wife and children underscore his personal integrity!

    August 20, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  18. Jesse

    It was only a matter of time before everyone went negative... let's face it, negative ads work!

    August 20, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  19. chelsea

    Barack is nothing but an ambitious inexperienced presidential candidate who wants to take a short-cut to the white house. what does he have to offer anyway? his 2 years worth of experience in the senate? i know it's not the quantity of years but the quality of it. unfortunately, even that doesn't save him. just because he voted against the war doesn't mean he has a sound judgment, hence his indecisiveness on mostly all important issues thrown at him throughout his campaign period.

    August 20, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  20. Paris

    Obama you are not a leader.

    August 20, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    McCain is a hero but those that say he is experienced enough to be president are losing it. You have your 'C' average student in the WH now and you want to elect the 'D' student to replace him?

    I'd rather elect the professor to come take care of business.

    Obama 08

    August 20, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  22. Tammy

    Your show tonight was just another biased, never ending campaign ad for Obama. YAWN! How about some real reporting for a change?

    August 20, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  23. Clinton/McCain

    Bring it on Obama! Why don't you force the U. of Illinois to release documents revealing your collaborations with the infamous Weatherunderground leader, Bill Ayers.

    August 20, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  24. Nia Hussein - Phoenix, AZ

    Nice add President Obama...and they said you wern't going negative enough.

    August 20, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  25. Go Obama!

    That's right, Obama! Get down and dirty and take no prisoners. Talk about how he dumped his sick wife for the rich one. Talk about his wife's drug abuse. Talk about the Keating Five. Talk about ALL of it. We have a stupid electorate who seems to only love sensationalism.

    August 20, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
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