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. toby hill

    Everyone talking about Keating 5 better get their facts straight. It was 4 Democrats and 1 Republican, McCain. McCain was cleared although it was ruled he used bad judgement.
    It seems Obama uses bad judgement with regards to his friends he keeps everytime he gets a friend.

    August 20, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  2. rosemccovery


    August 20, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  3. Pat

    Bye Bye Roe vs Wade....Hello Selective Service; Onward to WWIII;

    Bye Bye to America recapturing the respect of the World.

    Bye Bye to America's Infrastructure

    Hello to third world citizenship!!!!

    I sure hope that the majority of Americans want a change from the last Administration, because, McCain will be McWorse!!!!

    America, can you see the "evil" in his laughter; can you hear the "hiss" when he speaks? Can you hear the firing of arms?

    The only thing that McCain cares about, other than McCain is Lieberman.....

    Youth of America had better stand up and have their vote counted; or get ready to fight McPsycho's Wars!!!!!

    August 20, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  4. Jay

    I applaud Senator Obama for doing this. McCain is playing dirty and eroding his leads in many key states. Obama needs to talk more about Keating 5, which will turn off Independents, and his philandering on his first wife, which will revile most women. McCain is pretending to be some sacrimonous guy when he's just scum.

    August 20, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  5. John Holmes

    Awesome. Keep it up, put them on the defensive where they belong, because they are all crooks, and they know it deep inside.

    August 20, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    I don't care what anyone says about John McCain, he has been through the trenches and has adapted and overcome to the worst of situations. When will politicians learn like everybody else that trash talking you competition is not a good business practice? I do not favor McCain’s environmental policy however he is more American than both President Clinton, and President Bush. It is the right time for Americans to stand up and vote for somebody who understands that sacrifice and commitment to God, Corps, and Country is the one who needs to be in charge. Semper Fi to the U.S.A.

    August 20, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  7. Amy

    Mikel, you are so right! Obama's ads state facts, McCain's attack ads lie to the American people. If he's lying to us already, why should we expect anything less if he gets to the White House? No thank you, we've been lied to enough over Bush's term. Vote change, vote honesty, vote Obama.

    August 20, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  8. Carl from MI

    McCain was the first one to claim he wouldn't lead a negative campaign... and that's ALL HE'S BEEN DOING SINCE HE WON THE PRIMARY!! He knows that's the ONLY way he can even come close to competing with Obama... the only way for him is to SLIME IT UP!!

    So when I hear you Repuglicans get all down on Obama for throwing some of McCain's slime back on him... not only has McCain earned it, but he has it coming.

    McCain was BEST FRIENDS with Chuck Keating... even went on vacation with him (Keating's treat!!!) and NEVER reported it until he got busted for it. Come on, Repuglicans... let's discuss Keating and Abramoff!!!

    Funny... whenever the topic comes up, all Repuglicans can do change the subject to Obama and project onto him!! You're all Rush 'the pill popper' Limpbaugh wannabees!!!!!

    August 20, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |

    America wants a president with REAL FAMILY VALUES.

    Ohhhhhh – Bama

    Ohhhhhh- Eight

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhh – Bama

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh – Yeahhhh!

    August 20, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  10. Turn The Page

    It is time for Obama to hit back. This republican machine is just as ruthless in twisting truths as this society's ability to be gullable to a fault. John Cain is using the same methods that Bush II used on worked and Bush II was given the keys to the oval office to reap havac. Look America...first time same on the republicans...second time shame on us!

    August 20, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  11. McCain, no he can't!

    If McCain wins, the draft will come back. It's true.

    George W. Bush nemesis was Saddam Hussein. What happened? War with Iraq.

    John McCain's nemesis is Vladimir Putin. What will happen? Future war with Russia.

    No more war!

    August 20, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  12. Arden

    Obama, You tried to play by the rules and get along with the other kids on the playground.Nice Guys, sadly enough, loose. I respect eveything you stand for and the decent kind of campaign you tried to present. FORGET IT. Its time to fight back . You don't have to "change " your message and what you want for America. John McCain hates you. He hates you because your black, he hates you because of your "Harvard Education". Seeing him today as the man he really is; you don't have to stand up and take it anymore. Any by the way don't let the Clinton's boss you around either. Your supporters need to see that Barack Obama they saw when you MADE YOUR famous keynote presentation. We need to see that "Fired up" Barack Obama again. John McCain only cares about winning and everyone and anyone connected to George Bush is munipulating him like a robot. GO FOR IT. You have nothing to be afraid of.

    August 20, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  13. Paul

    Breaking News: John McCain wants to Bring Back the Draft

    This is serious Everyone!!!!!!!

    John McCain wants to send your Sons to War

    John McCain wants to bring back the Draft to help fight a War with Russia he is recklessly provoking.

    John McCain wants to bring back the Draft to continue fighting in Iraq for a 100 years

    Please take his words seriously because it will be your Sons Lives you put on the line.

    August 20, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  14. Jon

    One more note about McCain today he said he would be for reinstating the "DRAFT" . How many more Americans need to loose their life before you wake-up and see this man is out of his mind.

    August 20, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  15. Venus

    This is not a "negative" ad. McCain has shown questionable ethics in the Senate many times. It's why charges were brought against him for the Keating 5. It's simply revealing his true character. Make your own decisions. It's hardly mudslinging. Mudslinging would be attacking his character for leaving his severely injured first wife for a younger richer blonde. That would be negative, true and revealing, but negative.

    Or maybe we could just recall McCain's answer to those struggling w/ mortgages..."get a second job and take less vacations". A highly arrogant and out of touch response that does not solve the current mortgage crisis in any way.

    August 20, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  16. ex-Republican for Obama

    McWar would be so bad for this country. I sure hope Obama can defeat him.

    August 20, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  17. Dan J

    So Obama keeps criticizing McCain for running negative ads and dirty campaigns. He stooped to that level. I lost respect for Obama after this blatant hypocrisy.

    As for michael, who asks how McCain is a hero just for getting shot down in combat: that is a disgusting question to raise. ALL of our people in the Armed Services are heroes. They are joining and often risking their lives for our country. McCain is a hero because he agreed to go into combat in the first place. If you bothered to actually educate yourself about the candidate, you'd realize that McCain did some very heroic things during his service, on top of getting shot down. Things that I doubt you would ever do.

    August 20, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  18. Chipster

    This election should not even be close! How can any sane person continue to support the GOP after the past 7 years of abuse of power, incompetence, economic disaster, and the destruction of our International reputation? Have Americans gone completely mad?

    August 20, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  19. Kim

    I'm sick of folks fighting using words.

    McCain is too old and he has a hearing problem
    Its time for some one younger and sharp mentally


    August 20, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  20. Deli

    do u all really want to know WHY Obama has to finally go negative despite his best efforts of doing otherwise? THINK HARD..........

    *drum roll...................*

    it's the low-information, highly-ignorant American populace that loves and feeds on negative campaigns that allow this to continue to work. It's the same people that voted for Bush twice!

    McCain is NO American hero. Dropping bombs on mostly defenseless villages filled with unarmed civilians is not an act of heroism. I give him props for staying behind as a POW. But being a POW is by no means a '+' to becoming a president. McCain was a subpar pilot and when he was told he couldn't make it to admiral, he used his connections (his father's connections) to get into politics.

    Where has 8 years of tax cuts for businesses created in jobs/pay? Please compare the statistics for 'fiscal conservatism' vs "tax and spend' of Clinton's admin and you will see that we went into year 2001 with a SURPLUS and HIGHER wages across the board. Fiscal conservatism (from Reagan to Bush Sr, to Bush Jr." all ended with hundreds of BILLIONS of $ in debt. explain that to me.

    Obama is not even close to a being a perfect candidate, but he is definitely a more intelligent man than McCain judging from how he handles himself with deep questions and his background in education. He may not have the most experience, but that's why he has ADVISORS/GENERALS/CHEIFS OF STAFFS/ADMIRAL to help him out like any other president. I do not want a TRIGGER HAPPY COWBOY IN THE OVAL OFFICE AGAIN, PERIOD.

    August 20, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  21. jimmy


    August 20, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  22. John

    McPast is past, Obama for future.
    America went through 8 years of suffering.
    Wake up.
    By supporting McUnpredictable, you may go to war and stay there. For his hour, he may even start a war- just to prove something. History has seen many mad caps .
    We need to have a different world for 21 century with different leadership
    I am not sure who is conducting these polls, they are giving false message.
    America- we are for the future.
    Wa are part of a larger world.
    Our status in the world will be recognised only through Obama. leadership.

    August 20, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  23. Not This Time

    Good. It's time for Obama to get down and dirty cause the Republicans are just biding the time before they get reeeally nasty. They are desperate and desperate times calls for desperate measures. They will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING to stay in power and to get that old geezer McCain in the White House. It doesn't matter what a disappointment he is to the Republican Party, because he will just be a puppet to who ever will be pulling his strings once he gets in the White House. But please America, NOT THIS TIME. Let's not let it happen.

    August 20, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  24. Marty, FL

    John McCain, Ralph Reed, Jack Abramoff, Keating 5....

    August 20, 2008 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  25. Paris

    Steve we all make choices in life.

    Obama's choices have been Wright, Rezko, Ayers. And he called Wright his MENTOR.
    He chose not to put American flag on his chest.
    His wife has never been proud of America.

    Obma's choices have been on the wrong side.

    He doesn't have the Judgment to lead this nation.

    August 20, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
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