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

    And while we're at it, why isn't anyone looking into whether John McCain is invested with Silver Bank along with his son who is CEO. It's about to go belly up if the Feds don't bail them out. Sounds like Keating 5 all over again.

    August 20, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  2. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    mario the truth hurts so do not be a cry baby!

    August 20, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  3. b. Krause

    And didn't McCain have a clandestine affair with Cindy for over a year, while his wife was being treated for cancer? How come that isn't being addressed by the press? What's the difference between what Edwards has done and what McCain did? The way the press deals with one and not the other?

    August 20, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  4. KenM

    Ah....I see politics as usual.....i.e. no change

    August 20, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  5. Shannon

    one word REZKO

    August 20, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  6. MM

    I would rather not see a negative campaign. Obama did want to run a non-negative campaign. But what is he supposed to do with the majority of McCain's ads negative? There are too many idiots out there that buy into the McCain smears. Afterall, Obama can't lead us in a change of anything if he doesn't fight back and get elected.

    August 20, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  7. Ken in NC

    Now does this ad imply that Senator McCain is not squeaky clean? Well when you consider the number of years he has been in the House and Senate he is sure to trip once or twice or maybe 9 or 10 times. What bothers me is his temper.

    August 20, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  8. Ovitshio Branco

    It's been years, and the man who murdered so many at the World Trade Center,is still free.

    Years later, many of the katrina victims still have not been able to return home. Instead they spend their
    nights in FEMA trailers that are making them sick.

    Years later, we are still in a war where our men and women are loosing their lives for a war that never should
    have taken place.

    We now live in an economy where the American dollar is fallen fast, people are loosing their homes, gas and
    food prices are on the rise when we have no extra money to give.

    Its time for people to be able to breath again, and not have to go to sleep every night knowing that they might not be able to pay their bills.

    It's time to capture the man who coldly celebrated his success while thousands of Americans cried for their
    loved ones.

    Its time to reach out to the katrina victims who where held captive in a hell with no way out, and help them
    get back home.

    Its time for our troops to be brought home to their familys.

    It' time for a change, because we believe with all our hearts that Barack Obama will
    bring that change.

    August 20, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  9. Ryan, New York, NY

    It truly disgusts me how people can criticize Obama for "going negative" when that's the only thing that John McCain and his GOP cronies have been doing for the last year with Obama. And as it's escalated, the stupid "independent" voters out there actually are moving in McCain's favor because the tactic works.

    The people of the US get everything that they deserve by allowing these Karl Rove-like tactics to work. You'd think that we'd learn, but every 4 years, the rest of us get a reminder that it's not getting better because people apparently have amnesia about the causes of the problems. Instead, they're distracted by negative campaigning.

    And you wonder why Obama's been starting to make comparisions with McCain and run negative ads? By contrast, though, he's got a long way to go to catch McCain and the GOP with how nasty they can get.

    The sad thing is that for the people who are affected by these who claim to be in the middle – they have no idea who the real McCain is. My mother had no idea that McCain left his first wife while she was recovering from an accident. No idea that he was involved in the Keating 5. The list went on and on when she visited this weekend. But she knows all about Rev. Wright and Obama's "ties" with Rezko and Bill Ayers.

    August 20, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  10. McCain Is Scum

    Are you kidding me Mario, Barack has had a slew of attacks from McCain even before he got back from Europe. He has to defend himself. You're an idiot if you think he's going to sit back and allow McCain to attack him day after day, and not DO anything. In your dreams, you toe-scum.

    Obama 08

    August 20, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  11. mark

    GREAT ad !!!!

    Obama '08

    August 20, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  12. Vig

    Obama's campagin messages are losing their effect because people are seeing and hearing nothing new from him. Watch, as you see his lead evaporate right before your eyes. Rock stars don't competent Presidents make. Too much glitter and not enough mettle. McCain's bones were broken in service to this country. Obama doesn't seem to serve anything but himself.

    August 20, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  13. J. McKinney

    Shirley in Seattle writes:
    "Obama it's aright to be nice, but sometimes being nice is not the answer, it's time to fight and fight hard."

    I feel this is so on the war situation, also. It is good to have peace, but not at the expense of the world being taken over by Muslim extremists, and other "nuts". sometimes it's time to "fight and fight hard". I am for Hillary all the way, have been a democrat and voted democrat every since my first vote, for Kennedy, but if Hillary isn't the nominee, I think McCain will do a good job, also. So my vote goes to Hillary or McCain.

    August 20, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  14. b. Krause

    Dig a bit deeper and perhaps a sample of McCain's DNA will show his genetic links to Attilla the Hun. The Ayers thing just won't hunt, fellas.

    August 20, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  15. A CANUCK

    McCain is a womanizing, egotistical fake.....there are definitely two sides to his bio !!!!!!

    August 20, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  16. ALLAN USA.

    From Allan USA.BE mad, your Obama disparate. I spell for you-November 4 McCain 300-Obama 240.O.K.

    August 20, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  17. michael

    Sure, Obama is talking about change. He'll change the taxes, will make them go through the roof.

    August 20, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. Sprayem [youtube name]

    McCain is unelectable.

    August 20, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  19. Deb, IN

    What happened to CHANGE?
    There's still time for Democrats to vote HRC if not then there is no one to blame but yourselves!

    August 20, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  20. Keating 5 includes McShame

    Keating 5...hmmm. Sounds good to me.

    August 20, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  21. Dem

    McCain b4 Country looks like... I thought he's been claiming he put country b4 himself?

    95% Bush, 5% "Maverick"

    August 20, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  22. Brian, Quad Cities

    This is the experience Sen Strangelove has.

    It's time for leadership and judgement

    Obama/______ 2008

    August 20, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  23. Doug

    McCain just dropped the "Bill Ayers" bomb on Obama.

    Bye bye, Barack. Thanks for playing.

    August 20, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  24. TN for Obama

    McWrinkle, "this is all in fun!!!"


    August 20, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  25. Honest Abe


    The only time they are brave is when they are blogging online.

    August 20, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
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