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. Mathematics

    Keating 4 plus McCain = Keating 5

    August 20, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  2. Obama

    Excuse me, but are you not the one who has the shaddy past? You of all people think you are going to bring down a war hero like McCain. LOL LOL LOL LOL

    August 20, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  3. Amy

    I think it's time someone reminded the public that electing McCain is choosing 4 four more years of the SAME OLD POLITICS. In my judgement, nothing has gotten done in Washington for the last 8 years, and I'm tired of sending people to Washington who do nothing but pad the pockets of their powerful friends and loyal lobbyists. I think it's time for McCain to retire. It's time for a change. It's time for Obama.

    August 20, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  4. Ethan

    Hell yeah Barack!

    Look at all the GOP cowards now. How's it feel?

    Keating Five
    Jack Abramoff
    Ralph Reed
    Iraq 100 years
    Phil Gramm's "Mental Recession"
    Oil Payoff
    Bush Tax Cuts

    And that's just for starters...

    "No one has supported President Bush on Iraq more than I have." – John McCain

    You're going to hear a lot more about John McCain in the media.

    Oh yes you will.

    August 20, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. That's right..time to get tough!

    That's right Obama. Just tell the truth. McCain will make a bad situation worse!!

    Norfolk, VA

    Veterans for Obama!!!

    August 20, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  6. Helen, NY

    It is interesting when they blame Mcinsane, Mcshame. What happened to Barack Hussein? They are desperate so also Barack. He does not know what to do so he is trying to bring in Abramoff. Poor judgment, poor policy. I am confident that John McCain will have landslide victory come November. What a disaster for democrats. Barack got support from the youths during the primary and now democrats have a poor candidate without any background, without any experience.

    August 20, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. Andrew Kornylak

    Teaching at the same University as Bill Ayers makes Obama linked to terrorism? That's a stretch. Then again, where is Ken Niu?

    Go Maroons.

    August 20, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  8. JoJo

    Unfortunately negative ads is all a lot of U.S. citizens respond to. Most of us are use to it. Obama has to sling some mud back because if he doesn't then the general public will think he's soft and that's sad. Our government loves to bully other nations and that attitude has rubbed off on the American citizens. Wake up America. The general public is causing Obama to go that same route. Don't worry though...I know Obama will come out on top. War is tiresome and expensive and a few people get rich in the process. This crap has to stop and now if we as a country will ever get back on track.

    August 20, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  9. easy rider

    I still fail to see what a stance on abortion (which is law) has anything to do with war, or the economy, and more so why McCain would worry about alienating the bible-thumpers.

    Do we not have more pressing issues to worry about, than arguing about abortion? What next, outlaw alcohol because the bible-thumpers don't like it?

    I am sick and tired of politicians pandering to not only big money, but Big Religion, neither of which has any place in our politics.

    August 20, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  10. McCain/Clinton Ticket

    Dear Deb, IN,

    Forget about it.

    August 20, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  11. Douglas Hunt

    I have a strong feeling that the Democrats are about to pound the Repubs into speckles of dust. They really messed with the wrong politician this time, LOL. Good luck Repubs, PUMA, and Reagan Dem's/

    August 20, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  12. Loyalty23

    Talk about experience for McCain: 26 years in the Senate and chair on many commitees especially for vterans/Military, yet how many times has he proposed/initiated anything to help, How Many? How many times has he voted against anything that would aid/benefit, almost everytime, especially pay raises. Where was his leadership for getting body armor/improved Humvees, non-existent. He's a leader alright, leads all congressmen in beeing absent from votes-That's a hard Fact!
    Experience: Our Founding Fathers: What experieince did any of them have in politics, they were visionary leaders who inspired the country to move!

    August 20, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  13. Jason from California

    First Abramoff and now McCain wants to bring back the draft. Its all over youtube.

    August 20, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |

    Can Obama fix it? I don't know. Our jobs are already gone or going
    out the door! I don't care about Rezko. I care that America will have a
    person that cares. I care about our country and our jobs. The set
    minimum wage is a sin. Minumum Wage only gets bumped up when
    there is a wage increase for the politicians put into the bill.What is it
    $6.75 now? Two family members working for Wal-Mart cannot live on that small income. America is treating hard working people in America like the Chinese
    treats their own people and Wal Mart makes Billions. SHAME ON

    August 20, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  15. eam

    obama what a loser, i thought you were better than that obama, guess you just the same old politics as usual you have no spine to protect babies, you have no spine to keep your word. you sire are not ready you just made yourself look like a lair. guess they are getting a bit fiesty huh obama, you feeling the pressure now, now that you are dead even with McCain. what happened to that lindslide victory everyone was talking about. hot air is all it was, hey i will give you one thing you sure do put on a hell of a show !




    August 20, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  16. Sig, Los Angeles CA

    And now it's time to remind people of the Keating 5 too!

    August 20, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. Helen Must Be Smellin'

    Dear Helen, NY,

    You hold that thought, because that and 4.00 will buy you a gallon of gas. Barack will win, count on it.

    August 20, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  18. Steve

    The difference between McCain and the Keating 5, as well as McCain and Abramoff and Obama and Rezko, is that the Obama/Rezko relationship was thoroughly investigated by the Feds and there was NOTHING illegal in what happened. Obama provided no favors. The low asking price for the Obama house (it's NOT a mansion) has always been a matter of public record. Obama himself said it was stupid to get involved with Rezko, but he gave Rezko no favors. Do you really think that Clinton or McCain wouldn't use this information if it was true? Don't quote PUMA "facts". They aren't facts.

    McCain, on the other hand was deeply involved with the Keating 5 situation. He was heavily invested. He came within a hair's breadth of being indicted himself. Had he not had powerful friends in DC, he's be serving time right now. The Abramoff situation, while not as illegal, was certainly not Mr. McCain's finest hour.

    Ayers, by the way, didn't "launch Obama's career". Ayers was an active radical when Obama was about 7 years old. In later years, after Ayers had paid his debt to society, and was an advocate for the poor and underprivileged, he an Obama served on a board of directors together.

    Please stop listening to 30 second ads and basing your politics on them. No matter where they come from, they're usually only partially truthful (Obama included). Do some research. Real research. Not Limbaugh's self-gratifying website. Not McCain's or Obama's website. There's a big, beautiful internet out there with a lot of good information. Give it a try!

    August 20, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  19. NDog

    This race is between Old Man Potter and George Bailey

    August 20, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  20. Lesley

    Since Obama was 8 years old and living in Jakarta when Ayers was involved in the group, I'd like to see the McCain camp jump on this one. He didn't vacation with him like the McCains and Keating, nor did he speak on his behalf to regulators, like McCain did for Keating, and he wasn't censured by the senate for poor judgment. Obama doesn't have a host of lobbyists running his campaign. How about highlighting Scheuneman's lobbyist activities with Georgia, which just may have started us down the road to WW3 with Russia? Did the McCain lobbyist influence the Georgian president to attack? What about those conversations McCain had over the phone? Can we have disclosure about that? Let's get some fair and balanced investigation here.

    August 20, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |


    August 20, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  22. gman

    We are ready for a fight ,eight more years of bush three, can't stomach it!

    August 20, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  23. jt

    Hard to trash Obama.

    He does not have anything, he have not done a thing. As a US Senator, what did he acoomplished so far. To my knowledge, he just getting paid of tax payer's money about $160,000 a year for doing nothing.

    Obama is doing nothing in the Senate and he is getting paid of a lot of tax payer's money. Obama is big wast

    August 20, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. California Gold

    I know the campaign won't touch Songbird McCain and his verifiable act of treason (signed confession against the United States and giving information to the enemy) in Vietnam. McCain family ties have insulated McCain over the years, but American politics is a rough and tumble game. McCain may just get screwed by his own record. Couldn't happen to anyone more deserving.

    August 20, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  25. Honorable Kansas Vet

    Scandel in politics.....................duh

    August 20, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
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