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. BK

    Obama is a joke and people are starting to figure out rhetoric hope and change don't mean a thing. The empty suit Obama.

    August 20, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. not important

    Tom Delay and Ralph Reed should be in jail with Jack Abramoff.

    August 20, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  3. Flip Flopper

    Obama finally flip-flopped on his promise "I won't run a negative campaign".

    Looking forward to him flipping to GOP one day. =)

    August 20, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Reasonable Observer

    SInce Obama is bringing up scandals.... Perhaps he will call for the University of Illinois at Chicago Library to release the records of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. This is the organization Obama and Bill Ayers (the guy from the neighborhood) worked together on.

    Perhaps Obama will fully disclose his dealings with Tony Rezko.

    Perhaps Obama will disclose what he did while an Illinois Senator instead of stating thse records might be lost.

    Perhaps Obama will explain his 2007 endorsement of Chicago Mayor Dailey.

    August 20, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. John Doe

    Hahahaha what a desperate attempt by a desperate man. All the people who condemned McCain's attack ads on these forums are now praising Obama. Keep borrowing even though you're in debt, blame the goverment for you problems, roll with the tide, and vote for someone as naive about the political process as yourselves, because, in the end, it won't matter, the Democrats have sealed your fait as losers once again. At least you'll get to complain for four more years, right? Isn't that the point anyway, thay you can blaim other people for your terrible contributions to society?? McCain 08!!

    August 20, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  6. Michael

    This is a serious misstep by Obama.

    This is old news and McCain was found blamless. This incident actually served to motivate McCain to fight corruption in Congress.

    Most Dems probably won't believe that, but independents do.

    This is old news to most independents who hold McCain in the highest regard for his integrity and being a maverick and going against the majority of his own party when his views differ from theirs.

    Obama can not win without the independent swing vote. He will only be able to win them over by convincing them on the issues. When he trashs McCain like this, Obama loses.

    I think you can put a fork in Obama after this one, he's done. Big mistake.

    August 20, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. Hayden

    This ad is going to backfire big time, Obama has so many radical ties....McCain can choose from to fire back at Obama.

    Go John McCain 08!

    August 20, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  8. Peter

    Obama 08

    August 20, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. Andrew

    How many of you dumped your sick wives and married a younger woman with hundreds of millions of dollars.

    How many of you were the son of an admiral, so even if you should have flunked out of the Naval Academy, you weren't.

    How many of you wear $500 loafers?

    And this man and his GOP thugs call a child of a single parent, who had to rely on schoarships and loans to EARN his American dream, an elitist and out of touch with America?

    The GOP is why the American dream remains just a dream and no where closer to reality.

    97% of American's will benefit from Obama's tax cut.

    Only the richest, 3% of the country will benefit from McCains tax plan.

    And the real elite (McCain's base) will not feel the Obama tax cut as much as the AVERAGE American will be hurt by the same policies that exist today.

    Why is America blind to this? Because the GOP likes to talk in slogans and not reality.

    August 20, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  10. Ari

    jt, Obama has shown up for more votes than John McBush has. He is still getting his senators salary. He also gets about $60,000 a year from the VA for supposedly being 100% disabled. If he is 100% disabled then why is he running for president. He has done nothing for Arizona, which by the way, is where I live.

    ARIZONA FOR OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 20, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |

    GOOGLE "KEATING FIVE" ................. WHERE'S HIS KIDS?

    OBAMA '08/12 OBAMA '08/12 OBAMA '08/12 OBAMA '08/12OBAMA '08/12 OBAMA '08/12 OBAMA '08/12 OBAMA '08/12

    August 20, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  12. KYJurisDoctor

    Good Ad. John McCain CANNOT afford to be "Jack Abramoff"ed!

    August 20, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  13. bc

    Ugh. McCain is Bush #2. Do we really want 4 more years of Bush?

    This country really wants a moron in office. Both George and John care nothing about world diplomacy. It's disgusting how stupid America wants it's president.

    John McCain can NOT think on his feet. He is old, and gray, and cannot even give a speech without reading a teleprompter. Seeing him in office would scare me, because he would probably fall over dead from a heart palpation because he's so old. Oh, and then his VP (Joe Lieberman??) would become President. Sigh.

    How similar is this? A war "vet" who failed out of school. Only McCain had his daddy to bail him out.

    This is what I expect of Americans though: "Dumb everything down. Vote GOP and Big Oil, that's all that matters!"

    Me on the other hand, I see through the GOP smoke and mirrors.


    August 20, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  14. Rich

    This is not good McCain and his mind numb supporters want to get into this tabloid he said BS. McCain if four more years of failed policies. McCain can only talk about why we should vote for Obama not why we should support him. McCain makes gaffe after gaffe, attack ad after attack ad, lie after lie and then points to his captivity and verteran status as a shield. Whatever hone McCain earned being a POW double has been sold for political gain. As a Republican I hope he can prove me wrong on this. But all I've hear so far is surge this surge that, attack, gas tax holiday, attack, drill hear drill now, attack, war war war war. This is not a leader of the free world.

    August 20, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  15. Patricia

    Steve ~ thank you for your very calm clarification to these Ayres and Rezko "screamers" .... to bad that they are too stupid and/or blind to pay attention.

    August 20, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  16. Peter (CA)


    How dare you ask people to think for themselves and research information? How are the sheep supposed to flock to McCain if they see all the information out there about what a poor choice he would be?

    I think the RNC may be after you soon. They'll send a squadron of Dittoheads to gnaw on your phone and cable lines.

    August 20, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  17. Marc PDX

    Rev. Wright: "G.D. America! G.D. America! G.D. America!"

    Obama: "ZZZZZZzzzzzz.... huh? what? oh, I was sleeping. What did he say?" x 20 years

    August 20, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  18. True

    Haven't you all learned anything? White America can get away with anything. C'mon people, you'd have to catch McCain strangling an old lady to get him.

    August 20, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  19. squeek

    Ben Overgoode

    Go Obama!!!

    August 20, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. Linda K.

    Ayers and Rezko aren't the same as McCain ties to Abramoff.

    Ayers did his dirty work when Obama was seven years old. By the time Obama met him, Ayers was a respected professor. If you don't like that, talk to the university that hired him.

    Rezko just went through a trial. Obama wasn't found to have any ties to Rezko's illegal dealings, even though the governor of Illinois was. If there was anything to come out, it would have been unearthed during the trial.

    Anyway, we all know what our parents told us. If Billy jumps off a bridge, does that mean you have to do it too? McCain's maturity and experience should count for something besides corruption and war.

    August 20, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  21. Dennis Lee Hoffman, citizen of the world

    keating 5

    August 20, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  22. JB, Boston

    Wright, Rezko and Ayers. He better not start something he can't finish!

    August 20, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  23. real dem

    LOL an american hero? McCain voted with bush 75 percent of the time so lets see those O'bama bashers come up with something to protect McBush. If O'bama is flipflopping then McBush started it ( no negative campaigning). What a hyprocrite. Now this comes up, told you McBush was dirty. The Bush apple hasn't fallen far from the McCain tree I see.

    O'bama 08

    August 20, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  24. Brandon

    In response to his signed confession against the United States and giving information to the enemy, he never gave much information of use, he was tortured WHILE he had 2 broken arms and a broken leg before the signing and regrets it to this day. I don't think he would have survived in the POW camp if he had not signed the documents. He then refused his release inorder to make sure all prisoners were released in order of capture, the vietnemese did not like this and then proceeded to put him in solitary confinement for two years.

    I think you would break and sign something no matter what it said. I also bet you would allow your release and not care the order you were captured in. Now tell me what true pressure Obama has been under in his life?

    August 20, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  25. Fred C Dobbs

    Tony Rezko

    Jeremiah Wright

    The Weathermen

    Father Michael Pfleger

    and everyone else in Barack Obama's closet – step right up to the microphone and be recognized.

    And to the liberal media defenders of Obama – let the excuses begin as to why it's different when Obama goes negative as opposed to anyone else!

    August 20, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
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