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. Red Rotor

    LOL, I guess this is what McCain gets for trying to play dirty. He is the one who wanted a negative campaign. This is but the first of at least five MAJOR salvos the Obama campaign will be able to fire at him. It winds up "experience" can be a detriment.

    August 20, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  2. Rob

    At least we don't need to worry that Obama let someone with questionable ties off the hook in front of a Senate committee. Why? Well, Obama never even bothered to call a meeting of his senate committee...

    August 20, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  3. Peter E

    Obama getting desperate... trying to keep the focus on his rival with unfounded rumors and implications rather than talking about Obama's flip-flops on every imaginable political issue.

    August 20, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  4. Keating 5 Still Alive

    No Marc,

    Obama is not a fool. He has nothing to hide. So let McCain bring it on with his Keating 5 self.

    August 20, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. *Sigh*

    Don't you love politics? It's the time where even the football dropouts can claim they are smarter than the current running presidential nominee...

    Just a note for the uneducated out there, nobody gets that far up the ladder being stupid and having tons of cash. I won't say Bush/Obama/Mcain/Hilary are einstiens, but they're not stupid, slow, or uninformed. It takes a lot of work to be the presidential nominee for either party. If you don't believe me, try running for even counsil rep. and see how easy that is.

    August 20, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  6. jn

    For all you Obama doubters, why don't any of you ask why John McSame was given $800,000.00 by the Georgian President to help out his campaign...or so you think...No, John McSame is standing there preaching how we shouldn't invade sovereign nations and yet has the Ba*ls to invade iraq..That money from the Georgian President was paid to the campaign in turn for favors of US helping them out in case of any type of attack...

    Today is a sad day for we lost a great congresswoman..isn't that more important than what this old windbag, war monger, liar, cheater,full of hot air big mouth has to say...go take some geritol and get your denture cleaners tired of listening to you!...go soak your teeth..oh yea and I forgot to add one...plagerizer to..both you AND your wife.....

    August 20, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  7. Lifelong Democrat

    Barack Hussein Obama has kept worse company in his pastor – which he also force feed to his children. Bringing children in front of people like Wright is a lot worse then McCain and whoever.

    I am ashamed of Obama and will be voting for McCain.

    August 20, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  8. Brandon

    Wow patricia, yeah you should go look it up yourself and not under a democratic rhetoric website. A democrat defends McCain to this day that he did nothing wrong, just happened to take a donation from a guy that didn't appear to be bad at first. Its called misjudgement.

    Divorces happen. Cindy is still his wife today... More americans go through divorce that do not, so McCain is up to date with the trend.

    August 20, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. Lough

    Mccains being run by lobbyists who have supported terrorists and dictatorships through out the world. I can't wait for Obama to point this out in the debates.

    August 20, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. dian

    Good! Go after McCain...There is alot to attack. Get tough Dems!

    August 20, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  11. TC-Indiana

    I no longer trust any of the polls. I did participate in the recent Reuters/Zogby poll, and I was Obama all the way. So do I think Obama needs to make more visible some of the dirt that is McCain's? You bet! I truly hope we are not mostly idiots in this country, but if we are, even idiots can learn.

    August 20, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  12. greenfun

    Is this the same BO campaign that doesn't want the same old politics as usual? The campaign that promised hope and change. What a poseur.

    August 20, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  13. Your Can't Hide Your Lyin' Eyes

    McCain before he went to war:
    1 wife, Carol
    3 kids, Doug, Andy, Sidney

    McCain after he comes back:
    1 wife, Carol (who was in a car accident)
    3 kids, Doug, Andy, Sidney (still minors)
    1 beer bimbo, Cindy Lou (has an affair)

    McCain leaves Carol, Doug, Andy and Sidney

    Now he wants to be our president, I don't think so.

    August 20, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  14. Lacy

    Ooooooo looks like McCainanites get a bit touchy when Obama's side plays their game.

    August 20, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  15. michael

    Barack stay away from this sleaze campaigning its going to backfire....BELIEVE ME.... you have shown yourself so far above this... keep to your commitments..PLEEEEZ keep the sleaze to those who invented it it will bring them down in the end!!!!!

    August 20, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  16. Richard

    How is McCain a hero? He got shot down in combat?

    Give me a break, this is the original political "celebrity". His 2nd wife is the original "Paris Hilton". And wake up morons, he's nothing but a puppet. Go out and buy some Budweiser and put some more cash in his pockets.

    August 20, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  17. hillybilly

    good!lets get keep these crooks from gaining anymore power through mccain.

    August 20, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  18. You Can't Hide Your Lyin' Eyes

    Keating 5
    Keating 5
    Keating 5
    Karma for cheating on your wife and leaving her and 3 minors for a rich beer bimbo named Cindy Lou.
    Keating 5
    Keating 5
    Keating 5
    Keating 5
    Presidency.....Hell No.

    August 20, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  19. gfm975

    What an odd headline. So the fact that REED helped organize and participated in the planning and invitations to the fundraiser is some how... what? Not tied to John McCain in any way? There is NO link?
    Whoever wrote this headline is an imbcile... there are 1.75 million links from REED to Father Time! Get real CNN.

    August 20, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  20. Real Debate

    There is a page on that lists where the presidential candidates stand on various issues. However, it only includes 2 of the candidates? Why? Is it not newsworthy that other candidates are running? Are the media intentionally stifling competition of ideas in the political marketplace? Is it too difficult to copy and paste from third party campaign websites? Or are they just too busy fawning over Obama and McCain to do any objective reporting?

    August 20, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  21. Carolyn

    For Indiana Bob – are you serious? Get your facts straight!

    August 20, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  22. Gosh

    MaC should run for President in Panama.....Not born in the state.

    To become a US President

    Natural born of USA

    August 20, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Bill Ayers is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, not the University of Chicago.

    August 20, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  24. Keating 5 & Beer Bimbo Too

    Dear Fred,
    Bring it on.

    August 20, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  25. EDW

    Obama and McCain have several debated scheduled for September, so shut up already.

    August 20, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
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