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. Viv

    i am sick of negative ads. i dont have health care. i couldnt care less about what mccain did, or did not do. it was a long time ago and its does nothing to help or hurt me.

    my major issure was health care, but Clintons gone, Obama is terrible. He is saying McCain usues the same old tricks "the same old tricks", which he does, but Barack is also doing the same with his misleading ads. McCain will not change the status quo. So I'll stay home or vote 3rd party

    August 20, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  2. Independent Voter

    Pathetic, Obama.

    You already need to resort to slime, and it's only mid-August.

    You must be really nervous.

    Well, you have good reason to be nervous!!!!

    Just when DID you stop snorting cocaine, you racist pig?

    August 20, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  3. ME IN FL

    For God's sake, you have to be blind not to see that Obama is not fit to be President. The man is not electable, he just mumbles, lacks experience, leadership. Even when he talks, he doesn't motivate anyone, he is not convincing. He just talks about change, but how???? He is loosing ground to McCain on a daily basis...........DNC this is thanks to you!! You have given us an unelectable candidate!!!!!!!

    Hillary 08

    August 20, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  4. McSmear

    It's about time

    Obama – Biden 08

    August 20, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  5. jn

    I love to hear and read all the talk about how unexperienced Barack Obama is? Can anyone please tell me what experience Gov. Arnold of California has when he ran the first time???? I would really like to know...and what experience did GWB have? How about Bill C? please shed some light on this for me because for what I am reading about Barack's senate time and before, he seems to have a lot more experience then these people...and remember one thing..Bill Clinton had a balanced budget and had the country on the right track...all GWB has done is commited war crimes against the US, lied to us about a war and has DROVE this country into the ground..him and all of his henchmen who I am sure will be in jail by next year!!!

    August 20, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  6. Marc PDX

    Why won't Obama debate McCain? Don't we all look forward to that – Republicans and Democrats alike? If he's afraid of McCain how's he going to deal with Ahmadinejad and Medvedev/Putin? They'll eat him for lunch... and his script.

    August 20, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. s.positive


    August 20, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  8. rowzeer

    McCain said he would run a honorable campaign but had an ad insinuating Obama was the anti Christ. McCain supporters need to just zip it....stop being such hypocrites.

    August 20, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  9. Brian in NJ

    Politics is like professional sports. Somehow, one way or another, you find a team to cheer for. Maybe one of your parents was a die hard fan, maybe you gravitated towards the local team, maybe you just liked the jerseys. The bigger the fan you become, the more willing you are to believe that they can do no wrong.

    Both sides are mud slinging, both sides have flip flopped, and both sides have strengths and weaknesses going into this election. I am just happy, that for the first time in 8 years, I would be relatively comfortable with either candidate. The holier than thou thing is old, the my candidate isn't in so I am going to rebel thing is trite, and I'm sure plenty of naysayers were perfectly comfortable overlooking GW's lack of experience and qualifications 4 & 8 years ago. Simply put, worse is not possible. So either way we're going up from here friends.

    August 20, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. Sandy

    Love the politics of change-way to go Barry.

    August 20, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. wskee

    Americans are apparently too stupid to respond to anything other than negativity. Don't blame Obama, blame your family and friends.

    August 20, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  12. Brandon

    McCain has done plenty in Arizona, look up what he has really done. You just do not notice because the things he has done has not affected you in a significant way and thats the way it should be done.

    Arizona love's McCain, thats why he has been a senator here for so long, even after all the so called scandals which are not true.

    He held a hour and a half press conference to local media answering questions about the keating 5 scandal. What true politician would subject himself to that trying to prove his innocence?

    August 20, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  13. gop, no ideas, only smears

    Unfortunately, negative campaigning works.

    August 20, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  14. Tom

    As with Clinton, Obama tried to take the high road. Unfortunately, the other side (in both cases) went negative because they could never win on the issues or on personal suitability be president. Obama's judgment and intellect dwarf McCain's, and he is right on the issues as well. So McCain sinks into the gutter. Too bad it works with far too many Americans. So now Obama must get harsh in his campaign. That doesn't mean lie and sling mud like McCain. It simply means speak the truth about McCain plain and loud. McCain, for all the respect he deserves for his military service, has a corrupt past, a poor understanding of the world and our problems, and a terrible idea of how to be president. He is Bush/Cheney the Sequel.

    August 20, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  15. Bill

    Obama can't handle the truth! Larry Sinclair and others have the truth on Obama, and it will eventually destroy him! Obama can't even produce a valid US birth certificate!

    August 20, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  16. Gerry in Virginia

    EVER WONDER WHERE MC BUSH AND W BECAME SUCH BUDDIES...... Does any one remember that George W Bushes brother Niel, was also involved in the Keating five mess... (John Mc Bushs mess). Niel Bush was CEO of SILVERADO SAVINGS AND LOAN IN COLORADO AND WAS IN CAHOOTS WITH THE KEATING GROUP.... Just think of all the moneys we the American citizen have spent bailing out government by W and all his thieving buddies and now they want us to elect another one.... HELL NO!!!!!

    August 20, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  17. rowzeer

    McCain whines Washington is broken...but hasn't he been there for years....he's part of the problem he whines about. If he really wanted to fix things he would have instead he brow beats family of missing vets.

    August 20, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  18. tim, boston

    at the center of the

    August 20, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  19. Martha Hussein Baker for Barack

    MudCain is as crooked as they come. Sure, Grandpa has plenty of "experience" in dirty dealing and politics as usual. His campaign is a joke.

    OBAMA '08

    August 20, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. Carol

    @ Greg, FL

    I agree – someone needs to get the news out that McCrap stole that story and used it as his own. Those crazy evangelicals at Saddleback were buying every load of bull he was shoveling. He needs to be exposed for the lying hypocrit that he is.

    AND what was this comment I heard today about him saying that he agreed that we should bring back the draft? There is NO WAY IN HELL that my son, daughter, or son-in-law is going to be drafted into the military to satisfy some crazy old coot's visions of still fighting the Viet Nam war. I have absolute respect for the soldiers that are currently serving, but that was their choice. I will not support a draft.

    If Obama has to get into the mud to show the truth about McCain – then do it.

    August 20, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  21. Ron

    Those that throw stones should expect them to be thrown back. Senator McCain and the 527's have been making false statements and half-truths for the past 4 1/2 months so it only seems fitting that Senator Obama spreads a little truth about the real John McCain and the not honorable veteran shot down, captured and tortured by the enemy, and is mysterious qualified to be the world's spokesperson because he was a lousy pilot.

    August 20, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  22. jt

    obama needs to sharpen the attacks...he's playing too defensive...

    August 20, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  23. Jeff in San Diego

    This is going to likely be the most important presidential election in my lifetime. It is sad that neither candidate sticks to what they say.

    Obama is showing his flip/flop nature, and McCain isn't much better. Looking at these two, how does one define the lesser of two evils?

    August 20, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  24. tim, boston

    mcshameless is at the center of the unholy neo-con / christian zionist / jewish zionist alliance.

    what a bunch of unprincipled repugnant lying and thieving opportunists!

    August 20, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  25. Obama el Falso

    Obama will do and say anything to get elected!
    He has Renzko, Ayers, Wright, etc.. ......
    Don't elect this Teleprompter Chameleon!
    We Need a true Leader not this FRAUD!

    August 20, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
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