September 24th, 2008
10:56 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain aide: New York Times an 'Obama advocacy organization'

The NYT story is charging that Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager has accepted retainers from Freddie Mac.

The NYT story is charging that Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager has accepted retainers from Freddie Mac.

(CNN) - A senior McCain aide reacted to the latest New York Times investigation into a top campaign advisor Wednesday with a scathing memo that called the Times a “failing business” and the allegation “demonstrably false.”

The story, which charges that a firm formerly headed by campaign manager Rick Davis had received a monthly $15,000 retainer from mortgage giant Freddie Mac until the government took it over this month – is “a partisan attack falsely labeled as objective news” from “an Obama advocacy organization,” wrote McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb.

The paper, said Goldfarb, “obscures its true intentions - to undermine the candidacy of John McCain and boost the candidacy of Barack Obama - under the cloak of objective journalism.”

The memo is the latest salvo in a heated battle between the McCain campaign and the paper. Relations between McCain and the Times have been at a low ebb for months, since the paper explored the relationship between the candidate and a female lobbyist.

A weekend Times investigation into campaign manager Rick Davis’s links to a lobbying coalition, and the challenge of recent campaign misstatements, was met with a Monday morning conference call of complaint from Davis and senior advisor Steve Schmidt to reporters. That call was notable for the hostility directed by Schmidt - who had earlier accused the media of being on a “mission to destroy” Sarah Palin - at journalists in general, and the Times in particular.

Schmidt’s Monday conference call criticism was the toughest yet: the Times, he said, was “150 percent in the tank” for Obama. The statement drew a defiant response from managing editor Bill Keller.

Reporters in Washington expecting a rare lunch briefing from Rick Davis Wednesday were sent a message late Tuesday afternoon he was unexpectedly back “on the trail” - as news broke of the new Times piece calling his recent denials of a financial relationship with mortgage giant Freddie Mac into question.

“The New York Times is trying to fill an ideological niche,” wrote Goldfarb. “It is a business decision, and one made under economic duress, as the New York Times is a failing business. But the paper's reporting on Senator McCain, his campaign, and his staff should be clearly understood by the American people for what it is: a partisan assault aimed at promoting that paper’s preferred candidate, Barack Obama.”

In his memo, posted on the campaign’s Web site Wednesday morning, Goldfarb said Davis had not been a paid lobbyist since 2005, and had never lobbied on behalf of either Freddie Mac or fellow lender Fannie Mae. The Times piece did not allege that Davis had performed services on the company’s behalf.

Goldfarb said Davis had not received any income from the firm, Davis Manafort, since 2006 – and accused the Times of failing to investigate similar charges leveled against David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s senior strategist.

On Tuesday, the Obama team circulated a list detailing what it called several dozen Times investigations into the Democratic nominee, his family and his campaign.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (532 Responses)
  1. Micheal shoemac

    McCain is a crook

    September 24, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  2. Palin Power, really?

    "From my NYC hotel room, I can see Chinatown, Little Italy, and Little Ukraine! Golly, this trip to NYC sure was a swell one. I will be an expert in foreign policy in no time, Charlie!"

    September 24, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. WASP Member!!!

    New York Times!! How about investigating this also??? It has also been reported that the White House and Iraq had agreed on an early troop withdrawal timeline. However, the White House came back and asked to delay the withdrawal for another year due to political considerations at home. CNN, why are you not covering the biggest loaded gun in history??? If I had a family member that died in Iraq as a result of this decision, I would sue the pants off the government!!!! CNN probably won't print this because it would adversely affect McCain, but the truth will come out anyway.

    This is a very serious issue and Bush and whoever was involved should do jail time.

    September 24, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  4. Accountant Guy

    Oh give me a break. The guy is a liar and a cheat and so is McBush/Palin!! America is finally starting to see that. Stop trying to blame Obama when the truth comes out!!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 24, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. Noah

    The NYTimes investigating a McCain advisor when they refused to investigate Obama's ties to William Ayers, Reveren Wright, Richard Raines, or any of his other friends??? So transparent.... Journalism has officially died.

    September 24, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. mark

    Cnn report the news stop making the news or defend your clones!

    September 24, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. MD, TX

    I'm sure the NYTimes will dedicate hundreds to this investigation, as they should.

    I am also sure that the NY Times will continue to ignore the newly released files in Chigaco that detail the funding relationships between Obama, Ayers and Acorn.

    The New York Times continues its tradition of sliding into oblivion and irrelevance. They now even get scooped by the National Enquirer.

    September 24, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. Bulldog

    McCain has surrounded himself with some of the most powerful Washington lobbyists in this campaign. These lobbyist know how to work the system and cover their tracks for the most part. While McCain continues to defend and lie about his advisors involvements facts continue to come out proving that McCain is lying.

    The FBI should be investigating McCain and his advisors. That would surely uncover alot of scandalous activity.

    September 24, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  9. VIRGINIA will be blue

    I recall yesterday on the ticker that the guy, Daley I believe his name is, said that Sen. McLame only looks out for his lobbyists buddies. That's not a change.


    September 24, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. Brad in Cleveland

    More dram from the McSame camp!

    Obama '08!

    September 24, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. Damon

    Quit blaming the media and own up to the fact that his firm has still been taking money from Freddie Mac. McCain and his campaign can't keep their lies straight, so what do you do.....blame the messenger for pointed it out.....typical.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 24, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. TyWebb

    Good. That guy's an arrogant jerk.

    September 24, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. Frank

    This can only spell more trouble for McCain... he owes everything to lobbysts and special group interests...

    September 24, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. JF

    You'll note that the McCain campaign did not deny the substance of the story, only the messenger. Too bad multiple other news outlets are independently reporting the same thing.

    September 24, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. Baze

    Schmidt's right, Rick Davis did not lobby for Fannie and Freddy directly. He just ran the Homeowner's Alliance, which lobbied for Fannie and Freddy, until the mortage giants finally grew tired of the Alliance's services. I wonder how the G.O.P. feels now that they are the ones being demonized?


    September 24, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. Bulldog

    Can we say KEATING 5 all over again for McCain. The only lessons McCain learned from the Keating 5 scandal were how to better cover his tracks.

    September 24, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. Mani

    Well well well... You need to be able to take it just as well as you give it.
    We need to be careful here. McCain may end up having a heart attack or something. Then what is left for the GOP... Oh right, the pig with lipstick.... or was it the pitbull?

    September 24, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. McHoover Would Destroy What's Left of America

    I guess when you lie all the time, McCain/Palin/Davis, its hard to keep track of your fairy tales.

    How many of us would forget about a $15,000 check that we received every month?

    September 24, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. Pat F

    Is there anyone in this country so stupid as to believe that the NYT is objective? Probably – they are called "Democrats".

    Just one example: The NYT spread the propaganda that Iraq was in the midst of "civil war", and now they don't have the guts to report the truth – THE SURGE WORKED!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. RDS

    The McCain campaign is always trying to turn away any critism of their campaign by saying somebody is in the 'tank' for Obama. The always issue a statement that is riddled with inaccuracies and are arguing points that weren't even brought up in the article to begin wit....amazing!

    September 24, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. Thomas

    Better we find out this stuff before we make the mistake of electing Senator McCain for President.

    Citizens of Arizona, Are you watching this stuff?

    It is up to you to kick McCain out of the Senate.

    All we can do is prevent him from becoming President.

    You have to handle his Senatoral position.

    September 24, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. mitchell

    that's dum from mccain camp. how much has rick davis made off freddie mac?

    September 24, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  23. Judgment wins out.

    They are trying to point fingers and distract from the truth....notice – no one is denying what the NYT is saying....they are just trying to distract voters from that truth.

    September 24, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  24. Heath

    Thank goodness this is coming to an end. If the McPalin administration were allowed to govern, it would be business as usual. Usually aspiring presidents and vice presidents wait until they get into office before the power corruption case.

    September 24, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  25. Republicans Hate Ameirca

    That will not stop McPhony from lying through his teeth and the 30 percenters continuing to believe it.

    September 24, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
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