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. Darrel from Denver

    This is BS and everyone but the Republican campaign for McCain know it.

    Bunch of whiners when they don't get their way, aren't they?

    September 24, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Ramon

    CNN please investigate the agreement on Iraq withdrawal.

    September 24, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. Anonymous

    palin chose to run, that gave the press the right to learn all about her life, she hides like a scared chicken, cnn can't destroy palin, she's destroying herself.

    September 24, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. Kelby from Houston, TX

    Just because the blunders of you and your party are being covered by the media does not mean that they are against you. I know journalists. I speak to them and email them on their articles and reports, and I have never come across an individual journalist who attempted to be biased. Each one of them expressed or implied a strong desire for themselves and their work to appear to be unbiased.
    You control what the media says about you. They are only going to report what they see and hear. If the Obama campaign looks and sounds good, that is what they are going to report. If your campaign spews lies and smears with no plan or actual substance, THAT IS WHAT THE MEDIA IS GOING TO REPORT.
    The McCain campaign has gone from the "Straight Talk Express" to the No Talk Express. Honestly, what kind of national politcal campaign refuses to talk to the press? If I were a member of the press, I WOULD CRUCIFY YOU in my reports. (that makes me biase and that is why I don't report the news)
    I don't like the rethugs they have screwed the nation.


    September 24, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. Kim

    So the Repubs label the NY Times a 'Failing Business', then under a McBush Dictatorships rules. The CEO of the times can be fired or imprisoned by the Government of "America First'. Watch out Free Press !

    September 24, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. TS from Canada

    That's because McC keeps feeding them (NYT) with good stories! Look at the latest! McCain is the biggest advocacy org for Obama.

    September 24, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. Liza

    I mean BRAIN – wow, see how silly we can be in our heated defenses....
    we should really come together as a country because we are getting so screwed by big business it is not funny. now we bail them out!!!

    DIVIDED we FALL. we must be UNITED and stand against washington corruption. we need so much reform it is not funny. down to the amount of money both candidates are spending .. = cap it.....over with these crazy presidential catfights. real issues next time ,, not the fun fun – entertainment of it the millions that could go to good things....

    and really lobbyists running your campaign, it is foolish to vote for McCain. REALLY FOOLISH>>>>>> OPEN YOUR MIND!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. The COSMOS and McCain ROCKS

    »McCain/Palin 08=Presidential DREAM TICKET!... Yes.

    September 24, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. Pete from Ohio

    The Republicans choose to walk down a dangerous road; to call any paper or news organization "liberal" whenever they criticize you on an issue is obscure at least, this shouldn't be something a political campaign cannot deal with, e.g. by offering answers to those criticisms. Denying any criticism by calling it off as liberal enables you to do whatever you want. I think this behaviour explains the unusual ugliness of McCain's campaign this year, but it is downright dangerous – I think all the news organizations have an even greater duty to keep a close eye on this.

    September 24, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  10. ET from OMAHA

    How can a normal human being with a reason and common sense support McSame with all these lies, coverups and controversies.
    I will be ashamed now if I was a Republican.

    September 24, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  11. Don

    Fox news is a conservative machine. That can not be argued. They have single handedly erased any sense of modern journalism in America.
    So they make up stories and challenge anyone who holds a different opinion... or god forbid... anyone who is brave enough to investigate on their own. They get called "liberals"... as if that's a bad thing.

    Papers like the NYT are about the only reputable news organizations around.

    The American people need to wake up to the real war that has been waged against them in the past 8 years.

    The War on Intelligence.
    The War on Science.
    The War on the Media.
    The War on Individuality.
    The War on American Freedoms.

    Wake up, people... we have been had.

    September 24, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. Candice

    If he's dumb enough to leave a paper trail then he deserves to be caught! Everytime things don't go the Republican's way they blame it on "partisan organization"! Can't the NYT just be a newspaper seeking the truth?!

    September 24, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. Patrick, Fairfield, CA

    This is typical of the Republicans – let’s now cry foul of favoritism being given to the Democrats. Here we go again with another smoke screen attempt to distract Americans from the real issues affecting us at home. John McCain has no plan to help Americans and neither does his facade of a running mate, Sarah Palin. The only way they feel they can win this election is to claim that there is a bias in favor of Obama in hopes to steal votes away from him.

    There is a new political model in America, John, it’s voting for the candidate who has the pulse of the people and real concern for issues that affect good hard working Americans in this country!

    September 24, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. Gerry TX

    McCain's campaign to be President has been full of lies. From his VP nominee to his campaign manager! Bush lied to the American people and got the nation into Iraq war, that has ruined the economy. This nation cannot afford to be lied to again.

    September 24, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. Ken in Dallas

    "a Communications major minor in Journalism" who can't spell Cronkite correctly?

    How many schools did you go through before you graduated, "Mary?"

    Say, around 5, maybe?

    September 24, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. HyperD

    McCain: "hmmmmmm... did I mention I was a POW? I can talk about that the rest of the campaign"

    September 24, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. Al

    The clain about the NYT is true. Obama has former Freddie/Fannie Exec's working for him. The NYT should be reporting the court case against Joe Bidens Brother and Son for wire and mail fraud in the NY Supreme Court.

    September 24, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. sophia nyc


    September 24, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. Liza




    September 24, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  20. America for Obama

    These McCain freaks seriously wish that America was North Korea. They behave almost as if it was and they were Little Kim himself!!! Accusing newspapers of being biast when they themselves run a completely GOP based news outlet themselves (FOX NEWS, or as I like to call it: "BUSH ADMINISTRATION & GOP TALKING POINTS")!!! First of all, the New York Times is not an advocate of Obama. The McCain camp is rotted with so many lies and cons that every sinlge news orginization on the entire planet could be considered an Obama advocate, if the only qualifications for being so is running a story about one of McCains scandals.

    September 24, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  21. RDS

    @NYT is a rag Why aren't they reporting about Obama himself being on the take from Fannie and Freddie!
    Obama recieved the 2nd highest donation from Fannie and Freddie why do you think that is, nooo they weren't expecting any favors, of course not .
    Same with Rezco he bought the property next to Obama because Obama couldn't afford it and then turned around and sold it to Obama for half the price he bought it for.

    It is sad that as long as this story has been out you still don't know the facts. First of all if you've ever contributed to a campaign you would know that you have to list your employer on the form. Corporations are not allowed to donate to campaigns, however individual company employees (regular workers) can donate to anyone they want. Secondly, Obama didn't pay half the price for the land he only purchased 1/6 of the lost so he paid 1/6 the cost of the total property. This story has been ran in every newspaper, news organization and even Fox's Oreilly show! With all the facts out there why continue to be ignorant on the facts.

    September 24, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  22. sc

    i guess we need somebody to balance fox news. actually, no amount of left leaning of the media will counter the head exploding, right wing talk shows & radio because they are so right wing.
    it's crazy that even cnn has brought that nutcase glenn beck to address a market segment.

    September 24, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  23. kevin

    They sound frustrated- perhaps they've seen the latest poll numbers

    September 24, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  24. Tim Weiss

    Seriously... STOP ACTING LIKE CRYING LITTLE BABIES. This is a campaign for big boys. The Times is calling you out on your LIES and you call them an Obama advocacy organization...? Please. Grow up and start running a respectful campaign or else you are going to be losers before you know it.

    September 24, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  25. hrsc

    Always follow the money......Computer systems and the ability to query data has been made so easy that this type of back and forth is idiotic.

    This will give McCain a chance to flip-flop once again, when it's found out that this guy maybe didn't get it directly but his firm did because of his ties to Sen. McCain.....I'm just saying. Sort of like the 20+ million dollar road to nowhere. It's there but it's not really there.

    Stay on there backs and make them "squeel like a pig"

    "Seek and ye shall find"

    September 24, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
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