September 24th, 2008
10:56 AM ET
6 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. Jack Walden

    And that is why McCain-Palin campaign flocks to that castle of journalistic neutrality and supreme reporting objectivity -FAUX NEWS!

    September 24, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. Cindy

    Sorry McSame, but Newsweek and other reputable sources have already confirmed the Times reporting as accurate. You've lied to America yet again, and this time your lie is such a bold-faced whopper that you can't simply talk your way out of it with more lies of the same.

    Excerpt from Newsweek: "Davis himself approached Freddie Mac in 2006 and asked for a new consulting arrangement that would allow his firm to continue to be paid. The arrangement was approved by Hollis McLoughlin, Freddie Mac's vice president for external relations."

    Quote: David Donnelly, director of the watchdog group Campaign Money Watch noted: "John McCain's campaign manager and Freddie Mac essentially had a secret half a million dollar lay-a-way plan. For almost three years, they made secret, monthly payments of $15,000 to Rick Davis for apparently no other work than for him to provide special access to a future McCain White House in exchange. If McCain knew about this, his presidential campaign should be over. If he didn't know about it, he ought to fire Rick Davis immediately."

    September 24, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. Don

    McCain needs to be real careful about picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel, paper by the ton and video tape or DVR memory sticks or whatever CNN et al use now.

    BTW - Fix News is not exactly the most "Fair and Balanced" news organization either.

    September 24, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. Mikey

    So if the facts are correct – attack the source.

    Tell us the article is wrong and provide proof, or apologize, change your ways, and move on.

    The real problem for the McCain campaign: the truth is stacked against them – not the pundits.

    Senator Barack Obama – better candidate, better ideas, better vision for America. McCain has an image (patriotic/maverick/POW), spin, lies, and a truly reckless VP selection.

    September 24, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. Susan in NC

    Seems to me that any "mission to destroy" Satah Palin is coming not from the media or from the Obama supporters, but from the John McCain campaign or the Republican party. By not allowing her to speak to or be questioned by the media on behalf ot the American people, her image will continue to diminish. If she can't speak to us or answer our questions, then we can't vote for her - simple enough!

    September 24, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. Splurge

    Anyone without their Obama-blinders on cansee that this story is true and has been for a long time. Just remember the way the media treated Hillry differently than Obama.

    September 24, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  7. Give me a break!

    To A Voice in VA: why would we want to hear anything Glen Beck has to say? That would be like saying Rush Limbaugh talks accurately about stuff!

    The republicans screwed up, period. And now they are trying to blame this financial crisis on the democrats? For 8 years, Bush (a republican) has been the president. And even if some freaky republicans want to say otherwise, the democrats have only held a majority (very narrow) in Congress since 2006.

    September 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. john

    Starting to get annoyed here – identical posts on mutliple articles. Are y'all using bots or just cutting and pasting? And where is the moderator? many of these early posts are clearly "off-topic".

    September 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. FL4OB

    Please. McCain's campaign/uber lobbyist, Rick Davis, got caught in another bold-faced LIE.

    Thanks, but no thanks!

    The McCain campaign:
    YOU can't handle the truth!

    September 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. Ray

    How can we expect the media not to be biais when the canidates put out lies. Do they expect the media to just repeat their lies?

    I am going to vote for Obama but I have had it with politicans. They are a lying group of money hungry bottom suckers.

    Some how we have got to bring honesty back into our election process.

    September 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  11. Jewel

    McCain and Palin...they belong together. They are pathetic liars!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. Tim in California

    So...let's see. Is the McCain crowd denying that Davis took money from Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac to lobby against reform and or restrictions?

    It's an established fact that he indeed did.

    The McCain make the lying Bush crowd look like.....wait a minute...they are the same people.

    September 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  13. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    Thou shall know the truth and the truth shalt keep thee free!

    September 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  14. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    In other words, "HOW DARE THEY TELL THE TRUTH!!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. NEW YORK TIMES - Biased

    The New York Times is a shameful propaganda newpaper that ought to be shut down. They are a far left fringe liberal group hell bent of seeing Obama elected. This newspaper is dangerous to society and a threat to freedon of political thought and expression. It should lose its first amendment rights unless it comes clean and discloses how many hundreds of thousands of dollars it has raised for Obama secretly.

    Voters should read the paper for what it is - An ongoing continuing democratic advertisement.

    September 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Chris

    Is the McCain campaign trying to look like a bunch of gangsters? No questions for the VP selection, no questioning its employees faulty connections, and all the while making false allegations toward its opponent. I think we see clearly how they would run this country: like a bunch of thugs.

    September 24, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. bert

    The real shame is a large portion of the media are liberal, and Obama still can not get an even deal in the media. White media has so much covered or not so covered up racisim towards Obama, they do not care that McCain will be another Bush and that Palin is just a mess. The economy is so bad that the tax payers are bailing out people that should be put in prison for life! This mess on Wall Street did not happen over night. How long did it take for this company to get 700B up side down? PEOPLE SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. The liberal media should start holding the GOP accountable for this wreckless behavior Wall Street has been getting away with under their watch. Liberal media would rather keep feeding hatred and racism into the ego of society all for ratings and what ever sick reasons people who think like that have. REGISTAR AND VOTE EARLY! GO OBAMA!!!!!08 AND 2012.

    September 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. M. Winners, Mesa, AZ

    Funny, FOX has always been the "Pravda" of the repug party and nobody from the Obama campaign whines and cries like a baby about it.

    FOX gets it's daily talking points memo from the McCain/Bush people and they follow them to the tee. Now that the NYT is doing some investigative reporting on the "fear, smear, mock and LIES" that the repugs are spreading around suddenly they are not a news organization?

    Hypocrites all at the Palin/McCain (OOPS McCain/Palin) campaign HQ.

    September 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. Darrel from Denver

    To the clown who thinks the surge worked:

    It is not responsible for the die down in violence. It is the tribal leaders the The Awakening which has been responsible here. And now that the Iraqi government, in concert with the US Bushies, are cracking down on them and trying to prevent them a voice in the government, they are rightfully refuting their support of the US and Iraqi government and will allow Al Queda free reign once again.

    The surge working is a propaganda play from Bush, McCain, et al.

    September 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. Boisepoet

    Did the McCain campaign refute the charge? Or do they know it is true. Didn't McCain on Sunday invite the press to investigate Davis? Then when they do they are slammed as partisan?
    I think the McCain campaign shows the similarity between itself and the Bush/Cheney administration all too well.

    September 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Pitbull without lipstick

    BYE BYE MCPalin! You are not liked by most of the world!

    September 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Palin has more experience than Obama

    Thomas September 24th, 2008 11:02 am ET

    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.

    CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

    You might want to change it to the people od Il.

    September 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. Candy West Virginia

    No, they are just not buying your bull!

    September 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. Jerry in Boston

    The only "mission" here is the Republican objective of denigrating the credibility of the media, so that they can dismiss any legitimate investigations into their hypocrisy and corruption.

    You'll notice they didn't deny any of the facts in the NYTimes piece and simply attacked the paper for daring to investigate in the first place.

    September 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. mouli

    So, when truth is spoken, when the press raises questions, the McCain camp raises eyebrows, voices and speaks with gritting teeth.

    September 24, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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