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. Ms Gunn

    right! Fox news is leaning so far right, they can't see straight

    September 24, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. Tom

    I don't see where he denied getting the $15,000 a month paid to his firm. Seriously, who pays $180,000 a year for no work? I own 2 businesses and if I paid out that kind of coin I would certainly be expecting something. Rick can try and divert the attention by calling the Times partisan or biased all he wants. But what was the money for? Why did he/firm accept it? What invisible strings were attached?

    Freddie Mac paying $15,000 a month to a “friend” for nothing?

    Isn’t that what McCain now says he’s against? Good old boy networks that pay each other huge sums of money but tell the public it’s not for anything? We know there was huge corruption going on in Freddie Mac. I want answers. So should you.

    September 24, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. California Gold

    Davis' shady gold digging is the subject. Rather than attempt to present his case and speak to the issues he attacks the messenger (the New York Times). No wonder he is working for McCain.

    September 24, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. JohnLee

    So FoxNews is a McCain campaign mouth piece? Do you hear Obama whining about that? Nope! Come on McCain, quit complaining, whining and grow up!

    September 24, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Marc-Eugene, Oregon

    Davis's firm received $15,000 per month from Fannie Mae until last month. He says that he did not draw money from his partnership since 2006. Big deal. He still has at least a 50% interest in Davis Manafort, and his share of the $15,000 is still waiting for him once the campaign has ended. At that point he can benefit to his hearts content from the Fannie Mae money. And McCain Davis wants us to believe that Fannie/Freddie has no ties to his campaign. If you believe that I have bridge in Alaska I'll sell you.

    September 24, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. Reality Check richmond virginia

    Yeah, blame the media for your own actions. I'm so tired of this. Maybe if the McCain camp didn't behave the way they do, there would be nothing to write about.

    September 24, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Tim in California

    Note the second entry above.....the writer pleads to research the topic using Glenn Beck as the source of truth. Wouldn't be easir just to listen to Rush Limbaugh...that way you have to read or even think.

    No wonder we have so many dummies supporting McBush.

    September 24, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. Cathy in Pennsylvania

    I can't believe all of the Republicans in this country who keep burying their heads in the sand and continue to believe the crap that the McShame camp keeps spewing ......How many time must they be caught in their lies and distortion of facts.....McShame is a timebomb waiting to EXPLODE............Wake up America, McShame is a Jekyll and Hyde............Hoooray to the NYT and Newsweek for bringing this information to the public......this country doesn't need to be manipulated with lies and fear for another term...............we need change not more of the same....Vote Obama/Biden on November 4, 2008

    September 24, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. victor,nj

    Noah September 24th, 2008 10:59 am ET

    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 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. El Guapo

    The only news item here is that someone doesn't think that the NYT isn't in the tank for Oh'bama.

    September 24, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Scott NYC Independent

    I thought McCain was under the impression that the media were his favorite fans.

    September 24, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. Reality Check richmond virginia

    A voice in are using Glen Beck as your "objective" that a joke?

    September 24, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. Proud to be American

    Boy the Repugs can sling mud but can't take it... they flip flop so much and they are such liars .... I am so over the cover up and lies.... heck the Iran President is giving us advice on Larry King last night what is up with that? Let take are country back from the liars and cheaters... this is the best Democracy in the world .... yes they cheated (Republicans) their way into the white house the first time and the verdict is still out the 2nd time but hey American we can not afford a 3rd time...... Rock the Vote and vote for the sake of America .... Obama and Biden 2008!

    September 24, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. syl

    Three is a lot of hypocrisy in this matter. Obama receivced a lot of money from Freddie Mac/fannie Mae. And Axelrod was a lobbnyist who indirectly received money. NYT should focus on what should be done now given the state of the economy.

    September 24, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. UCLAdy04

    Rick Davis was getting paid $15,000 for layaway influence with a McCain administration! He is clearly an incredibly crooked person and John McCain is a LIAR and a hypocrite. If you think that John McCain's White House wouldn't be run by lobbyists and the highest bidder you are CRAZY!

    September 24, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. Susan in Colorado

    This Republican ticket is an absolute mess.

    September 24, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. Never let them see you sweat....

    This is ridiculous!!!!
    Ever time the McCain camp is criticized, the person is somehow in the corner for Obama. It would be nice for once to have the McCain camp simply dispute or explain a situation instead of accusing everyone as in the tank for Obama. This seems so CHILDISH!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. Bill, MA.

    Republicans!!! Your eight years in office, being the worst eight years in our country's history have made the good citizens here sick. You steal from those who have less to give to your power hungry lot. The republican party is fast becoming history, and a sad page it is in our USA.

    September 24, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Tim in NC

    How many lobbyists does he have on his payroll...

    Ya, lets takea look at the others and see who is REALLY giving advice to McCain.

    If this is who hes got as one of his top advisors whatthe heck can we expect out of his judgement on anything relating to the economy?

    September 24, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. Truth hurts

    This is no lie. This is why Freddie Mae and Mac is under investigation by the FBI right now for fraud along with AGI Insurance. Mccain Aide's firm was paid $15,000.00 dollars a month by Freddie Mae and Mac. The payments stopped last month when they knew this crisis was about to be exposed. Mccain and the Republicans knew this would come to light soon!! Now they are turning against their cronies because the election is at stake!!

    September 24, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. Jadie

    Yet, Another CROOK exposed! McCain has cozied up to all the wrong people.

    September 24, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. JC

    If it's true, it's not bias, it's just reporting. They reported all the Rev. Wright stuff during the primary season when Obama was under the hot lights. Now it's McCain's turn. He has to suffer the consequences of his past actions and statements now that he has changed his tune and is spouting platitudes that are so far from his prior positions. Hats off to the NYT for not backing down. Let's look at the TRUTH.

    September 24, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. CNN Please Print this

    CNN, why are you covering the McCain's reaction to the NYT Piece? Americans deserve to know the facts so that they can make a well informed decision when they go to the polls. Please present the facts. Also, I have seen some posts on other sites trying to balance this article out by blaming Obama for taking money from FM & FM. Obama received money from EMPLOYEES of FM & FM . McCain received money from EXECUTIVES & LOBBYISTS of FM & FM. Also Jim Johnson only worked for a week on Obama's VP Team. Raines was never an advisor to Obama. Please CNN. We're counting on you to tell the truth to the American people. Covering this up is criminal.

    September 24, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. Theresa - Minneapolis

    It absolutely floors me how McCain supporters try to spin this as "The Messiah's" fault! Get a clue guys, your pick as a crook who employs crooks.

    September 24, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  25. dEMOBRAT

    Do not read the NYT everyday admittedly, but it does seem like the media is in the tank that for Obama. It has been a challenge to find fair covergae during this election.

    September 24, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
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