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. Really?


    September 24, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Pitbull without lipstick

    why is media being intimidated by the GOPS, and why is that ok? Is "freedom of speech" gone? I think so. Continue to vote for McPalin if you want to become a fascist government. We are already half way there. (sounds a lot like the extremist regimes in the Middle east)

    September 24, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. Annette, Washington, DC

    So each time the truth is revealed, it's somebody else's fault? If you were still receiving money from your firm until last month from FREDDIE, who fault is that? The McCain camp does not want to take responsibility and upset that we the American people found out about it.

    September 24, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. Jen, California

    Every opinion Obama expresses is orchestrated by David Axelrod (Obama’s “brain”) - that's why you'll rarely see Obama say anything substantive off-the-cuff. The "Obama Phenomenon" is a carefully crafted public relations event - and it was started long ago by Axelrod.

    Before Axelrod selected Obama as his new meal ticket, he was mostly visible in Chicago the last decade as Mayor Daley’s public relations strategist - the guy who goes on TV to defend Daley from charges of corruption.

    Axelrod also operates a second business, ASK Public Strategies. This company discreetly plots strategy and advertising campaigns for corporate clients to shift public opinion favorably their way. He and his partners consider virtually everything about ASK to be “top secret.”

    Axelrod is well known within the political spectrum as a super sleazy Chicago operative - and currently an investigation is underway about Axlrod's connection to another "PR" firm that just posted a blog and vicious UTube commercial against Sarah Palin.

    September 24, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. You Can Run But You Can Not Hide!

    Typical McCain and co, whenever they are cut with their paints down, they attack the cedibility of the person who exposed them! Voters are no idiots, they know what is going on. It is payback time!
    McCain is becoming as scretive as Bush. The sexist treatment of Palin by McCain group is unbelievable, just because somebody is a woman does not mean that she cannot speak for herself, what she believes in or her stands on issues! ALLOW HER TO TALK TO THE MEDIA AND ANSWER QUESTIONS AS A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL! STOP TREATING HER LIKE A BIMBO!

    September 24, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. Al Ferg

    What's all the hullabaloo about? Surely checks paid or direct deposits to a bank account are traceable? If the NYT has proof of these payments they should publish them or apologize to Davis. Nobody should be slandered by unproven innuendo; not even Mc Cain and Co., Lobbyists extraordinary, who try to do it every day to Sen. Obama.

    September 24, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. Ex-Republican for Obama

    Truth hurts.

    The NYT is NOT a pro-Obama paper, they are simply ANTI MORON, as such, McCain will be blasted in it.

    Sucks to work for a moron eh? McCain, the most corrupt politician in Washington for 26 years.

    September 24, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. alvino

    Never mind that the story is true, I want the voters to feel sorry for me. I can only hope that McCain and his lobbyist group of advisors and his capitol hill cronies are sent packing. By the way, at the Publix in North Fort Myers this morning, there where three cars with Obama stickers on them. This is interesting, no McCain sightings yet. Johnny Mack will regret not choosing Gov. Crist as VP.

    September 24, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  9. Ex GOPer

    Please no one in this election has had more scrutiny then Obama. People say Ayhers, Rezko & Wright have not been investigated. My god how quickly do you forget. Each of these people have had at lease one entire day of all the major news media outlets covering them. Each has been brought up and questions asked during national debates. Obama has given interviews addressing the concerns for each one. And in the case of Wright he received coverage on the level of the beginning of the Iraq war for over a week. The difference is Obama didn't attack the media he addressed the media. Maybe McCain should learn to be honest address the issues and communicate the truth if he believes stories are incorrect. Not just yell at the media and hide!

    September 24, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. ME

    No kidding....
    Campbell missed the part of Gov Palin's speech that specifically said she is not going to Washington to "seek the good opinion" of the Dem Media Elite. There is nothing ambiguous in that statement. I thought Campbell was educated??

    September 24, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. bridgette

    You will not be able to continuosly blame everything on the media. You are going to have to explain yourself. They have proof on this matter it is not a lie. They have proof. So just man up and speak the truth.

    September 24, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. Todd

    Fair Election coverage??? There is nothing like that available!! The Liberals own it and print only their opionions!!

    September 24, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. totul91

    GOP were lying from the beggining. Since they have "POW" level, nobody was allowed to ask any doubt about their dirty secrets. Devastating economy forced media and USA people to cross that "POW" line.

    September 24, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. Kasparov

    If the times claim to be fair, they should do equal investigation into Obama's lobbyist friends as well.

    September 24, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. beevee

    Who is this cry baby. No one but you the McCain campaign staff is destroying Palin who is putting you on the road to no where.

    September 24, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. Bridgette-PA

    "A Voice in VA"- Glen Beck is hardly the "go to person" for anything. However, is. GET THE FACTS AND VOTE BASED ONLY ON THE FACTS! BTW-"MARY"- I'm not sure what your watching when you turn your T.V. on to Fixed News.....but if it's the same station that played the Rev. Wright tapes for 15 hrs a day for several weeks.....your not being honest about their hateful coverage toward OBAMA. You must be a Republican. That's OK, I just thought I'd call you out on it 🙂

    OBAMA/BIDEN -08!

    September 24, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. Dave

    Maybe you'd get better media treatment if you stopped whining about the media all the time...kind of a circular argument don't you think?

    September 24, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  18. Rob

    The mediadoesn't have to destroy Sarah Palin–she's imploding from all the lies and the general stupity of the McCain what about Fox news–they love the GOP , no matter hwo bad they are and no matter how many things theye screw up . When they sell us to China they will still be behind the GOP

    September 24, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. Dems for McCain

    Obama is a crook and many of his colleagues and friends are either in jail or under investigation.

    September 24, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. terry

    It amazes me that somehow McCain and his involvement in the Keating 5 scandal that brought down the savings and loans and resulted in another huge banking crisis is somehow protected and not revisited by the "media"! His stance on deregulation is another example of poor judgment and putting his cronies/lobbyists before the welfare of the people, the so-called "main street". It is time to start reminding the American voter about his involvement in that scandal!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. David

    I guess he's now off limits to the press, too.

    A preview of McCain's America . . . . . . any overthrow of actual elected government knocks out the press first.

    September 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. NOAHI

    Wow, if it is true, then what are the McCainites complaining about?? Accurate reporting.....?? Are they WHINNING because when the facts are accurately reported they are shown to be LIARS....?? (as they are with many campaign statements).

    The McCain camp continues to whine and lie, why don't they just discuss the issues in public and let the public decide.

    OBAMA/BIDEN - 08

    September 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  23. arnolde

    So Newsweek carried a similar article... is he defining Newsweek in the same way? Guess the old canard holds true: "When nothing's going your way, blame the media." It's the same the world over

    September 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. Jennifer

    I am so sick and tired of the McCain campaign blaming the media for everything. It wasn't to long ago that McCain was getting a free ride.

    September 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  25. jim

    CNN you forgot to report that Newsweek reported the same thing. Now try to find something to report on Obama to equalize the story as you are famous for.

    September 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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