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. RepubNoMore

    You know that's the Republican way...if the media isn't bending over backwards for them (2000 and 2004) they cry foul! Grow up you bunch of scared babies. Your candidate is getting mopped up fair and square.

    September 24, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. FB

    The McCain Campaign is focused on complaining or not talking to the media, hence not talking to the voters. John McCain's strategy to "not talk" is insulting to the American voters.

    What is the McCain campaign HIDING from the VOTERS? Obviously a lot otherwise they would talk to the media like regular politicians do.

    A warning to the American voters: Just imagine with all this secrecy behind NOT talking to the media, doing normal dialogue with a communication vehicle that supports the voters, what kind of an administration would McCain have? – ie, worse than Bush I guarantee. Voting McCain is truly dangerous for our Nation and evolution.

    September 24, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Paul from NYC

    So, it's not that the NYT isn't accurate, it's that they're 'biased'.

    When I was a kid, I used to tell my parents that I got a 'C' because the teacher didn't like me. They weren't fooled either.

    September 24, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Roland

    How dare a reporter question this Republican ticket!

    (Sounds like the way the government in Russia handles the media, doesn't it?)

    September 24, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. JD

    What we need from each candidate are:

    What are their plan to financial issues. What exactly they will do to solve or prevent these problem. Not attacking each other.

    We want solution.

    September 24, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. MikeH

    So, why won't Rick Davis explain the purpose of the $15K/month he was receiving from Freddie Mac?

    McCain has been caught in a big lie, again.

    September 24, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. royal

    How did Obama pay off his student loan and his wife's to.Mrs. Obama said that the loans where paid off when his book came out. That it was paid off in 2005 will then how come it was'nt on his tax form from 2000 thru 2005.What is he hideing from the people.Obama needs to come out and tell the true where he got the money. CNN NEWs needs to find out the true for us.Cause Obama wont tell us the true where he got the money for school.

    September 24, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Martiniano

    Horace Greeley disagrees!

    If the Republicans can't handle the scrutiny of the Gray Lady then how can they lead us out of this mess?

    Good job NYT! Show the Republicans for the cowards they are.

    By the way, if the NYT charges are "demonstrably" incorrect then please feel free to demonstrate for us.

    And let's see Palin's tax returns while you are at it.


    September 24, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. McCainGate

    New York Times is a reputable national news organization that supported McCain in 2000 election season. If all McCain & Co can do is accuse them of working for the Obama camp and not explain their side of the story, the New York Times must be on to something good.

    September 24, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. mary, older white lady from NJ for Pres. Obama





    OBAMA/BIDEN '08!!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. Ex GOPer

    And just in case everyone missed WHY this is news is that we are currently in the biggest financial crisis since the great depression. And it turns out that the Campaign Manager for McCain was receiving $15,000 per month for nothing from Fannie Mae. This should be news on every media outlet in the world.

    September 24, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. This soccer mom can whip your hockey mom any day!!!

    What they wrote was true! Why is it that when the Times, or any other news organization for that matter, digs into the Republicans, then they are "Obama supporters". What about all the digging into Sen. Obama's life that has occurred over the past two and a half years? The McCain campaign is finally being shown to be the liars, and crooks that they are...and now they are crying like babies! Man Up!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Typical White woman for Obama

    Oldest GOP trick in the book, blame the media.

    Rick Davis you are a liar. John McCain, you are a liar. Sarah Palin, you are a liar.

    The American people are tired of all of this nonsense. Rick Davis is running the McCain campaign, he is being paid by Fannie Mae – for what? Perhaps because he is connected to McCain who is running to be our next President...come on people.

    Republicans, you can try and spin this but the TRUTH IS THE TRUTH!

    Not this time!

    September 24, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. SGo

    How can you liberals jump all over this story and cry foul and never notice that the Big O himself has gotten money from FM/FM?? You guys are the biggest joke of kool-aid drinkers I have ever seen. You blast Palin as not ready to lead (she is running for VP,) yet your "messiah" says that his experience is the fact he has run for president. How can you guys be this blind??? You are a bunch of sycophants leading our country down a deadly path because you lemmings just follow the leader off the cliff. Please just investigate all the canidates. Don't be blinded by the liberal media or some dog and pony show.

    September 24, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. Becky

    Don't shoot the messenger! Hey, for how many lies the McCain campaign has told or are hiding, I DEMAND the media to find out the truth. Because I don't expect the truth anymore from McCain!!! (or Palin)

    September 24, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. David from Atlanta

    Obama is a liar, McCain is a liar. they are politicians, thats what they do. Stop being iditotic sheep believing every bit of the rhetoric these conmen espouse and actually do a bit of research. Most of the people these days are just lemmings, no wonder why our country is in such bad shape.

    September 24, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Darlene

    Hold McCain accountable for his and his campaigners' action. They have been very quick to make connections with Obama and his staffers, I guess it is their turn.

    I suppose the mean media will be banned from Rick Davis like they are from Sarah Palin. What a disappointment the open, honest, fair campaign of John McCain has turned into!

    September 24, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. RepubNoMore

    Obama has been scrutinized over and over and over again. He's constantly had to "prove himself" this entire race. Oh ,the media is biased because they're calling out the McCain campaign on their MANY EGREGIOUS LIES??? How arrogant to think that you can lie your way to the White House and think the media and the American public doesn't have the right to call you on it...Give me a break!

    September 24, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. Wow

    Glenn Beck does not qualify as research. Beck is not even a conservative- he's a Republican who pretends to be a conservative. The faster we throw these bums off the air, the better.

    September 24, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. FreeNLovIt

    This is America! We can pick and choose and endorse whomever we want.

    September 24, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. B L Mack

    It seems obvious to me that being politician (no matter which side of the aisle or in the oval office itself) in this country, virtually requires that you be crooked. Lies, cover-ups, payoffs, bribes, and money from such sources as Fannie Mae – Freddie Mac and who knows who else.

    My proposed solution is very simple.

    Do not vote for any incumbent for the next three elections. Clean the house, clean the senate of all the power brokers.

    Only public finance for elections, absolutely no private contributions, not even from charities.

    No gifts of ANY VALUE may be given to any incumbent, no items, no free trips, etc..

    September 24, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. LJ in MD

    So as a "failing business", does the NYT qualify for at least a billion or two of bail out money? Oh, only FOB's (Frienjds of Bush)are eligible? What if they promised to only print GOP lies from now on? What if the NYT hired a certain consulting group?

    September 24, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. Brandi

    Notice how McCain's team never mentioned that the report was completely accurate. Since when has reporting completely accurate news biased? Get over yourself McCain. This tactic isn't going to work this year.

    September 24, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. Orlando

    McClueless campaign is run by lobbyist like Ripoff Rick, Whiner Gramm, Stutter Tucker, and Farewell Carly.

    September 24, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. FreeNLovIt

    Whether we investigate Obama or not, Obama has less ties than McCain. He's less tainted. You want the less tainted of the two. This will have to be Obama.

    September 24, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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