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. WI Cheesehead

    Another McCain campaign spin that none of us are buying into!

    September 24, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. bill b. from Stratford,Ct

    i SEE the mclying camp got caught again lying. What else is new, his whole campaign is run by lobbyist at less 8 of them are on his head staff. This lying camp must think that we the people are stupid, they ran an ad about Obama having a Fannie Mae connection which was a lie and now we see that his campaign manager was still being lobbied by Fannie Mae until last month, getting paid $15,000 a month. Now Mcsame just said two days ago that he'll put Davis record up against anyone who wanted to see, OOOOP Mcsame, BUSTED!!!!!! I guess being a ( MAVERICK ) means you have to lie all the time. NO HOW, NO WAY, NO MCSAME/PALIN

    September 24, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Sally from Cali

    President Bush should do one last courageous thing before he leaves office. Bush should tell the truth. He vehemently oppose McCain when he ran for president and he still does.

    He's practically telling the public what to do by listening to Obama. People, read between the lines. Obama says time table for withdrawal from Iraq, Bush does it. McCain's caught on, too, by trying to co-op Obama's stance and slogans.

    The New York Times has been around a long time. Those editors are not stupid.

    September 24, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. WI Cheesehead

    Hands in the cookie jar

    September 24, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Andrew

    How can we believe anything that comes from the McCain campaign. Anything accurate those folks might say would be lost in the sea of lies that has issued from them. When they do tell the truth, is it by intention or accident?

    September 24, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. LeAnn

    "Partisan Attack" who are republicans to make an accusation of partisan attacks. Their campaign is based entirely on making partisan attacks on obama. Republicans disgust me. They like to play the schoolyard bully but are always crying about someone bullying them.

    September 24, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. Debbie in LA

    Hey, I heard that McCain and Palin have some OCEAN FRONT property for sell in Kansas City. I bet a lot of you fell for that line also.

    September 24, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. Tariq

    Blaming a newspaper for a report would not take john Mcain high in the relax MCcain aides.

    September 24, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Jon

    The Republicans accusing a media organization of being liberal?! Oh my goodness, what a shock! These tired Republican tactics of dividing and scaring the country are what are turning independents like myself toward the Democrats this year.

    September 24, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. Susan MO

    I love it.........Not once saying anything in the story was untrue.....but slamming the paper for printing it.

    September 24, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. Scott in Atlanta

    Is it true?

    September 24, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. FactCheck

    Right... when you challenge the media with lies and they call you out on it with indisputable facts, go ahead and blame the media. How stupid does McCain think the rest of us are??

    September 24, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  13. Gracie

    The NYT is not the only one getting bashed by McCain's well oiled political campaign machine.
    Today an NPR reporter noted that McCain devoted a paltry "7 minutes" to answering journalist's questions in the ONLY journalistic question/answer session the McCain campaign has allowed since August. They are disgusted, and so are voters.
    Journalists have dubbed McCain's bus the "No Talk" Express (you will recall it used to be the "Straight Talk Express").
    It's about time the news media started doing their job – but as far as I can see only the New York Times has the stamina to keep up with the constant barrage of roadblocks and attacks from McCain's well-oiled political machine.
    Please, CNN – do your job! How could you continue to allow McCain's political machine to shun interviews with either their VP or Presidential candidate?
    Do what the New York Times has the courage to do: Their job - demand the McCain campaign handlers allow access to their candidates and start answering questions instead of bashing stories they just don't like.

    September 24, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. just joe

    oh....the NY Times....isn't that the one that used to be a great newspaper, now pushing for a spot near the supermarket checkout counters to join the rest of the tabloids? But I loved this commentary about the McCain aid and his tie to the present mess we are in....did you noice that the investigation lasted "over the weekend?"

    I am telling you, folks....don't drink the kool-aid.

    September 24, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. Dan

    When did the McCain Campaign become a reputable news source agency????

    Hey John, Wasn't it you talking about all that "experience" stuff? Well, I think the New York Times has got a little....

    I agree, this story isn't going away.

    September 24, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. Hillraiser

    How much did Obama receive from Freddie and Frannie again? Oh yeah – hundreds of thousands of dollars – the second largest benficiary. I'm shocked that the NYT missed that.

    September 24, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |


    It's true.

    September 24, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. Hector

    it is amazing that liberals can honestly believe and support anything NYT has to write about...anyone with half a brain could see they're so biased and Obama hypnotozied they cant see the truth in front of them...Which is that Obama has ties to lobbyist other negative people!!!

    September 24, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Doris,Memphis, TN

    McCain is not honest!
    Haven't we had enough of this type of behavior from George W. Bush!
    No Bush 44.
    Down with McCain, Up with Hussein!!

    September 24, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. karen-phoenix

    McCain is a crook!!! He should have gone to jail in the 80's for the Keating 5 but Cindy's money bailed him out!!! Now he has been head of the commerce commission and deregulated all the rules that were put in place after the 1929 crash so his rich cronnies could get richer!!! He is beyond crooked!!! This time he really needs to go to jail!!!
    McCain to prision!!!!

    September 24, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  21. Patrick

    Me thinks they doth protest too much - Republican apparatchniks that is.

    Blaming the media is just a means of diverting attention from the issue at hand. Shades of Ron Ziegler during the early days of Watergate.

    September 24, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  22. Tony

    This was first reported last Friday.

    McCain's campaign is full of people like this guy.


    September 24, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. onelove

    Ex GOPer,

    You are 100% correct.

    September 24, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. independent

    that's because they are intelligent.

    September 24, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. Susan

    When McCain and his cronies get caught with their hand in the cookie jar and outright lying to the American people, they sqeal like stuck pigs. It is fine for them to throw out any type of misleading bards or outright lies about Obama, but they run for cover and cry unfair when the tables are turn. This story is also in newsweek and other respected media besides the NY times. They funny thing is how goldfarb never once denied that Rick Davis has been taking money from these institutions and he will get the benefit of that money once the campaign is over. Goldfarb, go bark up another tree, your words are hollow to say the very least!

    September 24, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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