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. Dave in NYC

    McCAIN CAMPAIGN ATTACKS, BUT THEY CAN'T DENY THE TRUTH OF THE STORY!

    September 24, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Annie

    When you're guilty, throw the blame on Obama. There's bound to be someone out there who will eat it up.

    September 24, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Charlie

    McCain enemy is the TRUTH!

    September 24, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Lorraine

    The McCain campaign cannot take the heat.

    September 24, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. McHoover Would Destroy What's Left of America

    Someone needs to make a run to Costco to get the McCain/Palin folks some generic brand Kleenex as they seem to be going through a lot of it lately.

    September 24, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Tired of Media

    It amazes me:

    Wright, Rezcko, and Ayers – Obama got grilled for months. He is still defending himself against Muslim smears, he wife gets called a 'baby momma,' his children say "hi daddy" and its calculated and rehearsed.

    Wright got 24/7 coverage for two weeks!!

    McCain has lobbyists on payroll, a VP candidate that has not been vetted, shuns and curses the press when he can't stage, Keating 5 – which was a precursor to what we have going now. Cries sexist whenever questioned about Palin.

    Obama gets hammered for not going overseas; he goes and he gets hammered. Held two press conferences with combo questions included within each question and is calm underneath a financial crisis.

    Media has indeed changed to reality t.v.

    September 24, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Walter

    So...
    Did McCain's aid receive a check from Fannie Mae or not? Is this supposed to be irrelevant based on the McCain campaign argument? Or are we supposed to believe the NYT is falsely making stuff up to support the Democrats?

    September 24, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Quinn - Houston, Texas

    I just want to know why the McCain campaign is spending so much time trying to control the media?

    You don't see Obama wasting time trying to stop Sean Hatery or Hush Bimbaugh. Their LIES go unchecked everyday!

    Stop CRYING about everything McCain. It's not presidential.

    September 24, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. Tony

    He's right, the New York Times is doing pretty badly. Their stock is only a third of the value is was 4 years ago.

    September 24, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Franky

    I got some advice for you McCain campaign...who cares what the papers say!! Just look at your girl(Sarah), she could give a crap and you are paying for it.

    Just focus on the issues GOP, do what you gotta do because if you keep acting like this, you're gonna lose Texas...yeah, I know, YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO LOSE TEXAS! LOL!!

    MAN UP GOP!!!

    September 24, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. Kate

    That's right...you're LOSING. Deal with it. The 'New York Times' is one of the finest news sources this country has, so knock it off!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Moderate and balanced (yeah, right) no stories on Obama begging the Iraqi presidet to delay troop withdrawals during his "European rock star tour"…

    Looks like you are confused-Last week, the right-wing fever swamp was bubbling up over an article by Amir Taheri, in which Taheri claimed that Barack Obama had “tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.” Not only did the story turn out to be a complete fabrication, now we find out that the complete opposite is the case: It is the Bush administration that tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay a draw-down of the American military presence, once again playing politics with America’s national security, and effectively repudiating past claims that a U.S. withdrawal will only be “dictated by the facts on the ground.”

    September 24, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. Charlie

    by the way:

    John McCain

    13 cars
    8 houses
    1 aircraft

    Barack Obama

    1 house
    1 car

    who is more "elitist"?

    September 24, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. RDS

    @Dems for McCain September 24th, 2008 11:43 am ET

    Obama is a crook and many of his colleagues and friends are either in jail or under investigation.
    __________________
    I'm confused are you talking about Obama or McCain who has a host of friends in jail or under investigation ...including HIS VP! LOL

    September 24, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. Linda Welch

    McCain is acting like Bush and Cheney on this issue. The Republicans do not like TRUTH. They want to hide behind lies. Lies about the war, lies about our economy, lies about everything. The American people need truth and facts to back it up. If McCain doesn't like it, screw him and the rest of them. I am tried of all of this. I have been watching his TV commercials up here in NH which are all lies trying to paint him as a populist. The Media is our watchdog. It should come out and tell us the truth about McCain's record. He has NEVER been a regulator. NONE of these Republicans have. It is up to the MEDIA to let the people know the TRUTH. The New York Times is fair and balanced and truthful.
    Linda M. welch

    September 24, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. lindapuma

    Paranoid much? Care to refute any of the NYT's statements????

    September 24, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. Enough

    Moderate and Balanced (yeah, right)
    Looks like you are confused
    Last week, the right-wing fever swamp was bubbling up over an article by Amir Taheri, in which Taheri claimed that Barack Obama had “tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.” Not only did the story turn out to be a complete fabrication, now we find out that the complete opposite is the case: It is the Bush administration that tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay a draw-down of the American military presence, once again playing politics with America’s national security, and effectively repudiating past claims that a U.S. withdrawal will only be “dictated by the facts on the ground.”

    September 24, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. WOWWOW

    A N D,,,,,,,,,,O B A M A' S,,,,,,,,,1 6 0 K,,,,,,,,,F N M A ,,,,,,,,E X E C U T I V E,,,,

    C O N T RI B U TI ON S ?

    September 24, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Elore

    Everybody knows CNN and the NYT is in the tank with Obama. They gladly jump all over any negative information concerning MCcain but evade anything related to Obama "the precious" of CNN.

    Why hasn't CNN reported on the lawsuit filed against Obama by attorney Phillip Berg .

    September 24, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. B L Mack

    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!

    They can't until they 1/ drill her on what to say she believes in, 2/ try to give her the appearance of being "a competent professional" and 3/ maybe she is a bimbo?

    September 24, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Johnny

    Lies, lies and more lies from the Grandpa/ Barbie campaign

    September 24, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Steven

    Rick Davis is a criminal and ought to be brought up on charges for the mess he participated in creating as a lobbiest. A vote for McCain will result in giving the same corporate raiders that are robbing this country blind another chance to load their pockets and force us taxpayers to foot the bill.

    No way, No how, No McPalin.

    enough is enough.

    September 24, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  23. gigs

    from Public Action Campaign Fund ... (as per Talking Points Memo)

    "John McCain's campaign manager and Freddie Mac essentially had what amounts to a secret half a million dollar lay-a-way plan. For almost three years and as late as last month, Freddie Mac made secret, monthly payments of $15,000 to Rick Davis's firm, apparently in exchange for providing special access to a future McCain White House. If McCain knew about this, his presidential campaign should be in serious trouble. If he didn't know about it, he ought to fire Rick Davis immediately," said David Donnelly, Director of Campaign Money Watch.

    September 24, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  24. Hanson in Nigeria

    MY HEART BLEEDS TO SEE SOME AMERICANS STILL SUPPORTING JOHN MCCAIN TO BE PRESIDENT AFTER ALL THE LIES AND TREACHERY HE AND HIS CAMPAIGN HAVE ADOPTED TO PLAY ON THE INTELLIGENCE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE JUST TO GET ELECTED. THE COLLAPSE OF THE WALL STREET IS NOT UNCONNECTED TO THE BAD POLICIES OF BUSH ADMINISTRATION AND THE HIGHWAY LOBBIST OF WHICH JOHN MACCAIN HAS SUPPORTED 90% OF THE TIMES.
    LOOK, AMERICA! IF YOU MISTAKENLY ELECT MACCAIN AS PRESIDENT, I BET YOU AMERICAN WILL BECOME ANOTHER THIRD WORLD COUNTRY IN THE NEXT 4 YEARS AND I AM SURE MANY WILL LAUGH AT YOU!

    September 24, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. JImmy in California

    I think it is funy how any article or other media representation that does not meet with the satisfaction of McCain is declared to be a part of the Obama Machine thus making it the enemy.

    Sounds like a little mad man that wants it all his way and is willing to fight the world if it does not agree with him. Maybe someone should tell McCain that if he wants it his way he should go to Burger King.

    September 24, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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