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. bill b. from Stratford,Ct

    MCSAME, doesn't care or doesn't get it, we are not stupid. Does anyone out here know that Mcsame was part of the Keating 5 back in 1989, it was 5 senators that robbed millions of dollars from tax payers and he got away with that scandal then and here it is 20 years later and now he's part of this scandal with Fannie Mae and the Wall street collapse. Wake the hell up America, this guy cares nothing about you and I, all he cares about is the rich and the hell with the little guy. Here's where that money went: 7 to 10 homes, well you and I struggle to pay bills, 13 cars and 2 private jets.

    September 24, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. CJ in Texas

    This is ridiculous!!! What about Fox news being so biased and putting anything w/ McCain and Republicans with a little spin...I don't see them complaining and whining about this....oh but anything bad about them and they use the media as the McCain camp being the most respected newspaper NY Times is being used as a scapegoat by the McCain lame McCain and his whole campaign have hoo...cry me a river...lame!!!!

    September 24, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. USMC Mike

    They are just flaiing out, like a losing fighter trying to windmill his way to victory ...

    It never works ... They are finished ...

    September 24, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. Jim Doyle

    September 24th, 2008 11:13 am ET

    "Pat F September 24th, 2008 11:02 am ET

    Is there anyone in this country so stupid as to believe that the NYT is objective? Probably – they are called "Democrats".

    Just one example: The NYT spread the propaganda that Iraq was in the midst of "civil war", and now they don't have the guts to report the truth – THE SURGE WORKED!!!!!!!"

    Actually, Pat. The NY Times reported consistently and in depth about the surge working. They also provided just about the only coverage of the fact that what also worked was the Sunni Awakening, in which we worked with the Sunnis and enlisted them to help us fight Al Qeda in Iraq. This program probably had more to do with the reduction in violence than the surge itself, but it was at least partly responsible for the success of the surge. All of this was reported in the New York Times. Have you ever actually read the NY Times, or are you just spouting Republican talking points?

    September 24, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. Fire Rick Davis

    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 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. ron

    The money went to his company – his name is still on the door! He did not sell his interest therefore he will eventually see some if noit all of thge 15G per month. This has shady wrtiten all over it!

    FBI should look into it as well!

    September 24, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. Ted

    Does anyone notice that they don't provide any evidence to show that the story is false. That's because the story is true.

    September 24, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. Matt

    Why is McCain so upset about news doing it's job for once? Last time I checked, the news used to be about finding out the things candidates didn't want you to know about. Just because the truth is uncovered, doesn't mean they're advocating the opponent.

    I'm tired of this charade, but I'm even more tired of people buying into it.

    CNN, take a lesson from this story and go back to a time where you used to actually uncover information, not just report what's going on or being said or how you feel about it. You do still remember what "investigative" means, right?

    September 24, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Mickie

    Anybody who doesn't acknowledge that the press and tv media are owned by republicans, are for republicans and do nothing but spin propaganda, are lambs as gullible as those who followed Jim Jones in South America. None of the press report widely on McCain's faux pas and his aides who take millions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or his affairs while married with Cindy, or his lies about earmarks, or the infamous bridge and road to nowhere that Sarah Palin keeps denying. The press is protecting her as well. Even John won't let the press cover her meets getting schooled by foreign officials - they don't want to show how dumb she is. Wake up America and start researching the issues yourself instead of sitting in front of the TV believing all the propagand spewed forth by the media bought and paid for by the republicans. That's why MSNBC wanted to get rid of Matthews and Oberman.

    September 24, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. terri sel

    Getting alittle paranoid are we? Are the allegations true or not? If not, bring on the information. This whole game by the McCain camp of trying to control the media at every turn and label everyone "out to get us" - is scary and oh so familiar.

    September 24, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. Asian-American

    This Asian/American family and our church members are former Hillary supporters who will go the polls in November to vote ....OBAMA OUT!

    Hillary or McCain, NOBAMA OSAMA PLEASE!

    September 24, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Rman

    Y'all democrats have been mislead. It was obama that took money from freddy & fanny, something like 150g. Now his housing guy is one of the people that drove freddy into the ground, along with clintonistas gorelik and reno, who got 75 mil each while their dem buddies looted the place.

    It was also the democrats under klinton that started the fanny freddy mess by forcing banks to make bad deals and enabling them to bundle the bad loans as securities.

    You also keep bringing up the keeting 5. Be aware that 4 of the 5 were democrats, and were guilty. Only McCain was not charged.

    For God's sake, please educate yourselves before spouting the party propoganda. You sound rediculous. That, and what is with the childish name calling? Is that really a distraction from your weak positions? Did it work?

    September 24, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. lil

    CNN, fact check this please because I dont believe anything that
    John Mccain campaign say or write they lie so much.

    September 24, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. B

    When the facts are against you, attack the messenger. But I don't think attacking the media for "bias" when McCain has been getting a VERY easy ride so far is a very smart strategy. The media has been calling him "maverick" for way too long – dispite the fact that he has adopted most of Bush's disasterous policies and is using the same campaign tactics. So, either he's lying to the Republican base, or he's really going to be Bush III. I suspect it's somewhere in between. Either way, he's got a losing hand.

    September 24, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Steve

    I love how the right wingers are so upset that no one will pay attention to their crap about Bill Ayres. Apparently, they think this "issue" is more important than a tanking economy.


    September 24, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. Jennifer

    I'm sure this will not make cnn, however I would like to know why we never hear all the bad things Obama has done. Like how one of his finacial advisors is the man that ran fanny mae into the ground. How he was # 2 on the list for receiving money dirrectly from the lobbyist that they keep trying to link only to McCain & Obama has only been there for 3 years to be #2 he must have made a lot of money, or how he talks about Palin having so many earmarks for her state , however he was #2 or 3 on the list for having the most earmarks for his state. I like how he puts McCain down for the points he made about the buyouts,however the only thing Obama has said is the point that Mccain has already made. The media & Obama has put down the whole McCain /Palin campaign for the very things Obama is doing himself can you say hypocrites? And I thought the media was supposed to be unbias & report acual information about the candidates not report or leave out what they want you to believe to suit their political beliefs, what a joke they have made out of the whole election.

    September 24, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. jeremy

    The end is near for McCain/Palin. They can only pretend to be something they are not for so long.

    September 24, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. tony

    When it's time to pull the lever, all by themselves< they won't be able to pull it for Obama-
    He couldn't close the deal with Hillary in a state by state deal–
    Remember-They said all the late beakers broke for Hillary–
    The same thing will happen with McCain–Except the whole Country will break for McCain–

    September 24, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  19. Winkzilla, Tucson

    To A Voice in VA.

    What rubbish! The essence of Glenn Beck’s argument is that Bush is not responsible for the economic meltdown. What he does not give in the details is that the responses Bush calls for were more deregulation! What Glenn Beck provided was the evidence of the failed GOP party’s position.

    When is this stupidity going to stop! Capitalism and America have been together like a marriage. Now the top capitalists are divorcing themselves from the United States because they see more profit in this divorce. This divorce is not in the American people’s interests. They do not care about our national interests, security or any of you. Glenn Beck is a shortsighted propagandist. Hey CNN, where is the progressive alternative?

    What the Bush Administration, with Cheney at the helm, along with all the Republicans are doing is throwing the American people out into the street for their new counterpart, the world.

    We have the shedding of America occurring.

    I have heard the Republicans state that the American Dream of everyone owning a home is a liberal idea and blames the American people for this meltdown. I have heard them say economic prosperity for all is a bad idea that led to this meltdown. Yipes! They are blaming the American people for their own incompetence and stupidity. Republicans make fun of intellectuals, yet some how their position is the intellectually correct one. Intellectuals to a Republican are anyone that disagrees with them.

    To all the Voices in VA, think before you speak.!

    September 24, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. Joe Kool

    We all know that the Republicans only knows to attack with lies creating fear in people. But this time they've been found out.

    The Bible says the only one we as people should be afraid of is GOD and no one else including McPalin and their cohorts.

    The McPalin campaign is definately a 'BRIDGE(CAMPAIGN) TO NO WHERE'.

    At 72 year he should be spending time in retirement with a children and great grand children and leave the beauty pagent Palin with her lies to NO WHERE.

    September 24, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. Gifty

    To Sara Palin: Tough times do not last but tough people last.

    You'll be vindicated soonest.

    Go John/Palin 08

    Hillary 012

    September 24, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. independent party female

    McCain's camp is so infested with lies. He attempts to discredit a growing list (almost the entire media plus others) when his lies (which are very provable to be his lies) become public knowledge.

    Grow up already......John McCain is like a child throwing a tantrum because you called that child out on his behavior!

    Thank the lord he is losing in the polls!!

    September 24, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. hibernatus

    Folks you have to respect McCain, this is not his fault if it is difficult for him to understand the present world, he is just coming back from a long hibernation and everything seems strange to him.
    Understand that McCain is completely lost and out of touch.

    September 24, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. no fear

    In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes an act of rebellion.

    Obama 08

    September 24, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |

    McCain voted against the MINUMUM WAGE RAISE a total of 19 TIMES.
    McCain voted against EQUAL Pay for women, saying Men should earn
    $1.00 compared to a womans .77 cent. and even said that women need to get "more educated.

    My Friends, Wal-Mart pays minumim wage and their people can hardly
    pay for the gas it takes to drive to work!!!! What are we, CHINA???

    My FRIENDS, Do not be stupid. Even if you think you are rich, your not.

    Go to The Huffington Post THE SHOCK DOCTRINE to see what the
    REPUBLICANS have in store for you. And click on the Newt Gindrich
    Doctrine link. It will knock your socks off and you WILL vote for
    a black man!!!

    September 24, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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