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. peggyledbetter

    McShame knew he was up to his ears in this Freddie Mac mess. These crooks should all be sent to jail after the investigation is over!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  2. KJL

    Oh, no! Not another Great (blank) Wing Conspiracy!

    September 24, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  3. no trickle down...

    Pretty soon McCain's team are going to have to get their own special secret service agency, just to cover their tracks. Otherwise people aren't going to buy their lies!

    September 24, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. Ryan

    McCain's campain manager owns a firm that has been receiving $15,000 a month up until this last month. The McCain campaign seems disparate to try and discredit the NY Times for uncovering this. What happens when other news organizations also confirm it (some already have)?

    September 24, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  5. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    The evil that men do live"with" them.The law of KARMA is a living truth.

    September 24, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |

    Hmmm....or NYT is actually reporting ACCURATELY...something few news media outlets seem capable of doing...

    September 24, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. therealist

    As is the entire progressive media. All clearly advocating on Obama's behalf. And only the wild-eyed kool-aid drunken liberals themselves believe otherwise.., see above and below.

    September 24, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  8. Jeff in Illinois

    If the NY Times is serious about the accusations, then they will produce the proof (check copies) and print them (minus the account numbers).

    September 24, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. CNN blog is a joke!!!!

    NY times, along with the rest of the liberal news media, do nothing but paint the Messiah in the best light possible, never ever questioning his past, the fact that his own state has a high tax rate, the high unemployment, and the fact that he has done NOTHING for his state to change anything. he is as corrupt as most chicago politicians and does everything being pushed by someone behind him with their own personal agenda.

    September 24, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. McHoover Would Destroy What's Left of America

    A Voice in VA . . . Glenn Beck has about as much credibility as Rush. Give us all a break.

    September 24, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. MarioB., Berlin FOR OBAMA/BIDEN

    way to go NYT... show us what kind of dirt they sweep under the carpet. I expect there still a lot of bad things. And each day until Nov. 4th it gets worse for McSame-Failin...

    Obama/Biden by landslide.

    September 24, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Alissa in Kansas

    The New York Times has been critical of BOTH campaigns! In fact the McCain campaign has used it as a reference in many of its attacks against Obama.

    McCain = fair weather news friend

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 24, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. Republicans Hate Ameirca

    A Voice in VA - Oh yeah Glenn Beck is real fair and balanced give me a break will ya.

    September 24, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. Sean

    Good thing we have good 'ol non-partisan Fox News to keep us voters informed about what the facts really are.

    September 24, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. Tommy

    I believe the NY Times or the Podunk Herald over anything that comes out of the McCain campaign, the RNC, or the Bush administration!

    September 24, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. Mike

    O McDonald had a farm – (a ranch, plane, 8 houses and 13 cars) and what else?

    September 24, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. LBJ

    YOUR CAMPAIGN MANAGER WAS CAUGHT RED HANDED! taking $15,000 a month so Freddie/Fannie could have access to a McCain administration. McCain – you lied straight to the American people's face on 60 Minutes! WHAT ELSE ARE YOU LYING ABOUT? I wonder.

    The only defense you have is to try to kill the messenger before the message gets out. Wow!

    September 24, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. Moderate and Balanced

    Oh PUHLEEZE...You are the ONLY network with such "dire" poll results for McCain....and for DAYS you've been saying it when the facts don't show it. The polls have not and downs for both sides...same dead heat.

    I find it interesting that Biden can say that President Roosevelt went on TV in 1929 during the depression (before television...and he wasn't president) and the liberal media ignores it. If Sarah Palin had said it the entire would have stopped spinning on its axis and you'd be crowing from the rooftops. You'd all be hyperventilating with horror, fainting dead on air and begging the Americans to vote for Obama. Oh do that bad.

    The closer it gets to the election...the more you lean to the left. No stories on William Ayers. No stories on the Obama campaign paying groups to smear Palin online (proven're not reporting it) stories on Obama begging the Iraqi presidet to delay troop withdrawals during his "European rock star tour"....Nope. None of that.

    But you have time to interview the Iranian President by golly...couldn't miss that. I think it's pathetic and you should all be ashamed of yourselves. And all 5 bloggers of the Obama campaign who are on this blog responding with FAKE names to slam McCain should be ashamed.

    John McCain will win this election. Americans are not fooled.

    September 24, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  19. give me a break

    NY Times endorses Hilary Clinton and John McCain during the primaries. And now they get yelled at for simply DOING THEIR JOB.

    Notice how team McCain can't deny the facts of the report? Does Rick Davis still have a financial stake in the firm that has received 15K each month since FOREVER??!?!?!?


    Obama/Biden '08

    September 24, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. CM

    Man, you guys keep hoping the same trick works with everyone. Didn't you guys quote them the most when it suited your needs?

    Trying to bully the media again is only starting to piss them off.

    Of course if any of the press ask for 'clarification' of the points you're trying to push then they're 'in the tank'.

    No transparency. Same old business. No McCain/Palin.

    No more dumb presidents. Give the Constitutional professor a chance.

    September 24, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. tired of delusional blind sheep

    it seems like the republicans think that they have the right to be apalled by the legal investigations into their many crimes and lies.. for shame on us for not all being blind stupid sheep.. for shame..

    republican political supporters are greedy stupid soulless warmongerers

    September 24, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. Cathy

    Not sure if the story is true or false.

    But I love how the McCain camp complains about some news media being in the "tank" for Obama but has no problem with the Fox News in the "tank" for McCain and the continuous racist comments by the Fox News commentators (especially Hannity and O' Reilly).

    The republican double standard in full effect...AGAIN!!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  23. barbara

    Keating Five – need I say more?

    September 24, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  24. Cindy

    WOW... and the McCain campaign thinks will help them show how well they can work in a bipartisan world?

    Americans say to McSame/McPalin– THANKS BUT NO THANKS!

    September 24, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  25. DB

    The amount of whining about the press from the McCain campaign is beyond annoying. Grow up, already! Maybe if you guys did more than one press conference every 6 months, the press would be more forgiving. Constantly claiming falsehoods, crying wolf and false outrage is pretty poor strategy.

    I used to think that Schmidt was pretty smart, but my respect for him is certainly waning.

    September 24, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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