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. Abby

    The obama gang is really out in force today – guess it is all those
    PAID Blogers! CNN has rules about this stuff – they post only pro-obama comments – ZERO negative.

    We'll all see in November!

    September 24, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Um, wowwow, that's why you have to be careful where you go to get information. See, the $160 that Obama got were from the EMPLOYEES of these two institutions.
    McCain on the other hand got $165,000 from the executives, officers and lobbyists of these two institutions.
    Obama? Not so good with about $17,000 from the people who ran the entities.
    Get your facts right.

    Hey moderator, y'all really need to start checking some of these people's facts. They're telling lies as quickly as the McCain/Palin team.

    September 24, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. NickNas

    All you need to know about Republicans is something called reverse psychology. Everything they say about liberals is really what they think about themselves.

    You liberals are all celebrities, yet Ronald and Arnold are their heros.
    You liberals are so angry, yet the Republican Party is always turning to violence to solve their problems.
    You liberals are so afraid, yet they are too afraid to let go of their guns.
    You liberals want bigger government, yet they are the ones to expand the government.
    You liberals want a free ride, yet they are the ones looking for corporate bailouts and government contracts for their businesses.
    You liberals sin/have no morals, yet they sin/have no morals but it makes it OK since they ask for forgiveness. They don't actually try to stop sinning though.
    You liberals think the government should regulate everything, yet they are the ones who want the government to regulate what a woman should do with her own body.
    You liberals are sexist, yet they made sexist comments about Hilary throughout her entire campaign.
    You liberals want a messiah, yet Sarah Palin was sent from God.

    September 24, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. jaye

    The repubs, including McCain and Palin are always crying and whining about something – and the media is letting them get away with it.
    I have never seen main stream media so pro-Republican in all my life!
    McCain and Palin are both crooks – and our country will pay the extreme price if they are elected.

    September 24, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. Elle

    It's funny how the McCain camp calls the media "objective" when they investigate the Democrats, but they're "undermining the candidacy of John McCain" when they investigate the Republicans. HA! It's not the MEDIA who's biased – it's the Republicans again trying to spin bad news from an investigative organization.

    Please stop whining. It's pathetic.

    September 24, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  6. Wisest one of All

    War Hero McCain is correct. People during the primary noticed it as well. For some reason the US media is forcing the racist empty suit hussein nobama down the throats of the American people. Proven fact!

    If they were as critical of him and publicized his flaws like they did Hillary Clinton and War Hero McCain then even his brain dead cult followers would abandon him...unless they were mentally ill, stupid, or just treasonous scum. Another Proven fact!

    September 24, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. Samuel

    NYT, please, go get them because they are trapped. Expose, expose them and more expose. Sweet.

    September 24, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Pam

    This is just some more of the Abramoff training crap. Distraction, distraction gorilla warfare for corporate friendly causes in the world. These guys are so transparent but I don't understand why the media give them so much press and air time. It's a disgrace! Call it like it is CNN and do your research.

    September 24, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. Ulrike

    Even in Europe, people know that FoxNews is incredibly biased.
    So what does the McCain campaign complain about?
    They have a whole network of their own and that "gentleman" O´Reilly, who tells everyone to shut up."Shut up" seems to be the new Republican slogan.Watch out America!

    September 24, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. Chris

    Really? Then, what is Fox News? So far, I don't see them advocate Obama too much. It just goes to show that the McCain-Palin bunch are continually in duck-and-cover mode. That's the oldest and most basic trick in the GOP playbook and it won't work this time around.

    Hendersonville, NC

    September 24, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. RoFL

    Are you kidding me?? LOL Palin "ain't 4 u", my friend, if you haven't noticed. Is anyone buying this nonsense?

    More Republican posers lying in desperation. Give me a break.

    September 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. Not this time!

    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!!!!!!!"

    Riiiiight. The people have completely segregated their communites via violence. Sunni woman married to a Shiite man? Can't live together anymore for fear of being murdered. Just b/c it's not called a civil war by the rpublicans doesn't mean that it wasn't one.

    September 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. Tracy G from PA- Obama08'

    As long as the republican'ts get positive feedback for McShame and negative feedback for Obama they are okay.
    Stop whining! Instead of whining how Obama getting all the attention how about letting Palin take some interviews. Are you afraid what might come out of her mouth. You know she can see Russia from Alaska. LOL

    September 24, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Dave, Illinois

    The only people gullable enough to believe anything out of the NYT would be the hippies who get their news from SNL and Comedy Central – the Obamites.

    Oh yeah, "WASP Member", that would be Obama that tried to convince Iraqs government to delay the withdrawel of the troops. You are a typical meat-headed Obamite that spouts before they know the facts.

    September 24, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. Eric-29-m-PA

    The McCain campaign is 100% correct. This is the year journalism died.

    September 24, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Old American

    It's a known fact – All Politicans are corrupt, liars and downright dishonest. They are only interested in their own plight.

    Why do we Americans elect them is beyond my imagination. I am 65 and I have never voted for any scumbag and I will never do so in future.
    I get nothing good from them so why should I employ them and pay salary to them.

    Get smart American and stop voting for these SCUMBAGS.

    September 24, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. Jeffer -N.M.

    If you don't read the NYT, please don't simply parrot talking points. They have written extensive articles on Obama not all of them flattering, and they have written positive articles on McCain as well.

    The article on Davis was released by another reporter last night. And it doesn't accuse Davis of taking the money himself, rather it was given to his firm as a retainer. The big question is what were they paying his firm for? They've apparently done very litte for it.

    September 24, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. steve

    Do any of you dems think for yourselves ?

    Have none of you read a Caffety report or a Bill Mitchell toon ?

    Haven't noticed Obama's picture on every CNN page ?

    Don't know that the subprime loans started with Carter and were bolstered by Clinton to add regulations to provide affermitive action loans ?

    September 24, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. Lensa

    Isn't Davis the guy that was employed by Fannie and Fredie till 2006?

    September 24, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. Rove's chickens coming home to roost

    So, the best response the McCain camp can come up with is that the NY Times is biased?

    That says alot.

    Let's just hope other newspapers have the guts to pick up the story.

    September 24, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. Kelby from Houston, TX

    I would also like to comment on the term'liberal'. I am sure by now, through reading my posts, you should know that I am a liberal.

    The literal definition of liberal is: tolerant of different views and standards of behavior in others. favoring gradual reform, especially political reforms that extend democracy, distribute wealth more evenly, and protect the personal freedom of the individual,concerned with general cultural matters and broadening of the mind.somebody who favors tolerance or open-mindedness.

    By this definition, I am proud to be a liberal. By this definition, ALL OF US SHOULD BE LIBERAL.


    September 24, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Don Clayton

    No Way No How
    No McCain

    September 24, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Mud Slinging and Scare Tactics Won't Work This Time

    what is the mccain campaign problem? do they think everyone is out to get them because they're telling the truth about mcpalin? this guy and his camgaign needs to take some xanax or something because they have totally lost their freaking minds. everytime someone exposes mcpalin for the liars that they are, they immediately discredit the individuals. nobody's out to get them. their lies have been brought into the light and now mcpalin can't handle it. wake up america is this the kind of leadership you want?!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. Bob

    If it is demonstably false then let's see the evidence.

    September 24, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. Big D

    Hey boys, it's politics in the USA as usual, and you asked for it by running for office. SUCK IT UP and get over it! All you have to is prove that the payoff retainer allegation is false, then it'll go AWAY as fast as it came up. But what if they can't prove it wrong and what if the reporting is true? Oh boy...look out....Uffda.

    September 24, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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