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. rice, bryan

    so the question is, did the gop see this coming? take from the poor, and give it to the rich.

    September 24, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. Steve

    Another angry but typical response from the McCain/Rove team. Too bad they can't fire the NYT since this is their answer to truth and the free press that reports it. When are people going to wise up to the real angry McCain beneath the smile 'my friends?'

    September 24, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Paul

    Politics 101 – When the truth hurts, attack the messenger.

    September 24, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. duke harris

    can some one help me,I am being told rick davis is gay,and palin is upset due to him telling her to stay away fro mc bush,

    September 24, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. onelove

    Ok, if the NYTimes is 150% in the tank for Obama just prove them a lie? It really is that simple.

    September 24, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. Dean

    The Surge:

    Case 1: It worked, it not time to draw down?

    Case 2: It didn't work, it not time to draw down?

    Seems to me, yes, it is time to draw down.

    September 24, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. Wake up and see the truth

    Obama's economic advisors work for Fannie Mae. He is corrupt and just a paper thin puppet that wants to be president. Obama is a joke the world has not started laughing at yet.

    September 24, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. NObama

    What a bunch of STUPID followers.

    Look who is #2 on the list of getting the most money from Fannie & Freddie..
    Your man NO-BAMA

    September 24, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. Rick

    This is funny....these Demcrat clowns seems to avoid the truth.... Nice try...

    September 24, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. housecat

    I'm sick and tired of Republicans crying "bias!" and "attack!" every time a news story reveals something unfavorable about them. And Democrats are the whiny ones?

    September 24, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Marge

    ((gays4palin)))) LOL! Too bad she's NOT for you.
    But wait.....We don't know what she's for do we???? McLIAR won't let her answer questions.
    Fact is (gays4palin) her mater...John Msenile definitiely isn't for gay rights!!!

    September 24, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Rich

    McCain is a campaign to nowhere.

    September 24, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Ulrike

    Well, what´s the job of the media, anyway.In Europe, we EXPECT them to uncover what is hidden.And if the media make an accusation a politician has to answer yes or no,or he/ she will be in trouble.
    Your Republicans are tampering with democracy, that´s for sure.

    September 24, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. Ron from Baltimore

    You're too late this time; the facts already got out. You were on the FM/FM payroll, one way or another, for the past seven years, Mr. Rick Davis. Get out and stay out. The press has every right, and responsibility, to cover this and all elections without browbeating from you clowns. You are no longer masters of your domain-such things are very fleeting. And your kind are now fleeing.

    September 24, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. Denise

    When being called out, attack the messenger! Davis, what are you so afraid of?

    September 24, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. Randy

    Go Get them Mccain camp! Where are the stories about Obama and his cohorts in the Democratic party and their fight against regulation of Fannie and Freddie? And the tie in between the defense of Fannie and Freddie and cash to the candidates. The dems have been in the tank for Fannie/Freddie's bribes and crooked accounting and the media ignores the story. What's the matter CNN, you might not like the results?

    September 24, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. steve

    Nobody is allowed to say anything negative about McCain or Palin without being accused of either lying or being un-American or both. Sound like any recent president and his cronies? This bodes ill for the United States if McCain is elected. Freedom of speach and freedom of the press will suffer greatly under a McCain/Palin administration.

    September 24, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. Turning the page

    Republicans are such loud whiners!

    September 24, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  19. Charlie in NYC

    This campaign is finally over. McCain should have been locked away in the attic, not nominated to stammer through meaningless rambles of ReThug nonsense at the Debate. This is elder abuse. Everybody knows Obama is the greatest speaker of our time. People won’t even know McCain is on the same stage. Obama is going to destroy that feeble old man. McCain will need paramedics to help him down off the stage.

    September 24, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. Greg

    Dear NYT and the Media: Please 'grow a pair' and do not let the McCain/Rove thugs to intimidate you away from investigating the depth of their corruption and incompetence! Keep up the great work.

    September 24, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Bruce

    Facts are FACTS. John wants to play like it is the good old days when you could say anything and it took months untill the truth came out. But I forgot he is not to much into the computer age where things can be checked out instantly. now when you say you only buy American Made cars a quick check of the database is only a mouse click away. LIES ALWAYS COME BACK TO HAUNT YOU. By the way McCain got more contributions from Fanny May then Obama.

    September 24, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. ShawnW

    CNN - This isn't Anti-McCain, but maybe you could fit it in the middle of all the Pro-Obama stuff.

    I'd like all you McCain haters to give me any example of what Obama has done to make you believe he can do what he says he can do and that his actions are the correct actions. What examples do you have? I don't want to hear Obama slogans and I don't want to hear about McCain or Palin. I want Obama specifics. I'd just like to know because I have not found anything solid enough to stand on. I've asked this question numerous time, but no one responds. I'm never surprised.

    September 24, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. babs-toronto

    Do your research America and you will see how McCain is closely tied to the policies of GWB. Don't forget the lobbyists, the Bush/Cheney doctrine of lying to the American people about everything from the war in Iraq to our economy to statments such are things aren't so bad. The American taxpayer has a right to know what goes on behind the White House doors. That door has been shut for 8 years now and enough is enough!

    September 24, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. dennis from chicago

    got a better one than BILL AYERS... how about or coming this october at a theater near you.........did you know the 10 swing states still do not have accurate machines that can count///// OBAMA NEEDS TO GET IT //AS FREUD once said THERE AIN.T NO ACCIDENTS

    September 24, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  25. Franc

    McCain campaign has been based entirely on lies, half-truths and hyperbole. This is just one more lie to add to the ever-growing list.

    September 24, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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