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. Amanda

    My daughter went on a field trip to the UN. Does that mean my 12 year old can be vice president, or is she over qualified, because she has also been the the easter egg roll at the white house.

    September 24, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. Mrs. Intosh

    The American taxpayers deserve honesty since we are bailing out these financial firms. We anticipate nothing less than the truth.

    September 24, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. Dana

    Cry Babies Cry Babies...give me a break.
    The McCain campaign has pissed off essentially every media group there is with there lack of transparency...yea but I really believe with all these Bush tactics and advisors- they will bring transparency to washington!!?? Give me a break please!!
    They are mad at the media for finding out the TRUTH on their Top Advisor- the truth always prevails... hopefully now we will vote to send John McCain to his private retirement home, Palin to face a jury of her peers in Alaska and keep both as far away from the White House as possible!!!

    No more lies, no more secrecy... no more Republican regime!!!
    You can put lipstick on a pick but its still a pig, you can put roses on a pile of poo- but its still poo!!!

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 24, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. Rob


    September 24, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. Lisa --

    The louder they scream, the more it stinks. Yelling to deflect ... the usual day in the life of a Repub operative.

    September 24, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  6. Pam

    No wonder they refuse to talk to ANY reporters, they consistantly get caught in lies.

    I remember when McCain first became the nominee, there was a lot of talk about what a great relationship he had with the press being the "straight talk express"

    Now they are the NO TALK EXPRESS!! Figure it out for yourself!

    September 24, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. freddie

    C'mon CNN! Many other outlets are reporting this as well, including Newsweek and Roll Call. Get with it and report the facts...not the controversy created once again by McCain. How many things is he at war with now...let's see...Irag, Iran, Russia, NYT, Cox, Wallstreet. Please MSM please call him on his deceipt of the American people once and for all. This is not a game.

    September 24, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  8. Bruce

    well here wwe go again...deflect...deflect...
    Instead of talking about what he would do, or how he would do anything, why anyone should vote for him..all McCain and the campaign can do is try to deflect things from the issues...
    If you cannot take the heat of the press, then drop out....
    I am tired of the Rpubs and all the whinning...
    it has cut both ways,. but maybe if McCain/Palin were not so secretive and constantly changing poistions to match which way the wind is blowing we would know where they stand.
    I can see him voting against the bailout...becaue he is a maverick...LOl...more because he does not ahve a clue...and if they get guarantees on things,it is the only answer....
    Think I will start calling him McHoover

    September 24, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  9. Paul from Minneapolis

    Politics is just a game according to the Republicans–a game where it is OK to lie and cheat–anything is OK in the quest for the Presidency. Folks, this is not a game. Our country has been sold out by the neocons and if they are re-elected you can expect more of the same. The McCain campaign has sunk about as low as it can get. But I will not be surprised when I see more lies over the next five weeks. It is amazing that a large portion of the country continues to be suckered. You can be sure the McCain campaign is laughing non-stop at how gullible the American public are. Show these clowns the door.

    September 24, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  10. Republicans Hate Ameirca

    The surge worked!!!! the irresponsible decision to invade the country to begin with did not. dont erase 5 years of failure.

    September 24, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  11. Palin is a warrior

    Mack is going to win this thing by-god almighty! First we are going to take Louisina, then Utah, then Wyoming, then Alabama, then Oklahoma, then Arizona....Whoooo!

    September 24, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. peakarack

    Hussein Obama voted twice for the bridge to nowhere.


    September 24, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. Kiah G

    HA! And to the person who is citing Glenn Beck. This isn't your target audience. K

    September 24, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. Maureen, Newman California

    Uh – Was the McCain aid confusing the NY Times with Fox news?

    September 24, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. Mark Wagner

    Heh, the NYTimes endorsed McCain too.

    September 24, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. Ricky - Latino for Obama

    NYT is the most respected newspaper in America and through out the world. More respected than any right wing slanted newspaper.

    Being front page and such high circulation, this is bound to help some people realize what the whole McCain campaign is...a bunch of crooks!

    September 24, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. Melba


    Its not the Media's fault that you fail.

    September 24, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. Kelly

    What a cry baby!

    If he can't stand the criticism and scrutiny, why is he running for public office.

    So the press is fine as long as it loves and adores him.

    Perhaps if McCain and his running mate would make themselves more accessable to the press for more than 30 seconds at a time and stop with the lies the press can verify, they may be painted in a more positive light.

    September 24, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. peter, CT

    You tell'm McCain! To hell with all those soul-less twerps that force you to acknowledge reality! They're going to lose the election for you! Imagine how pathetic it would be to let something as petty as freedom of the press prevent you from obtaining the highest office in the country. You're what's right for the country, and the Times, washington post, or Wall street journal should just keep their smearing noses out of this. Go report on weather or sports or some school-teacher molester like nancy grace does you meddling journalists!! that's what real americans are really concerned about anyway! so shut your mouths, and let me do what i want!

    September 24, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. Walter - Boston

    the liberal media is out of control... if you want REAL news from OBJECTIVE sources then turn on sean hannity or rush limbaugh. or better yet, just go straight to the mccain campaign.

    September 24, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. TexicoFrom Mexico

    FOX NEWS: A McCain Advocacy Organization

    See my point?

    Life is a two way street and it goes both ways...

    Veterans for Obama

    September 24, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. dave

    Clearly the Times should get permission from the McCain camp before the investigate stories about him. Don't they know that's how journalism works these days?

    September 24, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. Jesus Praising & Freedom Loving Patriot

    A Voice in VA:

    GLENN BECK?!?! yeah, that's "Fair and Balanced"

    Do your research, GB is a right wing, Lipstick Limbaugh wannabe.

    September 24, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. independent hanging on by a thread in Texas

    CHECK YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION CARDS !! mine came in with name mis spelled !! that could have prevented me from even getting to vote ! cards MUST match your iD"S this year..will be more voter denial, fraud than ever nefore..

    September 24, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. Chas in Iowa

    I notice they failed to deny the content of the story. I never read that he lobbied for FM and FM he just was working on a retainer. Although he is not currently drawing income from the firm (sic). We all know how that denyability works by now after the Chaney / Halburton divorce.

    Obama '08

    September 24, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22