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. Megan

    McStupid has always had this DRAMA with his campaign.
    Getting sick of him and his side kick.

    September 24, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. ToddDC

    How can they defend McCain with a straight face? McCain lied and his campaign manager was taking money from Freddie Mac. IT'S AS SIMPLE AS THAT!!

    September 24, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. John in Ohio

    Basically anybody who is against McCain is an "Obama advocacy organization".

    It's clear what they're trying to do, they're casting New York and anything in it or from it as something dark and scary for the voters in Middle America. The truth is that the NYT has actually been critical of both campaigns, but the McCain campaign has done more to criticize.

    If somebody steals 20 bucks and somebody else steals 20,000 bucks, it's not media bias to say that the second guy stole more then the first.

    September 24, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. McCain can care less about you

    Hot-heads! A clear example of the kind of people working with McCain and a reflection of McCain. He is hot-headed and his staff is hot-headed including Palin.

    September 24, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. Tell the TRUTH Obama

    New York Times investigates senior McCain that's funny!

    September 24, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. N Y T is a rag

    Why aren't they reporting about Obama himself being on the take from Fannie and Freddie!
    Obama recieved the 2nd highest donation from Fannie and Freddie why do you think that is, nooo they weren't expecting any favors, of course not .
    Same with Rezco he bought the property next to Obama because Obama couldn't afford it and then turned around and sold it to Obama for half the price he bought it for. of course Rezco wasn't expecting any favors either.

    September 24, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. Former Hillary supporter

    This paper is Obama's tools. They have an army of cheap thugs writing anything at all that makes Obama looks good! paper Do I waste my money to buy their paper? Hell No! The Internet era will soon replace the biased papers like The New York Times!

    September 24, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. Rebecca

    Sorry McSame, but Newsweek and other reputable sources have already confirmed the Times reporting as accurate. You've lied to America yet again, and this time your lie is such a bold-faced whopper that you can't simply talk your way out of it with more lies of the same.

    Excerpt from Newsweek: "Davis himself approached Freddie Mac in 2006 and asked for a new consulting arrangement that would allow his firm to continue to be paid. The arrangement was approved by Hollis McLoughlin, Freddie Mac's vice president for external relations."

    Quote: David Donnelly, director of the watchdog group Campaign Money Watch noted: "John McCain's campaign manager and Freddie Mac essentially had a secret half a million dollar lay-a-way plan. For almost three years, they made secret, monthly payments of $15,000 to Rick Davis for apparently no other work than for him to provide special access to a future McCain White House in exchange. If McCain knew about this, his presidential campaign should be over. If he didn't know about it, he ought to fire Rick Davis immediately."

    September 24, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. joe

    media reporting about the other media?

    CNN tell us the news!

    September 24, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. jm for sc

    If they are an advocate for Obama it could be because is the better candidate. Unlike Fox News who has been campaigning and covering up lies for McCain from the beginning.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 24, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. CitizenS

    Once again, McSame jumped the gun and made a so-called 'plan' for the bailout and tried to say he trumped Obama as he had no plan. Well it looks like no one in Congress has a plan nor does the SEC Paulson guy who just says..'give me the money'. Whattt???!!! Please vote for McSame so you can have more cowboy politics like this, he is a disgrace to his chosen career. But vote him in you will do.

    September 24, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. It Comes Down To This ...

    Sorry GOP –

    Picking on the media won't work anymore ... we won't be distracted ...

    Mrs. Palin his being shielded from the common man ... not even your hand picked attendees at these socalled "town meetings" can ask her so much as "what time is it?".

    You can make the media the bad guys to excite the GOP base but to have any postive influence with truly independent voters will require unfettered access by the citizentry. Simply managing her image for the next 6 weeks won't be enough.

    We also won't let you set the bar so low that all she has to do is show up at the debate.

    September 24, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  13. Mary

    We have seen a constant slant in most major publications during this election. It is clear they can no longer be trusted to be impartial. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding him/herself. I was a Communications major minor in Journalism and can't believe how immature and reckless the press has become–a far cry from the Kronkite era. It is a sad day when Foxnews is the closest we can get to fair and balanced. : (

    September 24, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  14. Mike

    The Truth about McBush and Fannie Mae is finally going to come out. The unbelievable two faced Liar McBush will have to face his demons and stop blameing everyone else. He shies away from Bush like a leper when in truth it is McBush who brought us to this economic precipice. Bush actually tried to regulate Fannie Mae but McBush's Campaign Manager Rick Davis Lobbied succesfully against it and was paid twenty two million dollars in crooked Fannie to do it. You can lie to the voters but a Federal Investigation will be less naive and will not want to hear your war hero stories.

    September 24, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. kathy

    Every time McCain gets bad press they whine. The NYT has printed many stories, etc on Obama and the democrats. I guess the McCain camp want to use the news and press to bolster the VP pick and print things about her cuz she is so off limits, but when they actually print news that effects the voters they cry "unfair". If they aren't thick skinned enough for the NYT they'll never make it to the white house, cuz it's not an easy job being prez...and there will be more exposure coming out of washington than the NYT could ever print.

    September 24, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. ANGIE

    Poor Poor mccain you see mccain there is an old saying when you start spreading lies about people it forces the truth to come out about you! mccain campaign have really turned into a bunch of frauds and liars!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. Tricia from the beach

    So we're supposed to believe that the NY Times is the big bad bully picking on McSchmalin and company, the good little boys (and pit bulls) playing nice in the sandbox?


    September 24, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. News Flash


    McCain has no explanation besides branding the reputable media organisation that once endorsed John McCain, as an "Obama Advocacy group". How sad!.

    After all these years in Washington, John McCain must know that the Truth always comes out in the end. His Advisors Lobbied for Freddie and Fannie.

    Vote for the Truth, Vote for Peace, Vote Prosperity, Vote for Real Change, Vote OBAMA.

    September 24, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. Tired of W, OH

    Whoever posted as "A Voice in VA" should know that citing a Glenn Beck article defending the Bush administration is utterly pointless. Glenn Beck ranks up there with O'Reilly and Limbaugh when it comes to objectivity. They serve only the far-right extremists of the republican party.

    September 24, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. prairieguy

    Attcked the messenger but did NOT deny the facts!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  21. tired of delusional blind sheep

    "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!!!!!!!"

    we go into a country, create a "revolution from the outside" ... causing chaos in a world where religion trumps secularism and democracy 24/7 ... and you think something is working..

    the war is a neoconservative buisness deal and you are stupid not to see that.. stupid stupid stupid.. 4000+ lives lost so that some neocons could make some money.. how stupid are you.. btw.. neocons are in the buisness of nation-building.. still stupid?

    September 24, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  22. Rolando Rivero

    The fat lady is going to start belting out a sweet tune any day now. The crooked back room deals will continue to surface. Just wait for the troopergate report. These guys have been whelling and dealing for 8 years. I hope they go down in flames.

    September 24, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  23. Open Your 3rd Eye





    September 24, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  24. mitchell



    vote for barack and joe '08

    September 24, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  25. kevin

    That kind of talk probably fired up enough people to have an effect in the last eight years, but I think people are getting sick of it.

    September 24, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
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