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)

    I MEAN REALLY STOP WHINING..................!@!!!!!!


    September 24, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. Brandon - Gahanna, Ohio

    More crybaby lies from McLiar & Daily Scandal Palin's campaign. I've been watching politics for a number of years, and their campaign is by far the most scandalous. I'm a registered Republican by the way.

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

    I wonder if you are allowed to mention "Bill Ayers" at the NYT.

    September 24, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Lipstick Wearer for Obama

    The story has also been featured in other publications.
    So what, the NYT is for Obama...what else is new?

    September 24, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. gays4palin, west hollywood, ca

    NYT (or any news outlet for that matter including CNN) is not in tank for BxO?

    puhleeze! LOOL!!

    of course they are!

    all "reporters" (journalist is too kind a word) should be ashamed of themselves. i'm sure none can look their journalism professors in the eyes because of their actions during the 2008 elections.


    September 24, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  6. Fed Up

    This just adds to the fact that the McSame ticket is a total joke.

    Not only does he have a totally unqualified, unprepared, and incompetent VP pick in Caribou Barbie, he also has a staff of idiots including Rick Davis, Tucker Bounds, and Carly Fiorina.

    Misery loves company and this is a freakin' circus. Lying, misdirection, diversion, and phony issues are only some of their skills. They're a total joke and we can only hope that voters will see this by November 4th. Let's wake up from this nightmare.

    Just say NO to Bush 44 and Caribou Barbie.

    Go Obama/Biden!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Merv

    This just enforces the Keating Five history of John McCain and his involvement with another economic/financial disaster, that he claims he didn't know anything about. This time the Straight Talk Express is getting derailed and coming off the tracks. The Straight Talk Express is starting to look more like the Midnight Express..Take-em all straight to prison!

    September 24, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  8. Go Home Gidget

    Oh, because they tell the truth, is that what you dont' like. The New York Times is right. This man is a bum and we will not vote for his boss and Gidget in November.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 24, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  9. Beverly, NYC

    McCain/Palin bought & paid for by big business. I'm sure now that Mr. Davis has been caught with his hands in the cookie jar he will step down, not holding by breath though. I hope the FBI investigates
    Mr. Davis as well.
    Republicans= The do as I say, not as I do party. On November 4th this voter will say thanks but no thanks to Mccain/Palin and their crew of liars.

    September 24, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. Dana

    PAT F- The surge worked huh?? Have you been to Iraq lately????
    Worked is a relative term and to be perfectly clear no it has not, not in the terms in which you view it- you know how they got violence down in Iraq? By the Sunni awakening... where Sunni extremists are now being paid by the USA to fight on our side!! So its not so much the surge as we just paid off the biggest point of turmoil in the country- and that is still only a bandaid on the issue.

    Our men and women are still in Iraq- and still dying for no reason... so do not say that there is VICTORY or SUCCESS or anything has WORKED until the last soldier has left the Iraqi soil and returned home!!! Republicans are soooo for war but not for the consequences of that war!
    And for the record- no matter what our soldiers will come back with HONOR... they fought a war that they shouldnt be fighting- but went anyway...that is TRUE HONOR... because here is a news flash there is no winning this war- its Vietnam take 2.
    These countries will never be the democracies we try to force them to be! Do some history studies and learn some facts. Obama wants to spare more lives and John McCain doesn't care either way because he suffers from PTSD and wants to WIN WIN WIN- even when there is no definition to the word WIN!
    Give me a break please... respect our fallen soldiers and end this war!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. Irony

    And Fox news is "fair and balanced"

    Distortions and lies will not win the election this time.

    Obama – Biden 08

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

    You don't win a paper's trust by accusing it of partisanship.. and McCain thinks it unfair of the paper to write negative stories towards him after he keeps slamming it?

    September 24, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. POW Whiner

    Oh suck it up McCain.. you have all the hate mongers on your side Haney, Limbaugh, Glenn Beck , Fox news so give it up. Just because the media calls you and Miss Muppet Palin out on your lies it makes you mad. We all know about you temper now don't we?

    September 24, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. biff

    A voice in VA..


    September 24, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. Jen

    Um, CNN, how about you report the actual news – that the Company Davis owns was receiving huge sums of money from Freddie Mac in order to provide access to McCain – instead of repeating the McCain campaign's shoot-the-messenger talking points.

    Or are you afraid that scary John McCain might label you a "obama advocacy organization" too?

    McCain invited anyone to look at Davis' relationship with Freddie Mac, and it turns out, surprise, Davis and McCain had been lying about it. AND they tried to pin the Freddie/Fannie meltdown on Obama, despite a complete absence of evidence in support of their accusations. Now they're shooting the messenger, because they don't like being called out for lying. If McCain becomes our president, God help us.

    September 24, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. H Jay From NYC

    This story has now been verified by Newsweek as well. It has legs and the McCain campaign needs to come clean

    September 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. Kpawlak

    Funny how no one reports about the money
    Obama has made from Fannie.

    Not at all surprising though.

    September 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  18. bob in LA

    The Republican party is very good at labels- The Liberal Press- the liberal conspiracy, the gay agenda, Axis of Evil.
    Most , not all media is controlled by very conservative men who are controlled by stockholders that tend to be convervative as well.
    Republicans have managed to take the word Liberal and make it sound "dirtry". the fact is if you look at a dictionary the description is open minded, willing to consider new ideas.
    Then look up conervative. It's a very different description. Oh no! Webster' is a liberal!

    September 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    McCain is getting desperate!!! He is trying to pull the media's strings to make them dance for him only when he wants. He doesd these bogus photo ops for Palin but won't allow her to answer any questions. He used to be buddy-buddy with his press corps until they started doing their job and fact-checked his lies and looked into his ties. for all of his claims about the media not looking into Barack, he needs to revisit the media's coverage of Barack during the Democratic primaries. McCain's nomination was secured far earlier, so he did not recieve the intense vetting that he would have gotten if it had continued!

    September 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    CNN, why don't you actually cover the story instead of the McCain camp's reaction to the story. This type of coverage is exactly why they react like this to damaging stories. Why is your coverage more concerned with printing phrases like 'explosive reaction', 'lashed out', or 'skewered' than with reporting the real stories and allow voters to decide based on the issues?

    September 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. Sarah.....and my last name isn't Palin!

    " The truth will feel like it's hell" Don't shoot the messenger!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. AA

    Typical RNC.

    Instead of demonstrating with documented proof that the Times is wrong, they instead do what they always do... say that it is political.

    Thanks for pointing out that the TImes is a liberal newspaper, we did not know that.

    Now please provide evidence that what they said is incorrect.

    You see, after the invasion of Iraq, Katrina, Gonzales, Palin, and now the absolute 100% blackout on allowing the public or press to even speak to you, we just don't believe that you are telling the truth.

    You've consistently been caught lying, now prove it to us, the people who pay your salary, that they are wrong.


    September 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Grow up McCain. You guys are whining like little kids. You are suffering a mental recession. Nobody is picking on you. They are simply not buying into your propaganda anymore. Your word is no longer taken at face value.

    Your credibility is poor, so everyone fact checks your claims. And they report the results. Camp McCain frequently makes misleading and false claims. Camp Obama is guilty, too. But, you guys are off the charts. Suck it up.

    September 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. McLiar

    boo hoo, when behind lie or throw blame. typical

    September 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  25. Crybaby Repugs

    Here's an idea, GOP. Stop walling off your campaign against everyone who casts any doubt on your actions and choices? How about being honest with us and show us the evidence to the contrary?

    By declaring war with people who buy their ink by the barrell, all you're doing is accelerating your demise. Yes, there are the 27% of us who STILL say Bush is doing a good job – you can count on those few believing whatever you're selling 24/7. But the rest of the American people are smarter than that.

    September 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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