September 24th, 2008
10:56 AM ET
6 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. J L

    JUST- ANSWER – THE – QUESTION – RICK – DAVIS – ARE – YOU – STILL – A – PAID – LOBBYIST – OR – NOT!!

    STOP – TRYING – TO – DEFLECT – AND – DISTRACT!!!

    THAT – ONLY – WORKS – FOR – THE- GLENN – BECK – BOOT – LICKERS!!

    September 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. Mike

    How very Republican. Cover it up, lie about it, refuse to answer questions and subpoenas and if that doesn't work, just blame it all on somebody else. I can't for President Obama to start cleaning this crap up.

    September 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. Neocon

    It sounds like McCain is trying desperately to find an ideological niche that it can defend since the Republican Party is failing.

    September 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  4. faye, NV

    Palin/McCain are angry that they are being "called out on their lies". We the people have a right to know about each Rep/Dem that is running for the highest office.

    So they should not throw a rock and hid their hands.

    September 24, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. Rob

    the NYT did not accuse Davis of lobbying just that the firm he owns has been receiving these payments. His firm receives this payment for future obligations due to his closeness to McCain. So it's a bit of a sleeper deal in that should McCain be successful Davis then would have his ear. It's still the old boys club the way of Washington and influence peddling which McCain is now defending quite forcefully. This is exactly the kind of politics Obama is running against and for good reason.

    September 24, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. Carol

    Um, no, Rick... you're a crook and McCrypt's whole campaign is a crock of lies.

    September 24, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  7. katiec

    The New York Times is doing the job all media/ap should
    be doing. Thank goodness we can rely on at least one
    newspaper to expose the truth, as Mccain gets a free
    ride from most.
    As long as cable, reporters, commentators remain in
    Mccains camp we cannot expect fair and trustworthy
    reporting.
    Their problem is, we are not stupid and can see through
    their bias.

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

    This is how the GOP works. They throw these allegations around about the "liberal media" to make them gun-shy about reporting on the negative GOP news. For example, last Friday, the Wall Street Journal derided McCain for his response to the economic crisis. This was a major story, but CBS evening news never mentioned it! This is due to the GOP crying about every negative, but true, story about republicans. Whenever the media starts showing some backbone, the GOP just tries to break it again.

    September 24, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. Scott Tucson

    And Obama has a former Freddy/Mac CEO on his capaign staff that help picked Joe Biden so what? Both sides has questionable staff advisors. We just don't need an Obama administration that may seek advice from the likes of William Ayers, Rev Wright, Oprah ect.

    September 24, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. Voter

    Now, this is really dumb.

    We are talking about the New York Times, perhaps the most respected news organization in the Entire World.

    Currently, the NYT is on the case of Charles Rangel – talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

    Last time I looked, Charlie R. was the Dean of the New York delegation. A record in Congress of bringing home the bacon for New Yorkers that is second to none.

    And he is black.

    None of this is causing the NYT even a moment of lost sleep in their pursuit of "truth."

    Do you REALLY think Obama is beyond reproach in their eyes? Go back and read a few older columns. And p.s., they endorsed Clinton over Obama in the New York primary.

    Do you REALLY think McCain is a "victim" here?

    Get Real!

    September 24, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. Jim

    When you can't denty the truth of the allegations, attack the messenger. It's a time-honored Republican tactic.

    We won't get fooled again.

    September 24, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. Sara not for Sarah

    Just goes to show that the ethics and morals values are coming home to roost for the McBush campaign. They started this nasty fight – now they must reap what has been sown.

    September 24, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  13. Loud & Proud Leftie

    Noah, your ark (complete with all of your right friends and other reptiles) is sailing-be on it!

    John McCain campaign manager Rick Davis skips lunch with reporters
    By Lynn Sweet on September 24, 2008 8:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)
    WASHINGTON–John McCain campaign manager Rick Davis–under the spotlight because of his work for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–is skipping a Wednesday lunch with reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.

    On Tuesday, word came that McCain political director Mike DuHaime will substitute for Davis because he is "heading out on the trail" today.

    September 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  14. Joe

    All you people bashing the NYTimes need to go actually read their articles. They're much more in-depth and better referenced than the vast majority of other newspapers. Most, but not all of it, is great journalism.

    Rick Davis is just upset that reality has a liberal bias.

    September 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  15. David

    Lots of complaining from the McCain camp ... but no denial about the factual information in the NY Times story.

    Sounds like McCain's campaign is trying to change the conversation.

    September 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  16. Lies Before Country = Anna Nicole Smith (Lie-a-day Palin) & E. Pierce Marshall (Inane McCain)

    Looks like McCain's campaign needs a diaper change like the candidate himself. Good thing Palin on boord with all her diaper changing "experience".

    September 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  17. biff

    I guess the Times "won't" be invited to the next Bar-b-que in Sedona, huh?

    September 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  18. Mike from Calgary

    WHY HASN'T McCAIN ADDRESSED THIS ISSUE DIRECTLY! LET'S HEAR DIRECTLY FROM McCAIN AND FROM RICK DAVIS!

    WE HEARD YESTERDAY THAT McCAIN WOULD ONLY MEET WITH COMMUNICATIONS COMPANIES WHO RETAINED AND PAID MONEY TO RICK DAVIS.

    McCAIN AND RICK DAVIS CONSPIRED TO INFLUENCE PEDDLE! VERY SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS THAT McCAIN AND RICK DAVIS HAVE NOT DENIED. WHY NOT .... ARE THEY BEING INVESTIGATED, AS IS PALIN FOR USING GOVERNMENT POWERS FOR AN IMPROPER PURPOSE!

    LET'S HEAR FROM JOHN McCAIN AND RICK DAVIS ABOUT THIS ARRANGEMENT! THEIR SILENCE IS DEAFENING!

    September 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. Rita

    to: voice in VA

    Like I am really going to go to a commentary or evidence produced by Glenn Beck to prove that Bush is not to blame for this mess. He is not a credible source to base any information on. He's just another conservative commentator who gives his opinion on everything and I wouldn't take his word for anything any more than I would Sean Hannity. Get an objective source.

    September 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Bill in CA

    Hey CNN, why not grow a pair and actually report on the story instead of the coverage of the story?

    September 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. James

    shoot the messenger but don't dispute the charges.

    laughable.

    it's like i'm not getting that money! my brother is.

    what a crock.

    September 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. Walt

    What about Obama's financial advisor who once headed one of the fannie flunks?

    September 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  23. Donna

    The NYT is a newspaper...either you believe them or you don't...The National Enquirer was not considered credible but they broke the story about John Edwards and that turned out to be true!!

    Just because you don't like the messenger doesn't mean they are lying on you..Rick Davis is an idiot and is mad because he and McCane are directly tied to lobbyists...funny he didn't dispute the DETAILS of the story....

    September 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  24. Neocon

    It sounds like the McCain campaign is trying desperately to find an ideological niche since the Republican Party is failing.

    September 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. Vic

    Well, thank goodness Rick Davis is not running for president! And thank goodness the mighty Democratic Congress, in power for the past two years. One of these two needs more attention in determining who really is responsible for getting us into this mess, and my money is on our present Congress. Remember voters, Bush didn't do all this damage by himself. Now is no time for inexperience.

    September 24, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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