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. Colorado for Obama

    It has come to this? I can not believe how low McCain and his advisers will go. They are airing an ad in Colorado every few minutes which alleges Obama was responsible via his connections for the Fannie Mae/ Freddie Mac debacle despite several of the connections alleged being disproved. Now that the New York Times has uncovered a real McCain connection and McCain's team is alleging the New York Times is a working to undermine McCain. Please, McCain can do that all by himself!

    September 24, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. jim

    if people don't understand EVEN AT THIS POINT that the republicans are not out to help you, then there is really no point for them to read articles in the new york times. if folks are still sticking to the republican ticket, as it's CLEAR that the republican platform is to help only the top 5% of this nation, then no article will ever sway that voter to another candidate. this is just complaining on the part of a terrible campaign's staffer. the nytimes is writing the truth, which is uglier than mccain's 72 yr old rear end. mccain has supported deregulation for DECADES. that's what we're seeing today. the result of failed republican policy to enhance deregulation and stuffing the wallets of the top 5% with golden parachutes. wake up america. vote obama.

    September 24, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. The Media is the Enemy

    CNN WHY ARE YOU NOT REPORTING THAT McCAIN'S CAMPAIGN MANAGER WAS TAKING 15 GRAND A MONTH FROM FREDDIE MAC AND FANNY MAY UP UNTIL LAST MONTH! ALL THE WHILE McCAIN WAS SAYING HE WAS NOT. LIAR! CNN DO YOUR JOB! PRETEND IT WAS OBAMA CAUGHT IN THIS HUGE SCANDAL AND REPORT IT! McCAIN TELLS SO MANY LIES BECAUSE KNOWS THE MEDIA WILL GLOSS OVER THEM AND INSTEAD TALK ABOUT SARAH PALIN'S POPULARITY. I CAN'T WAIT TIL THIS ELECTION IS OVER SO I CAN STOP WATCHING CABLE NEWS FOREVER!

    September 24, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. MD

    Gotcha Davis!

    September 24, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. Dash Riprock

    Someone please give this man a pacifier.

    He sounds like a colicky baby, sans binky. The whole McCain camp is fast becoming a campaign of whiners- What happened to the cowboy war hero tough guy?

    September 24, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. Bulldog

    The GOP Strategy is nothing new: Bash the media as much as possilbe in hopes they will back off on uncovering the truth. George Bush I and II did it, Ronald Reagan did it. Blame it all on the media so when the media digs up facts about you or uncovers your scandalous activities you can call them names and hope the American people will fall for it.

    They have done it every election cycle for the last 3 decades. When are people going to finally wake up?

    September 24, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. nleblanc

    I know now why I watch FOX news 95% of the time

    September 24, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. Mike - Texas

    I think that it is time for the American people to SUE for journalistic MALPRACTICE against companies like;

    Time
    MSNBC
    NBC
    CNN
    ABC
    CBS

    because they are all in the tank for Obama. Just look at how he is being covered / not covered. and when.

    September 24, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. Tired

    And Fox News is an advocacy group for the Right. Take a look at news organizations in other countries, there are always left leaning and right leaning outlets. There is no such thing as "objective" journalism anywhere.

    Obama is not whining about the slanted Fox coverage. McCain should stop being a little cry baby and take what the Leftist media has to say about him.

    September 24, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    oh BOO HOO... and Fox news is an arm of the GOP.... big deal

    September 24, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. LI Democrat

    Here's an idea for the McCain camp: Stop lying, and then the Times will stop reporting that you're lying. It's really simple.

    OBAMA-BIDEN '08

    September 24, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. Ken in Dallas

    I note that the McCain campaign's comments very carefully avoid the claim that the Times report is factually inaccurate. They impugn the Times' objectivity, yet refrain from accusing them of falsifying the facts of the report. They attack the press without actually defending Davis.

    Curious how they're not exactly denying anything about Davis, isn't it?

    September 24, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. Ex-mod-GOP for Obama

    Sorry, McCain camp, but you can't blame the media for the mess you put yourselves in.

    September 24, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. Frank

    Rick Davis was on Fannie's payroll until just a month ago! McCain lied about it and so did this little weasel Rick Davis.

    September 24, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. Independent for Obama

    SHOCK: FREDDIE MAC PAID MCCAIN CAMPAIGN MANAGER'S FIRM THROUGH LAST MONTH!

    September 24, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  16. Nick - Arlington, VA

    ENOUGH

    No more of this garbage.

    OBAMA-BIDEN 2008

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

    what is the difference between investigating this allegation as opposed to investigating everyone Obama has ever spoken to in his lifetime?

    September 24, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  18. BRIDGE & ROAD TO NO WHERE

    A Voice in VA September 24th, 2008 10:58 am ET

    TOO LATE, AND AGAIN THIS MORNING I WAS PRAYING BUSH BE IMPEACHED.

    September 24, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  19. JO-ANN

    @ NOAH...

    OBAMA STILL WON THE PRIMARIES AFTER THE WRIGHT, AYERS, REZCO NEWS...THIS IS OLD NEWS...YOU PEOPLE HAVE TO KEEP BRINGING UP THIS OLD NEWS CAUSE YOU GOT NOTHING ELSE AGAINST OBAMA....IT'S NOT GONNA TO WORK THIS TIME OR DID IT STOP OBAMA FROM BECOMING THE NOMINEE....SO PLEASE LET IT GO.....DON'T BE A HATER BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING ELSE YOU PEOPLE GOT AGAINST OBAMA.....BUT MCCAIN & PALIN...NOW THEY HAVE DINOSAUR BONES IN THEIR CLOSETS....LOL

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

    John McCain: Government of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists, for the lobbyists... Shame on you! Who is the reformer now? Who is the "real" maverick now? Who is the elitist now? Shame on you...

    September 24, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  21. Phil, Ashburn, VA

    Liars.. I can't believe McShame is still in this race.

    September 24, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. W Spivey Merritt Island, FL

    Davis needs a Rosetta Stone course in "Truth and Diplomacy"

    September 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. Gina

    Sorry, but Mary is sadlly mistaken if she thinks FOX news is fair. Only an anti-Obama person could possibly think this!

    September 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  24. Joseph

    Time and again McCain has shown POOR JUDGEMENT. Be it selecting people for his campaign team or calling for invasion of Iraq or calling for De-Regulation in the financial industry, McCain has shown poor judgement.
    McCain boasts about his foreign policy experience, but, recently he had confused Shia-Sunni and Iran-AlQaida equations in a speech during his last visit (photo op) to MiddleEast.
    If after US Army being 7 years in Iraq and McCain being 26 years in Washington does not understand this basic equations in the MiddleEast, what kind of Judgement he will bring to the White House. For sure, it will be a DISASTER to have McCain in the White House.

    September 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  25. Liza

    You guys defending McCain are really dense.... What about Keating 5? doesn't this tell you anything
    WHY on earth would you want him and a woman who knows nothing about international politics in the white houe? are you masochistic?

    This whole Ayers Rezco thing has been played and overplayed, the swiftboaters are texas billionaires, don't you see why they do not want "business as usual" to change, they will not make their huge huge absolutely ridiculous amounts of money.

    You guys supported Bush and the war and now look.
    you want to say Barak Obama is arab , a white hater, it is so silly.
    look at Palin and her church she thinks the world will end and Alaska is the chosen place for the saved....what is that about? I do not want her anywhere near the white house and decisions about war and the world.

    Please adjust yourself and stubborn position and realize we have the chance to have (FINALLY) a good president who is the only one who can clean up 8 years of a mess of lies.

    PLEASE VOTE SMART>>

    September 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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