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. Janelle Lenton, Tampa, FL

    I don't rely on the NYT anymore than I rely on cable news for information. They are all biased. I listen to local news casts since they do not editorialize. They report the news and let me decide how I feel. I read since I don'e have to hear the arguing from the panels they have on TV. Everyone wants the last say so you can't hear anyone. I think all media is leaning liberal this year – just hope they can live with what they get.

    September 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. Simply Put

    I was hoping by now the , "Gray Lady" would be a Spanish only publication.

    September 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. Poole4Obama

    What are you McCainanites all idiots?

    Ayers, Wright, etc? Ummmmm the Times and many other periodicals already investigated and printed months ago.

    Get your facts straight gentlemen. Hoprefully, some of you are writing McCains debate answers. HA!

    Obama 08

    September 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. j williamson

    A sure sign of nervous desperation – lashing out at the press. Grow up boys (and girls)!

    September 24, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. Joe Valles

    Such HYPOCRITS! Everyday is another lie and/or deception coming from the McCain Campaign and we want FOUR more years of this?


    September 24, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. Phil

    McCain campaign = Crooks. PERIOD.

    September 24, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. Fitzpatrick

    All news media have now confirmed this news. Mc cain= Dick cheney+Bush.

    Palin=Cheney +Rove


    September 24, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. Xavier, Saint Louis, Missouri

    The GOP is crying like a bunch of babies! After 8 years of madness, America, including the New York Times is just fed up with the Republicans and their thuggish tactics. We have had enough!


    September 24, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. John, Long Island, NY

    I used to respect John McCain, but he and his campaign have become a bunch of snivelling whiners. What a shame!

    September 24, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  10. Children of the future

    Mommy, why do Republicans hate facts so much?

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

    I guess the NY TIMES is too intellectual, too many smart people work for them, so elitist to have a brian.

    September 24, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  12. Candi

    If the Republican don't have anything to hide and is true to their words, then why are they defending everyone instead of making sure everything that the news say is true. The Repbulican have a lot to explain to the country on two key issues: 1) Sarah Palin 2) Why it is okay to put out false ads and then wait for Obama to speak on issues and they craft what he says to look like the Republicans are on target. That is so childlish and if they keep doing this then like yesterday McCain will not be able to back up is talk. This pledgarizm from the McCain camp.

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

    Its funny how we ran a soap opera about Obama, his family and everyone who knew him. And no one is even allowed to do any investigation of McCain/ Palin without it being some "liberal" can say what you want, but truth is truth...let it all come out.. Fox all but called Mrs. Obama "a baby moma" and that was ok, but you say something about that "palin" woman and its sexist. GUESS what this is politics, let the broad hold her own...let mccain be investigated...let them all be investigated..but dont start calling names because your candidate LIED and now is being called on it... Let us decide which lies or whatever matter. But you know what AMERICA I hope you can see your true selves.. this election is not about democrats vs republican...this election is about "change" vs. the same... and the undertone of that statement is the key...

    Guess what we are a nation of immagrants, which mean you pure folks..aint pure...that means in order to survive in this nation we all have to live together no one race above the other. Everybody work hard for what they want...CAN you conservatives...conservators...keep things as thet are folks handle that? Can you handle that people dont give a care no more about what people look like all they want is to live...AND WHATs so funny is that everybody see that it isnt a select few that the government will screw over...its you too...anyone to make money...SO you live with that....

    September 24, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. jfs Memhis, Tn


    Get a life dude. This has NO RELATIONSHIP to the SILLY UNIMPORTANT TRIVIA you are throwing at Obama. WE ARE GOING BANKRUPT because of your party !!!! The good ride is over my friend...the time has come to pay the piper........AND THERE IS NO MONEY !!!! Is that REV. Wright's faulty ??? Those are not issues now nor will they secure your job or home. Think as American ...

    September 24, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. Tara

    Ok I will conscede the point that the NYTimes does lean liberal and is not always objective. However. the story is still TRUE!!! and as far as Obama I get the NYTimes at home. and they reported plenty on Rev Wright. However when it comes to Ayers and Acorn their really isn't much there. And Alan comes made a very good point last night on Fox (Fix)News He said that some high profile Republicans who support McCain were on the same committee that everyone uses to link Obama to Ayers... so does that make McCain a radical. Come on people stop with the silly. I think that the NY TIMEs actually dropped the ball for McCain during the Rev. Wright stuff because they did very little reported on McCain's Pastor Problems.

    September 24, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  16. Independent-Latina-for-OBAMA

    AND WHAT WOULD YOU CALL...........FAUX (FOX) NEWS???????????





    September 24, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  17. Cindy

    McCain's campaign now is saying that Sarah's investigation is "CONFIDENTIAL"- Yeah of course, we're not surprised - His choice of Sarah only shows us one thing about Mccain, complete lack of JUDGEMENT!!!!

    September 24, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  18. dana B

    The only thing that matters is whether the allegation is true. The McCain camp should stop with the constant spin. It is becoming monotonous and it is unbecoming of a presidential candidate. John McCain, the maverick, where have you gone?

    September 24, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. Shirley-Ohio

    Lobbyists will run McCain's office if he elected and this will be a huge misstake not only for us but for our children and our grandchildren. I know I cannot be responsible for picking McCain as president and being responsible for messing up my children and grandchildren's future.

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

    You guys have no clue what you are about to do trying to vote for McCain! I am an Obama supporter but I will rather vote for 8 more years of Bush than vote McCain in. Are fellow Americans crazy? The difference between Bush and McCain is that John thinks he knows it all and is insane. Bush as a cowboy will shoot first and ask questions later to his advisers, McCain will shoot first and ask "Why are Americans asking me why I shot, I shot because I shot end of story". Look at McCain's track history of saying crazy things and then back-tracking and imagine if it was war because you don't get second chances to back-track and backtracking isn't McCain MO when he feels he has all the POWER.

    Please HELP! Please HELP! If we ever elect McCain the republican party will no longer exist or have the guts to talk about winning the Presidency for the next 50 years and they know it and rightly don't trust McCain.

    September 24, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |


    OBAMA 08

    September 24, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. Don Gregory

    Investigations! Investigations! Investigations!

    So much to investigate these days, including the Joe Leiberman's playing John McCain's sidekick with the aim of translating a McCain victory into a continuing military presence in Iraq. Now that's scary!!

    September 24, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. Debby

    The NYT and Huffington Post are liberal rags and have put out false information before on McCAin himself never mind an advisor. I wouldn't put a grain of salt into what they have in print.

    September 24, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. Poole4Obama

    And yes,

    Before you 250,000 a year elitists start condemning the Times, check Fox News... it's McCain-Fox News.

    And didn't a recent reporter refer to Obama as a thug because he gave his wife a "pound" fist bump?

    I guess it sucks being on the receiving end, The Obama campaign has been there for over a year.

    Welcome to the club GOP. I know you're not used to it.

    September 24, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. The COSMOS and McCain ROCKS

    »The GREAT man John McCain will WIN,of course. And the WONDERFUL Sarah Palin will be our next Vice-President. YES.

    September 24, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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