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. blaising

    Rick Davis is another one of McCreep's LIARS!!

    Stay as far away as you can, dear Americans, from this McCain mess...IT SMELLS BAD!!

    September 24, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. Alaobama

    The problem THE BUSH AMDINISTRATION did nothing about it...Who cares if they warned for 20 yrs...THEY DID NOTHING

    September 24, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Beverly, NYC

    Rick, I noticed you are not denying that your firm received the $15,000 a month. Since Freddie Mac was just being generous and your firm was not performing services on their behalf will you be giving the funds back? I can provide my address if you need someone to take it off your hands!

    September 24, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. john

    The reason McCain is always pounding something – a lecturn, podium or the iar – is because fisting hides his dirt encrusted hands from lobbyist money or shaking their hands, and dirty nails from pawing and digging through the dirt. What a maverick hahaha words are supposed to have Bush buddies Karzai tried to explain to Palin

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


    September 24, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Kaye- Jacksonville FL

    Rick Davis = Washington Scumbag: How stupid does this guy think we are?? 40+ days and counting until the McCain campaign wakes up and realizes we're not that stupid at all. McCain, Palin, Davis, Black – the whole slimy entourage that is the Republican ticket just totally disgusts me...

    They will not win on November 4 – forget these polls, Democrats are going to win and send the Bush, Cheney, Rove legacy right out of Washington.

    Shame on John McCain – he sold his soul to the devil.

    September 24, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Ken in Dallas

    "Why aren't they reporting about Obama himself being on the take from Fannie and Freddie!"

    Can we be serious here? The support Obama received was from rank and file employees of Fannie and Freddie; it was McCain that took the big contributions from Fannie and Freddie management, the ones who were in actual control of the daily skullduggery.

    A very transparent example of the "You're one too" defense the McCain campaign trots out when they get caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

    September 24, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. Becky

    How Rovian of a response.

    September 24, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. J roll

    Mccain is supported by former lobbyist and they are former but do you really believe they would want to change something that made them very rich? The only thing Mccain is going to shake up is more money out of our pockets because were already upside down in this economy. Do you really believe they had a change of heart to better us. Think about it Mcaain could have put up a diverse team of experts, yet he chose his senior staff with seven seasoned( and i'll be fair) former lobbyist. 1,2, maybe 3 but 7!!! C'mon who is he fooling. All they do is try to smooth talk legislation and it was never to benefit the american people. All they talk about is Obama. I'm independent leaning OBama because Mccain says nothing concrete Palin says nothing because she's on lock down. I never met a candidate who didn't speak to press with infrequency. I don't know her. I think's not liking what the republicans look like now. So chaulk up one and maybe two more O&B.

    September 24, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Jacorey

    This is for the Idiots who keep asking why isn't it being reported about Obama taking money from Frannie and Freddie, because if they did they would have to explain that the money he got from frannie And Freddie came in the form of campaign contributions for its employees. you know working people like us. Then they also would have to explain that Mccain actually took more from Fannie and Freddie. only difference is that the money he recieved came from the shareholders, Board of Directors and the Lobbyist. So yeah they could report that it they chose too but it would hurt McCain more than Obama

    September 24, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Vinson

    McCain Aide:



    Awwww, poor baby..........

    September 24, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Gee, if the press were such biased people, why did John McCain call the press "his base"? Why didn't he kick them off the Straight Talk Express years ago when he saw that they didn't put "country first."

    Seems to me, McCain was loving it when the press thought he could do no wrong. Now that they've begun to open their eyes, he's ready to throw them under the Straight Talk Express.

    September 24, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  13. Working the refs

    The only thing "in the tank" is what's left of the Palin/McCain campaign's chances.

    Oh, and somebody said Faux News was the most impartial? Puhleeeze.

    September 24, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. Mike

    Obama is a socialist...

    September 24, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. David Goldman for OBAMA









    September 24, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Joe PA


    September 24, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  17. Aviate

    Glad to see so many Republicans on here still adhering to the Gipper's wisdom, "facts are stupid things." Of course, that's how we got into the Iraq mess and the current Wall St. debacle, because the GOP thumbed its nose at "the reality-based community" and decided reality was whatever it wanted it to be.

    If the NYT is such a propaganda organization, then why has the McCain campaign repeatedly cited it in its political attacks? And whom did the Times endorse in the GOP primary? Wait for it...John McCain.

    Now that the house of cards and web of lies are simultaneously coming apart at the seams, all that's left is to attack the messenger. Let's not forget folks, that it was McCain who attacked Obama for supposedly having ties to a former Fannie Mae exec who turns out not to have been an Obama adviser (oh, wait, maybe the Washington Post is in the tank, too). Then it turns out his own campaign manager and transition guru have been getting payoffs for years from the mortgage lenders? The McCain hypocrisy stinks as much as the mess on Wall St and people are starting to notice the stench!

    September 24, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. Dave

    Both sides have some people that did benefit or are still benefiting from mortgage companies. Good grief, Obama's point man for his VP search had to step down because of his connections with Countrywide (if you really believe he stepped down....yeah right...wink wink!). Thes people are all connected to the money. If you think otherwise, then you're getting jobbed. The two-party system is a sham.

    September 24, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. Linda from Prescott AZ

    Cry me a river!

    September 24, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  20. will

    Bill S190 in the Senate in 2005, noted that this is not reported in the major news, I suggest it be researched a little to see who's really in bed in Fannie and Freddie.

    September 24, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  21. David

    You can fool some of the people all of the time, you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Abraham Lincoln said that and he knew a little something about politics and life and honesty and truth and integrity. And he truly put Country first. McCain/Palin are a disgrace to the legacy of the Republican Party.

    September 24, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. Helene

    Attacking the New York Times is a sign of how desperate the McPain campaign has become.

    September 24, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. Mary (Texas)

    Voting for OBAMA is like playing the lotto – you will NEVER win with him in office......


    September 24, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  24. Typical White Person

    Wasp Member – Great Idea! But you need to ask them why they are not investigating Obama since he is the one who was pressing the Iraqis to push out the timeline so he could get credit for bringing the troops home after he won the election.

    Conceit with deceit...

    September 24, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. Anonymous

    I can't believe all of the Republicans in this country who keep burying their heads in the sand and they continue to believe all the lies that the McShame camp keeps telling...................His whole campaigne is based on distorted truths and loaded with fraud....Hooray to the NYT and Newsweek for bringing this information out in the open..........McShame is a timebomb waiting to EXPLODE........we need change not more of the same

    Vote Obama/Biden on November 4, 2008

    September 24, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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