(CNN) - John McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis and Missouri Governor Matt Blunt accused Barack Obama of ties to ACORN, the embattled community group facing allegations of voter registration violations in several battleground states.
Governor Blunt talked about the community organization’s voting law violations in Missouri and Davis said he hoped that the press would examine ACORN’s activities “so that none of those battleground states are stolen from the campaign in this election.”
This week ACORN and Project Vote announced that their voter registration drive had been the most succeful in history with more than 1.3 million voters registered in 21 states.
As they have done with recent attempts to link Obama to Bill Ayers, the McCain campaign tried to raise questions over whether the Illinois senator was being truthful about his past association with ACORN.
Listen: Davis, Blunt on Obama, ACORN
The Missouri governor said Obama’s ties to ACORN went a long way back, to a period “before he launched his political career in the land of Bill Ayers,” and cited that in 1993 Obama acted as their lawyer on a case and ran a 1992 ran a voter registration drive and taught classes with them in the early 1990s.
When a reporter asked point-blank if the campaign was charging the Obama camp of conspiring with ACORN, Campaign manager Rick Davis said that the Democrat had given $832,000 to a front group for ACORN, and said the McCain campaign was just trying to get questions answered about his association with the group.
Asked whether McCain would address the issue in his debate with Obama, Davis demurred, saying that he hoped the media would ask the Democrat before the debate.
And asked about the angry crowds at recent events that had shouted out things like “terrorist” and “off with his head” at recent rallies, Davis said that he didn’t know who those people were, and if they were there as supporters or to disrupt the rallies.
He said while people are “incredibly frustrated” that he is “very confident that it has nothing to do with what the candidates are saying on the stump” because their red-meat rhetoric pales in comparison with Obama and Biden. Davis alleged that there were similar incident at Obama rallies but that they didn’t get the same attention that the McCain disruptions did.
The McCain campaign and the RNC also looked to emphasize Obama’s links to ACORN by releasing a web video and launching a Web site that highlights those alleged ties, and provides information about the group’s activities in a number of states likely to be battlegrounds in November.
As it has with the McCain-Palin’s effort to highlight Obama’s ties to William Ayers, the Obama campaign accused the McCain campaign of trying to distract attention away from the many issues the country is facing less than a month before Election Day.
“Today’s conference call was another effort by the McCain campaign to throw out false charges to ‘turn the page’ from the issues that matter to American families,” said Obama-Biden campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor. “Barack Obama strongly condemns voter registration fraud or any other breach of election law by any party or group. The McCain campaign’s allegations about Sen. Obama are completely transparent and false. He believes that the registration of voters at record levels is good for our democracy, and the McCain-Palin campaign’s false claims are nothing more than another dishonorable, shameful attempt to divert voters’ attention from the unprecedented challenges facing their families and our nation,” Vietor added.
Six Republicans in the House of Representatives who were all previously Secretaries of State asked Attorney General Mukasey Friday to begin an investigation into whether ACORN is engaging in voter fraud, echoing a similar request from McCain Thursday on the campaign trail. A number of congressional Republicans also urged Thursday that any federal funding to ACORN be immediately cut off.
ACORN's Las Vegas office was raided by Nevada state officials last week. CNN also recently reported about questionable voter registration applications submitted as a result of ACORN’s registration efforts in Lake County, Indiana.
Related: ACORN responds to McCain Web video