August 20th, 2008
07:16 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama camp links McCain to Abramoff scandal


[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Obama's campaign is out with a tough new campaign ad featuring Jack Abramoff."](CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign is linking John McCain to the infamous Jack Abramoff scandal that ended several Republicans' political careers three years ago in a new campaign ad hitting Georgia airwaves Wednesday.

The 30-second spot is the Obama campaign’s second negative ad in the past 24 hours. It attacks the Arizona senator for his association with former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed, one of the Republicans implicated in the scandal.

The ad also seems to suggest McCain didn't call Reed to testify before a Senate panel he chaired in return for political favors.

“When the Senate investigated, the senator in charge never even called Reed to testify….And that senator? John McCain. And who’s now raising money for McCain’s campaign? Ralph Reed," the ad's narrator says. "For 26 years in Washington, John McCain’s played the same old games. We just can’t afford more of the same.”

The TV spot sparked a sharp rebuke from McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers, who called it "ridiculous," and noted Obama's connection to Bill Ayers, the current University of Chicago professor and one-time leader of the militant group "Weather Undeground."

“If Barack Obama wants to have a discussion about truly questionable associations, let’s start with his relationship with the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers, at whose home Obama’s political career was reportedly launched," Rogers said. "Mr. Ayers was a leader of the Weather Underground, a terrorist group responsible for countless bombings against targets including the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and numerous police stations, courthouses and banks."

Reed, who lost a bid in 2006 for lieutenant governor of Georgia, had promoted a McCain fundraiser last week in the Atlanta area that netted the presumptive Republican nominee $1.75 million in campaign cash. Though Reed did not attend the event (after intense Democratic criticisms), he circulated "special invitations" to several Republicans in the Atlanta area seeking donations.

That prompted several watchdog groups to call on McCain to cancel the event - although his campaign noted the fundraiser was sponsored by the Republican National Committee, not Reed.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Extra • John McCain
soundoff (599 Responses)
  1. Last Honest Man

    Gloves off. Start listing all the Big O's buddies. Those in Jail...going to jail....or just stupid...

    August 20, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  2. Barbara - NC

    You know – I find it interesting that the hundreds of POWs that spent several more years than McCain as a POW don't have photo albums documenting their time there. How did McCain get his picture taken so much?

    Also, he broke and made propaganda messages and signed "traitor" documents after ONLY 4 days and the others NEVER DID. HE'S A TRAITOR. HE'S A LOW LIFE. HE'S A JOKE ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. NO MORE WARS, MCWARMONGER

    August 20, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  3. ry

    why does CNN also give a link to McCain adds but never Obama's ??? i feel like i am watching / checking fox news!!

    August 20, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  4. Tennessee

    Desparate Obama?

    August 21, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  5. Copperfield

    Obama needs to make an ad about the McCain townhall meeting I was at in Las Cruces today! A women claimed that "the only way to chase bin Laden to the gates of hell would be to reinstate the draft."

    McCain asnwered "I agree."

    I bet you might not be so conservative when you have to consider your son or daughter will be drafted into the military in the next few years. Oh, and before you say "It'll never happen," look at how congress pushed to Iraq; at the time plenty of us were itchy fingered and ready to go in. I'm sure it would be another situation like that.

    August 21, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  6. Military Man

    How deliciously ironic.

    Change we can believe in? I think not. Say hello to your messiah America. Obama is a career politician who uses the same old politics everyone else does. The only difference between Obama and McCain's style of politics is that McCain is surprisingly moderate with a history of reaching across bipartisan politics and working with the other side while Obama is extremely far left ... oh yeah ... and one has 26+ years of experience working as a public servant while the other has yet to complete a full term as either a state or US senator.

    Obama barely finished half his term as state senator before running for US senate. He then barely finished half his term as US senator before running for president. He effectively has about a year and a half's experience actually doing anything from a leadership standpoint ... and even then we all know how many times he didn't even vote yes/no, but present.

    Empty suit much?

    August 21, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  7. Sue in MI

    It's too bad that McCain started the mudslinging, and Obama HAS to fight back or end up like Kerry. So much for a different kind of campaign. It all makes me sick, because both of these guys are questionable leaders, and we are stuck with one of them–either we're going to draft people and keep fighting the world, while bankrupting the country (cause we can always fight a war AND lower taxes...just ask Bush) or we're going to watch someone try to dig us out of debt. I am not looking forward to the next 4 years at all.

    August 21, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  8. Barbara - NC

    HEY cnn

    You know – I find it interesting that the hundreds of POWs that spent several more years than McCain as a POW don't have photo albums documenting their time there. How did McCain get his picture taken so much?

    Also, he broke and made propaganda messages and signed "traitor" documents after ONLY 4 days and the others NEVER DID. HE'S A TRAITOR. HE'S A LOW LIFE. HE'S A JOKE ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. NO MORE WARS, MCWARMONGER

    August 21, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  9. Al

    It's real simple...sometimes you just have to fight FIRE with FIRE!
    Now that the gloves are off, Obama needs to keep them off. McCain has been in Washington for decades, theirs plenty of dirt to dig up.

    August 21, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  10. Kim

    This guy is more then like the guy that gave McCain all the soft money in Florida! Or paid someone to do it for him.
    McCain is a crook!
    He cheated on his wife,
    Left her for another woman.
    Then his mother sued her!
    Then his wife lies about meeting a religous person.
    His wife, diss her step sister.
    and the list goes on and on.
    His family is a joke!

    Time to get rid of the old and bring in the new!

    August 21, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  11. Jack

    When I saw McCain's first wife going to get the mail in the documentary on CNN lymping and waiting for 5 years for this ungrateful man, having an affair and applied for a marriage licence. He says he is a christian and pro-life. He couldn't be a good father to her children. Never talks about his adopted daughter. Family man? Hipocrate.

    August 21, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  12. Phil Newton, Murphy, OREGON


    August 21, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  13. Texun

    Why won't John McCain release his service records?

    August 21, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  14. David Peter

    As of 8-20-08 McCain wants to reinstate the draft. Look it up

    August 21, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  15. Tom Stoklosa

    McCain=Old, senile man yelling at clouds!!!!!!

    GO OBAMA!!!!!!!

    August 21, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  16. Terrance D. Bratton

    The “Revealed” documentary was a travesty of justice. I watched the McCain documentary and I was very impressed. The Obama documentary was an indictment of the man. It seemed as the FOX News network put together that two hour negative campaign advertisement. While watching McCain I felt sense of honor and patriotism but the message you brought forth for Obama was a cut throat, egomaniacal, overly ambitious BLACK man. Why? Please, for all caring people that really want change GET IT RIGHT… The McCain doc said nothing about his change of heart on just about all the positions he held previously before he became the “Front Runner” or the “Presumptive Nominee.” Please, I’m a concerned citizen and I’m very concerned about the life I help leave for my kids and their kids. Be fair and impartial.

    August 21, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  17. JP

    I'm glad to see Obama on the attack. McCain has been in attack mode since day one. As for the Ayers non – issue. Ayers is a university professor. If he was so evil, the university wouldn't have him on staff.
    MCain is the admitted liar and adulterer. We keep hearing about his so called experience, but the question is did he learn anything besides bomb bomb bomb?

    August 21, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  18. Dave, Houston, TX

    Stick it to him, Barack!!!

    Don't forget his adulterous affair with Cindy Hensley while he was still married to Carol Shepp McCain. (And if you think that Cindy was a fluke, keep in mind that her mother had an adulterous affair with Jim Hensley while he was still married to Mary Jeanne Hensley (and had a daughter named Kathleen waiting at home.))

    The Keating Five Affair is still good red meat.

    New reports are starting to surface that McCain did some things as a POW that we not all that brave and honorable. I hope T. Boone Pickens will put up $3 million to find out the "truth" about the story of the candidate who claims to be a hero.

    August 21, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  19. Johnny V

    Yep, time to take the gloves off Barack. I admire you for trying to take the high road for so long, but now it's crunch time. This kind of down and dirty politics is the only thing Republicans (and a large proportion of the ignorant and uninformed voting populace) understand.

    August 21, 2008 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  20. Capsaicin

    The Ayers connection is small potatoes and ancient news, whereas McCain's connection to Reed and Abramoff shows he is part of the widespread Republican corruption that has tarnished the United States of America over the past 8 years, and is continuing even now under Bush and Cheney as their administration stonewalls and shreds documents.

    August 21, 2008 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  21. Brian MacDougall

    There are so many skeletons in McCain's closest, but let's start with the freshest: I want to see McCain answer some questions on the role of Randy Scheunemann in his employ as foreign affairs advisor at the same time that Scheunemann's lobbying firm is taking money ($200,000) from Georgia as a lobbyist, along with Karl Rove showing up in Eastern Europe right alongside Condi Rice last week. Something about McCain's leveraging this whole Georgia thing absolutely STINKS, and it makes any tenuous connections Obama had with Ayers et al, small potatoes. Wake up, people!

    August 21, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  22. Republican for Obama

    It is about time that McCain's big pile of dirty laundry starts to come out. Let's talk about his first marriage. He cannot be trusted to keep the most sacred vows that a man takes in life let alone be president!!!!!!! He CHEATED on his first wife for a much younger, rich lady. He tore his family apart for his own selfish desires. His kids were so hurt that they did not talk to him for several years. He is a phony who is trying to fool people with his empty talk about values and religion. Or how about the fact that McCain sponsored a bill to give AMNESTY TO ILLEGALS! People just need to look below the surface to see what a slimy politician that he is. He is just sying what his lobbyist campaign managers tell him to say. He has a long history and it is just starting to come out. America will get to know the real McCain when this is over and not many people are going to like what they see, Bring it on!

    August 21, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  23. Anthony

    I am not rich but I can afford another four years of Bush. It is sad to say that I know most of the people that support McCain cannot afford to have him in the Whitehouse. I can say that can only help those that are will to help themselves and it just does not seem like these people get it. If you think that McCain will be a better Commander and Chief think again. He is part of the reason that we are stuck in a war that we should have never started. He is talking trash to Georgia but they are laughing because they know that our hands are tied and there is not a thing that we can do. We have no military force, no economic force and no creditability. Talk is cheap and we have no way of backing it up. All of you young republicans get ready for the draft. I will be waiting on you. You cannot have war without service members and you are up next. We will take you old ones also. I will teach you how to be Army Strong and show you were your tax dollars are really going.

    August 21, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  24. Devin

    Richard – "Go out and buy some Budweiser and put some more cash in his pockets."

    And that cash comes from American wallets, even though the company is no longer American. As is typical when the Republicans mismanage things, Anheuser Busch was allowed to be bought by InBev, a Belgian corporation. Just another fine example of how the Republicans handle 'trade', I guess. They allow our jobs and our American iconic companies to go overseas.

    Although I must admit you may be right; I'll bet that Cindy still gets paid no matter what.

    August 21, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
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