August 21st, 2008
09:50 AM 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 • John McCain
soundoff (594 Responses)
  1. David

    Just another political campaign. Politics as usual, so much for change.

    August 21, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  2. Check your facts

    Bill Ayers is a professor at UIC, the University of Illinois at Chicago, not the University of Chicago.

    August 21, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  3. Mr. Miller

    John McCain is one of the Untouchables.. He is the God Father of Congress.

    John McCain sit on the left Hand side of Predient Bush and Dick Chaney sit on the right.

    If this man is elected the US will be in more Wars than it have money to pay for them. The US will be a ripe country for the Russia to invade.

    USSA the New Russia State thanks to John McCain

    August 21, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  4. Annoy the media, Say NO to Obama

    Face it folks, Obama is no better that the republicans. He will dig for any trash as long as he thinks it may damage McCain. So where's the so called "CHANGE" that Obama is promising. Nobody is asking Obama to change his dirty tactics (the republicans sure wont) but at least get off your high horse and admit that he's no savior but just another Washington politician. No better no worse.

    August 21, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  5. Curmudgeon

    If McCain's campaign wants to bring up stuff from the '70s and '80s (which is when Ayers was involved with the Weather Underground), I hope they're prepared to talk about McCain's starring role in the Keating Five.

    August 21, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  6. mike

    3 years ago? Way to strike while the irons hot.
    BTW, have you found a new pastor yet, Obama?

    August 21, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  7. Big Ace


    Obama was 5 when Ayers was a member of the Weather Underground. Ayers was tried and acquitted of any chargers.

    McShame served with Reed and was in charge of investigating the Abramoff scandal which Reed played an key role and McShame didn't call him to testify. NOW Reed works for McSham. And so does Phil Gramm.

    Hardly a good analogy for the McShamers. The only thing they can link Obama to Ayers is that they taught at the University together and they live in the same neighborhood and Ayers donated to Obama's campaign. The question is why would a University hire someone with Ayers as a professor with his background if he is so terrible???

    How does Obama have anything to do with Ayers actions taken while he was an infant???

    McSham, Same old Washington politician who will do and say anything to get elected.

    August 21, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  8. lovable liberal

    McCain can't avoid the thorough corruption of the Republican Party. It's everywhere he turns, including the mirror.

    August 21, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  9. check and checkmate

    I'm going for McCain, if he gets a moderate VP. His record is a hands across the isle on most social issues. He needs to show moderates like myself that he is infact not tied to the nationistic conservatives, and all the sudo religious, tribe. We get a Demo. majority in Congress to buck heads with the Repuke Pres. and we have a MODERATE state of affairs in DC. After all McCain is a one termer and Barack is the flavor of the year and also and outsider or atleast he says he is?
    That will setup a true moderate Hillary in 2012 YIPPEEE!

    McCain/Ridge 08

    Clinton 2012 😉

    August 21, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  10. Generation X

    Truth hurts, doesn't it, McCain? You've been spewing lies about Obama, even questioning his patriotism, the same tactics you chastised GWB of in your 2000 presidential run. Now, you have gone back to the same tactics in order to win the presidency. Shame on you!

    August 21, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  11. Independent voting for McCain

    This is truly a smear campaign. McCain was in the Senate Committee investigating Jack Abramoff. And that Comittee has DEMOCRATS as well as Republicans. If the committee has some proof, they would have subpoenaed Reed as well. It is ridiculous to claim John McCain somehow prevented Reed from deposition in front of the Committee. What are the Democrats in the Comittee doing then?

    If you truly want to bring down a candidate, come up with real scandals. Not insinuations and lies. Let us call Tony Rezko and discuss this over with him.

    August 21, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  12. Jason

    and yet Obama accuses McCain of the same low road tactics and promises "change," thus far in the campaign Obama, you seem just like the rest of them.

    August 21, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  13. Bill

    Good Job Obama!!! You need to do more of this kind of ad if you want to counter the Republican slime machine. The Republicans are making up a lot of stuff now to slime him. It's too back but the Republicans need to understand that if they want a clean fight they need to revise their Karl Rove playbook which they are not doing. Too bad; however, the Dems can't sit back like they did in 2004 with the 'swiftboat' attacks and let the media and the Repubs slam them. In reality this is what the media likes, it increases circulation and viewers which drives up adverstising dollars.

    August 21, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  14. xddy4u

    McCain is acting like a carnival barker that never stops to catch breath. Soliciting the crowd to come see a three headed dog (two of the heads are fake), relying on the analogy of P.T. Barnum, " a sucker is born every second". Look at the crowd at the Saddleback Forum, eating up everything barker McCain was saying. Hoping to get a chance to see the three headed dog.

    August 21, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  15. Phil, Ashburn, VA

    It's about time. McCain is getting off easy.

    August 21, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  16. Erin

    Afford more of the same? I am a professed Democrat and I do think it is funny that Obama is also contributing to "more of the same" by his negative campaigning tactics. If we are to believe that Obama is so different, maybe he should try and win Americans over by starting with his campaign tactics. This election to me already seems more of the same old politics and we have about 3 more months to go! I will not be voting for Obama! I probably will not vote for anyone! America is in dyer need of a change but these gentlemen are obviously not it!

    August 21, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  17. v.a.

    hahahahaha bout time!

    August 21, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  18. xpk

    If you're going to keep perpetuating the non-story of Obama's connection to Bill Ayers, at least take the time to get the simple facts straight. Ayers is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, not the University of Chicago. Indeed this newspaper has reported stories documenting his current standing in Chicago and beyond, which is that he is a respected leader in educational reform; even Mayor Daley has come to his defense. It would be nice to see an even semi-intelligent approach to this situation, instead of painting Ayers as akin to Osama bin Laden, Sadam Hussein, Jack Abramoff, etc. Alas, even Obama refuses to address the issue, which is a shame - he should be proud to know the man.

    August 21, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  19. Phil in Texas

    Let's go Obama!!! Let's fight this out, we DO NOT want another republican in office!!!!! YES WE CAN!!!

    August 21, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  20. Gapon

    And the more OBAMBI barks; the more the American People supports mr.MacCain.

    August 21, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  21. MD in Oklahoma

    McCain has a lot Christians fooled thinking he's a Christian. What happened to the Christian who returned from Vietnam and then dumped his injured wife for another woman?

    August 21, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  22. Andy

    Giving republicans a taste of their own medicine. Who cares if it isn't the full truth, its the Republican way of winning an election. Also McCain started the negative campaigning so he shouldn't be whining about it now. If he would of kept to the issues this never would have happened.

    August 21, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  23. sas

    Looks like McCain opened his PAndoras Box by going negative on Obama... McCain dug his own grave....

    August 21, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  24. Marc, Canada

    I watched Obama and McCain revealed on CNN and FOX news and I have to ask.



    August 21, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  25. balthus

    Obama was six years old when Ayers was in the Weather Underground. Methinks the McSame camp is looking desperate here.

    August 21, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
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