August 21st, 2008
09:50 AM ET
15 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. Kenneth F.

    Bid Daddy O may not win this one but at least we stopped the Clintons. If she would have divorced herself from Bill she might have had my support. And win or loose, he can always run again in 2012.

    August 21, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  2. Mark Ferbet, Grain Valley, Missouri

    Well, the reality is every GOP member of the Senate and Congress and possibly a few Democrats as well, are suspect when it comes to Abramhoff....

    Should it be questioned? Absolutely.

    As to the illegal Palistinian donations to Obama... that has already been debunked... didn't happen... quit making up stories....

    August 21, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  3. mike

    Change.. ha ha ha....

    Chage yourself first.. they try changing the country

    August 21, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  4. ex dem


    August 21, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  5. Mike J

    This is ridiculous. Here we go again with more Swfit Boat style nonsense from both guys. And the the sad thing is, there is no credible third party candidate who can win, not Bob Barr or Nader. I am equally tired of ALL of the candidates this time around and am not sure why I should even bother voting.

    August 21, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  6. David

    Good for Obama for coming back fighting. The Republicans have obviously taken off the gloves. I just don't kow why they don't just tell it how it is. McCain is a liar!

    "I will lower taxes and balance the budget" That's a lie.

    And P.S. to all you women voters John McCain is just like John Edwards except he left his wife and family for his mistress. Hi Cindy!! Check the dates. He lied in his book.

    Obama '08

    August 21, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  7. Shaen

    I thought Obama was supposed to be a different kind of politician. This is the same old stuff we see every year. I'm very disappointed.

    August 21, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  8. Teresa

    A politician without they exist?

    August 21, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  9. Alice in Florida

    Oh, PLEASE DO choose Caroline!!!!!!! EVEN CAROLINE is more experienced than you are!!!!! After all, JFK asked for her advice while she was living in the White House, even though she was under 7 years old at the time!

    Caroline DID cover up for her cousin's death due to a drug overdose (you CAN get that, can't you? As a "former" cocaine user, OF COURSE, you can!)

    Too bad for you that the Kennedy name nowadays conjures up images of a drowning woman, a totally foolish drunk old fat man in his shorts next to his acquited rapist nephew, dead under unusual circumstances movie stars, and even Jackie with that weird smile on her face when Ari died while Teddy Fat Boy was fighting to get Jackie's "rightful inheritence"

    Sigh.....Camelot seems so far away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Kennedy name has been tarnished beyond recognition

    There NEVER was a Camelot – it was a figment of overdrugged Jackie's imagination – JFK was banging away while Jackie spun stories, painted pictures, and rode horses and spent millions

    It was fine, though – they BOTH lived in Fantasyland!!!!!!!

    August 21, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  10. Michelle, PA

    I'm not a McCain fan, but trying to tie him directly to Abramoff is a stretch. Tying him directly to Ralph Reed is probably far more damaging outside the religious right, for those old and well-informed enough to remember his so-called "Christian Coalition" and the directly related hijacking of the Republican party and rise of the Neocons. For the rest, it may be time for a lesson in modern political history.
    Speaking of modern political hisotry, I think it's also time a whole new generation of voters should hear more about a little scandal known as the Keating 5. And when do we hear more about AdulteryGate?

    August 21, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  11. obamaton

    It now appears that the Obama campaign may have conducted covert diplomatic relations with Syria during his worldwide concert tour. Tsk, tsk; if true, that is would be what can euphemistically be called a "felony".

    August 21, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  12. Dave

    I always thought that Obama was supposed to bring change. Looks like when push comes to shove he is just another politician willing to do or say anything to get into office.

    August 21, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  13. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Way to stick to the issues Obama. Looks like you're getting desperate. You're going down messiah-boy.

    August 21, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  14. GM

    Where are McCains military records?

    Why is Gramm still with McCain's campaign?

    Where is the ad about "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran"

    The Obama campaign does not have to go negative to illustrate these issues because all three are or should be a mater of public record.

    August 21, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  15. Deb, Allentown, PA

    Angel in NV, you're right about the dream. If you think that Hillary stands a chance in 2012 if she and Bill do anything to sabotage Obama's chances and give us 4 more years of a horrible Republican administration, you're dreaming.

    All of you Hillary supporters conveniently forget that she ran her campaign $20 million in the RED. Do you think that the Republican smear machine will stand idly by and ignore that little fact? They'll crucify her for it. Wise up!

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

    Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko....
    Obama has more dirt in his short political career than McCain.
    Hopefully the American people will wake up and see thru this plastic Hollywood politician.

    Obama is all talk and no action.

    August 21, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  17. Brian

    So you can't tie Obama to Rev Wright but you can toss McCain in with Jack A., funny how things become OK when its your guy doing it. So much for the politics of hope!

    August 21, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  18. Ray

    You can tell a great ad when the opposition sends out it's flying monkeys in full force.

    August 21, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  19. Lynda, Missouri

    Preface: Yes, we all respect the fact that McCain was a POW and served his country heroically. Now for the reality check:
    At last – the light is focused on previously unmentioned McCain history. It is about time the truth comes out and the kid gloves come off. Wait for it - how dare anyone speak ill of the POW? As if that is all he's ever stood for. Oh, there is so much more to him than that.

    Now who will be "testy?"

    Lynda in St. Louis for Obama

    August 21, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  20. Denise Groves

    That is right! Attack his character and his "judgment." This man who wants to reinstigate the draft, supported the war in Iraq, and, wants a war in Georgia

    August 21, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  21. David S

    Mccain was a member of the Keating Five for Gods sake! He has always been and will always be in the pocket of big business interests.

    August 21, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  22. Elizabeth

    If the American voters vote the OLD WAR HAWK into office, they will get EXACTLY WHAT THEY DESERVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOD HELP US ALL!!!!

    August 21, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  23. tom ny

    Republicans have had wayyy more scandals than democrats...starting with Nixon.. mark foley, larry craig. . . hmm

    OBAMA 08

    August 21, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  24. OBAMA08

    I do think Obama needs to hit back on McCain's reprehensible smear and attack campaign. Show McSame for what he really is....another war-mongering, filthy rich (his trophy wife Cindy is worth over 100 million) Republican who is in the pocket of Big Oil and wants to ship all of our remaining jobs overseas, thus continuing the Bush presidency. Oh and I forgot to mention his involvement in the infamous Keating 5 scandal. McCain = Bush = destruction of the U.S.A.

    August 21, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  25. mario

    I hate to say it, but I guess the Mcsame lies and deceit have worked time for Obama and the Dems to get their hands dirty, this electin is too important. The kicker is all they have to do is replay Mccains video and sho the lies he tells.

    August 21, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
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