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. Phil in KC

    I'm a Democrat and currently an Obama supporter. But I think that ad is a bit of a stretch. McCain is linked to Reed and Reed is linked to Abramoff, therefore McCain is linked to Abramoff? I'm not sure the American public will buy off on that.
    BUT – I think an ad reminding the public of the Keating 5 and McCain's link to them is entirely fair.

    August 21, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  2. Mccain=Warmonger

    GO Obama hit this sleaze ball with every thing you got i am sending more money right now we can not afford another Bush!

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

    Go Obama. Get down and dirty and show the world what a nasty crook McCain is. The republicans are going to play their dirty tricks. Got to hit them right back!!!

    August 21, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  4. CNN is biased

    Why is it that the comments always start with some lie from a McCain supporter, this whole your comments are being moderated is BS. And when the comments are all negative for McCain, CNN closes comments early, yet when the comments are about Obama, they CNN doesn't close until you have hundreds of comments and many of them are obviously racist, so what is the BS about moderating comments about. Who is accountable....what about the unbiased reporting..from CNN?? yeah right. Lets see if they let this get posted?

    August 21, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  5. Chris, NJ

    I'm pretty sure that 9/10 senators in congress at some point in time dealt with abramoff.. If I recall correctly there were also a few democrats who got in trouble because of him. The American public won't remember this though, nor will they remember Keating, because the publics memory lasts about 6 months and than all is forgotten. If I remember right though, Obama said less than 6 months ago that he had traveled to 57 states.. boy will everyone remember that one.

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

    This how you go on the offensive against these guys, pull them out in the open,shine a light on them and expose them. Continue on the offensive on these crooks. This is not what they want uncovered,and there's plenty more there. It's called corruption. rob. texas

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

    About time the gloves were taken off! Although it seems that McCain will do himself in by selecting a pro-choice VP thereby distancing himself from the far right, he has to tow the line or else and from what we've heard he often refuses to "tow" the line throughout his career and personal life. I seriously doubt they (republicans) will rally behind McCain if he doesn't choose a social conservative and thank goodness for the rest of us. We need a president not a "spiritual leader" like the social conservatives want.

    Obama 08'

    August 21, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  8. STL-Veteran

    All of this stuff is old news I'm more concerned about the fact that McCain want's to bring back the DRAFT!!!! Now that is something to talk about.

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

    It's about time Obama! Just talk about the facts and we will see who has more skeletons in the closet.

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

    hmmmm .. attack ads from Obama .. I don't quite know what to think of that ... 'the end justifies the means' maybe? Seems to be his style.

    August 21, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  11. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Jackie A in the Boris Badanov fedora! He's the gift that keeps on giving! Give me a Keating high-Five!

    August 21, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  12. Dave

    There is more danger of McCain's continuing to be involved in sleazy deals like letting lobbyists run his office and campaign, letting them write his legislation, more involvement in such sleaze as the Keating 5 and Abrahamoff and other immoral garbage than there is of Professor Bill Ayers ever being involved again in terrorism. McSame's campaign's comments are is McSlime's campagn. Get away, wrinkly old man

    August 21, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  13. CC Reston VA

    How is this a negative ad? Barry better get his game on this is no negative ad. McCain is a political crook dealing with Reed as an experienced US Senator I expected more decency from him, Barry is only telling the truth and remember the DNC and most watchdogs had to put pressure on McCain that is why Reed did not attend but still played the game behind the curtain. This is outrageous and Americans deserve what they get from McCain if this warmonger gets into the office.

    Get ready to be drafted to fight his wars! And you guys think Bush II was bad? You ain't seen nothing yet. I dare Americans to vote in McCain because our economy will go down and we might as well be fighting those wars. I already have dual citizenship with Canada and I'm moving to Maine if we elect McCain because as soon as the bill for reinstating the draft comes up I'll be in Canada. You guys are crazy and that's what illiteracy does it kills ya.

    August 21, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  14. SIMP

    This is just the beginning, there are so many skeltons in mc ole timers closet the door won't close. I'm sure Obama's camp has stuff on this so called maverick LOL now is the time to use it

    Obama hasn't used it because that's not the campaign he wants to run, but you can kick a dog for so long before he will bite you, now old gray haired dude, you better watch out, Obama's hounds are going to sink you and you loud mouth spokesman rogers.


    August 21, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  15. bill from pa

    Ahh, let the mud slinging commence. I can't wait until this nonsense is over. Two years for a presidential campaign is more than to much.

    August 21, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  16. mccainisNOTpresidential

    First to nan, where is ANY proof Senator Obama accepted illegal contributions from Palestine? As usual, I suspect it is an outright LIE taken straight from your keepers Limbaugh and Hannity. I would also like to know how people can not see that McCain is EXACTLY more of the same and will do the country NO good. Also, CNN why aren't you reporting where McCain told a supporter that he does not disagree with her when she said we would need the DRAFT to do all the things he wants to do militarily as President?

    August 21, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  17. blueken

    I was in the anti war movement back in the 60's. We didn't call ourselves terrorists we called ourselves patriots. The government said that if we didn't invest our blood and treasure into South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand would become communist. We didn't believe a word of it. We pulled out and nothing happened. Who was right? You tell me. It is a myth that the majority of anti war protesters abused returning military people. I know I had a few sleeping on my couch at one time or another. If the our founding fathers had been defeated, England would have labled them traitors and terrorists.

    August 21, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  18. LAMONT

    HERE, HERE SPEIDER. That was well said. I know it is not Obama's style to go dirty, that is the position of a true Christian, but he might have to ask for forgivness.

    August 21, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  19. Mk

    Turnabout is fair play. Any McCain supporter will yell that to the rooftops and has been all through McCain's recent attacks.
    Besides, this stuff about McCain is not only true it actually happened while he was a Senator as opposed to the McCain campaign's attempt to link Obama to someone who was a bad guy when Obama was 8!!!

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

    "The 30-second spot is the Obama campaign’s second negative ad in the past 24 hours"
    lol .. looks like the Halo of the Messiah is showing signs of wear and tear .. this is change .. how?

    Mccain '08
    HRC '12

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

    Although true, I am a bit disappointed that Obama's camp went this route. I'm not a fan of these adds. But I think the real problem here is that this is the sort of thing I want the main stream media to pick up and report on, for both sides. If the media did its job, Obama wouldn't feel the need to do it for them.

    I'm so sick of the media's fear to call these politicians out when they lie or make false claims. It just seems that they're so afraid of being labeled as biased that they just report exactly what both sides say without ever setting the record straight. For example, Obama could say that the sky is brown and McCain could say it's blue. Instead of doing some research and figuring out who's right, they just report both statements as if they each have the same validity. Point in case, how long will it take to see any change in gas prices if we started off-shore drilling today? Quit letting them just make misleading statement after misleading statement and do your job.

    August 21, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  22. Tim

    McCain's response is better and accurate. He has worked to expose these types of people. When will Obama insist that the records held by the taxpayer funded University of Illinois Chicago regarding Bill Ayer's organization that Obama ran be released?

    Obama is a little leaguer

    August 21, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  23. Brian

    Wow, politics as usual. A truly typical ad by a truly typical politician after all.

    August 21, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  24. Jim

    I can't believe after 8 years, after our national debt has almost doubled with one presidency, almost half the country is for the same Bush policies, I cannot believe the ammount of idiots in our country, it's mind boggling.

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

    This accusation against McCain is lame and of little consequence. Obama will have to do much better than that to keep attention away from relationships like Rev. Wright (20 yrs of GD America), Black Liberation Theology, Rev. Pfleger, Bill Ayers and the Weathermen (homegrown terrorist), etc.. Not to mention all the inaccuracies in his book 'Dreams of my Father'. Not to mention Obama's radical policies of high tax even in a sluggish economy. Not to mention his 'don't drill it won't help' bull. I think the Dems are beginning to think 'I can't believe we will nominate this guy we didn't know.'

    August 21, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
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