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. Tony

    I thought he could do it without going negative?

    I guess change was more than we could hope for.

    August 21, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. therealist

    And Obama represents CHANGE??

    August 21, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. Joyce in Florida

    And the games continue. Time to maybe think about having Hillary Clinton as our presidential nominee. She has always been the strongest candidate. Wake up people. Time is of the essence. GO HILLARY!!!!!!!

    August 21, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  4. Latino for Obama

    Yes, finally. Go get him Obama.

    And trying to link him to Bill Ayers ... LOL.

    August 21, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. Bill

    Let's also bring up the ENRON Loophole. McShame nolonger wants to talk about that that.

    August 21, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  6. Rob Kole

    Wasn't Obama eariler this week calling on McCain to stop the personal attacks and just discuss the issues? Now this ad comes out. Combine this with the flip flop on school vouchers to appease the teachers union Obama has become one of the same old politicos he wants to replace...

    If the Democrats want to win in November they had better make sure Hillary is waiting by the phone.

    August 21, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  7. John C

    So much for a "different and positive" campaign. Not even president yet and we're already disappointed

    August 21, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  8. David

    It is time Obama and the democrats realize you have to fight back and also sometimes need to through the first punch. Obama wants to change the world but first he has to get in the position so if that means doing the negative ads than that is what he needs to do. It is ashame that Hillary ( a person I respect even still) and John McCain had to resort to negative ads to beat the new guy and it is even more ashame that in America we let this type of stuff work. The truth is if you spend all your time running negative ads on someone that means you have nothing good to say about yourself. McCain realized like Hillary they could not when on merrit or issues because they have been around so long so it was their choices that got us to where we are. When companies start to go under they hire a new younger CEO to bring in fresh ideas and a new way of doing things. Yes McCain has experiance but that experiance is in doing things the wrong way. As an independent that is a ex-Navy i respect Hillary and McCain but at the age of 37 I feel it is time to go a new direction. We need someone who knows the possibility out there how can McCain speak of new technology when he does not even use email or computers. This is a technical world and the new wars need to be fought in that world not with guns and tanks. McCain if you realy put country first you should know the experiance you have has nothing to do with the experiance needed for america to compete in this world. Why go take out missles with bombs when you can simply hack in and take the lunchers off-line?

    August 21, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. Fed Up

    Speider.....Well said!

    Republicans are crazy if they think McCain's closet is clean. He's a republican and they have run this country in the ground. What makes you think he will be any different? He's won't! Anyone who's still a republican after the last eight years that we've had needs some serious medical help!

    August 21, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. Election Watcher

    Hey, Barry! Tony Rezko says hi!

    August 21, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  11. Jason

    I thought Obama wasn't resorting to "negative politics" or attack ads?

    Just another example of how Obama will do anything (wearing the flag pin, disowning a pastor he's trusted for 20 years, giving in to off shore drilling) to get votes from those that are not educated about any of the issues at hand.

    August 21, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  12. Toz

    Obama really can't win, can he? If he does not attack with negative ads, he is criticized for being too complacent. If he takes the gloves off and goes on the attack, he is criticized for going negative. John McCain has spent $31 million in negative tv ads in the last 30 days...Rove-ian politics is here to stay.

    August 21, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. NOBAMA

    Tony Rezko? Raised funds for Obama then Obama buys a partial piece of a lot. (The doctor sold the mansion to Obama for $1.65 million - $300,000 below the asking price. Rezko's wife paid full price - $625,000 - for the adjacent vacant lot. The deals closed in June 2005. Six months later, Obama paid Rezko's wife $104,500 for a strip of her land, so he could have a bigger yard.) Obama called this "boneheaded" Good judgement over the war but bad judgement over a simple land deal. ??????

    Obama is the same as the Washington regulars. Only difference Obama has been in Washington for 4 years 2 of which he has spent running for president. Yet he still aligns himself with the old Washington Kennedy support. Why is that? Thanks not Change. Just the new kid on the block trying to work above his pay grade.

    August 21, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  14. muffy


    Great comments and so true. It will be a very sad day for us if McCorrupt is elected. I am from Arizona and I shudder at the thought. What is wrong with this electorate being so myopic?

    August 21, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  15. cjr

    Let's see John squirm or get that deer in the headlights look. Or better yet throw one big fit. And then let's talk about the draft comment that he did not deny in New Mexico.!

    This person has been an opportunist all of his life. If he is elected, it will be war, war war – its all he knows. this time however, there will be a draft and thousands of young men and women will be used as cannon fodder. And McCain won't care.

    August 21, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  16. Amy

    It's about time someone reminded the American people that McCain represents the SAME OLD POLITICS! I'm tired of sending people to Washington only to have them pad their own pockets, look out for their friends, and get cozy with lobbyists. We need to shake things up in Washington. We need to change how business is done in Washington. We need someone who is there to look out for us, and that is Senator Obama.

    August 21, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  17. Kevin

    Is Obama a little jealous that McCain is up in the polls? I think so.

    Finally people are starting to see Obama for who he really is.... a politician just the same as all the others, but without the experience.

    August 21, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. TC, Fl

    Politics as usual. Where's the change Nobama???

    August 21, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  19. TB

    Ok - non story. Barack Obama is getting desperate and it shows.

    August 21, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  20. Common Sense!

    HMMMM ... Just noticed another McCain lie in his speechs. He chastises Obama for planning to "raise taxes for taxpayers".

    Obama has been very clear ... He plans to CUT taxes for the middle income and low income groups and raise taxes only for the top 1% of taxpayers. That is the group that good ole Bushy cut taxes for.

    Amazing??? that McCain did not get his facts straight. But, when has he ever?

    August 21, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  21. Clinton/McCain

    Hey Jeff O, that's CNN's mistake not McCain's. Here's the last part of McCain's statement left out of this article:

    "The question now is, will Barack Obama immediately call on the
    University of Illinois to release all of the records they are
    currently withholding to shed further light on Senator Obama's
    relationship with this unrepentant terrorist?" —McCain spokesman Brian

    August 21, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  22. Mugsy Mugilla

    Fellow called McCain,"SONGBIRD McCAIN" how fitting.

    August 21, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  23. Patriot Patrick of Houston

    'McCain Revealed' showed me that he is not presidential at all. Where were the signs of character? He was given rank and military favors because of his father – not his accomplishments. He admits to being anti-intelligence. He lacks integrity. He lies, he cheats, he panders. In his entire life I see nothing that makes him presidential material. He was shot down because he wasn't a good pilot, because he didn't apply himself in flight school (didn't have to, dad pulled strings). That DOES NOT MAKE HIM QUALIFIED TO LEAD. He's a womanizer. He's a war monger. His first wife waited for five years for his return from Hanoi. He repaid her with infidelity. He chose money over substance when it came to his new wonder he's in bed with big oil.

    August 21, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  24. An Intelligent American

    For all you McCain supporters, are you serious? Look it, you have to use your brains. Stop being such a child about this. The question is, who would be a better president. Obama has better economy plans, is better at handling foreign affairs and is a smarter individual. John McCain has NO ECONOMIC PLANS, doesn't know how to solve problems other than sending in troops, and as you already know, is a complete reject as far as his IQ is concerned. This should be treated like a Job Interview. Just because someone is old doesn't mean the will do the job better. You want to hire the guy who is going to try and fix America's problems. Not the guy who just wants to be president so he can say he was. Stop trying to mess up the US !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyone who doesn't understand this should try going back and finishing High School.

    August 21, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  25. Erik

    Too bad they both have to go negative to get the attention of so many mentally slovenly Americans.

    August 21, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
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