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. Kevin

    The best attack ad would talk about McCain cheating on his first wife after she got injured in a car accident. What would Focus on the Family have to say about that?

    August 21, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  2. Uncle Sam

    So much for the new style of politics. 🙁

    August 21, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  3. Sue


    Bring that up and bring it up often, Senator Obama. Stand your ground and fight McCain using whatever tactic you need to show him for who he is. And keep on telling us what You stand for, we are counting on you.

    Go Obama '08

    August 21, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  4. Poll Me

    I have previously stated that I personally wanted to see Obama run a clean, high-road campaign against McSame because Obama is much stronger on issues that matter. At that time, Obama had a 7% lead. Since then, his lead has somehow diminished (nobody ever polled me though) and the experts say it's because of McSame's negative attack ads (which he stole from Billary). Now I say to Obama, attack, attack, attack! I hate politics and I especially hate negative campaigns, but sometimes you have to level the playing the field. During the primary season, we saw Billary turn negative in the week leading up to "Super Tuesday" and I believe that ultimately led to her downfall. Although she survived, Obama turned went on the offensive and she started to cry foul play. Obama is indeed a politician and he's tougher than many people give him credit for. I'd like to see him expose McCain for what he really is. Grandpa has some nerve and it's time Obama put him in his place once and for all.

    August 21, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. BlueDogDem

    When asked whether his financial contributions to John McCain and the other four senators embroiled inthe Keating Five Savings and Loan Scandal brought him favorable treatment , Charles Keating replied "I certainly hope so"....I would love to hear McSame's explanation, wouldn't you?

    August 21, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. beevee

    It is time for Mr. Obama to take off his gloves and throw offensive punches instead of defensive punching since McCain started the perosnal attack politics. Surely there is a lot that can be criticized of McCain's personal and professional life after which the self-righteous conservative republicans may want to know before voting vor McCain.

    August 21, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. Warren

    As an undecided voter my heart sinks everytime Obama stoops to the level of the typical politician. First he broke his pledge to use public funding. Now he runs ads worthy of Karl Rove. Increasingly Obama looks more and more like the same old political hack, only without the needed experience to govern.

    August 21, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. Elaine

    I agree with Dylan in Los Angeles....

    Obama needs to toughen up if he hopes to win this election. The McCain camp picks apart speeches made by Obama on a daily basis in the hopes of using his own words against him and it's working. In addition, McCain is incorporating the Clinton playbook in their attacks as well.

    While Obama pledges to run a clean campaign, and most folks admire him for that, he needs to start hitting back and hit back hard. Yesterday, McCain agreed with a woman that we should think about re-instating the Draft.

    This is great ammo for the Obama campaign to use again McCain. Hit this point hard to parents of Draft age children. If it were Obama who agreed with this woman yesterday, the McCain camp would have been all over it already.

    The days of playing nice is over. The only people who seem to be aware of that fact is the McCain Camp. Look how well it's working for them.

    August 21, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  9. ATLian

    And when was the last time William Ayers blew something up? Please. Next! And by the way the "unrepentent terrorist" (thanks Hannity) did not make those supposed comments on 9/11. The article was PRINTED on 9/11 so the interview was done PRIOR to that date. Plus those were the REPORTER'S words and we all know how accurate they can be!

    August 21, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  10. angie

    FINALLY! Obama attacked back. McCain has based his campaign on slamming Obama's character and little to improve our nation. If (only if) he becomes president, will he focus on our nation or on what Obama will do next?

    August 21, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. wilma

    Obama should not go down this path. His campaign is opening the door for the likes' of Ayers, an unrepentant terrorist. Obama's past relationships with some of these questionable people will provide a lot of material for ugly ads. This door was better left closed!

    August 21, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  12. just thinking

    so let me get this right... Bill Ayers is a professor at a U.S accredited college where is teachers America's future leaders.

    Obama was wrong to be in any contact with this man because of his past affiliations. So what about those students that he comes in contact with everyday.

    It seems to me we should be questioning the integrity of the university and not obama's.

    August 21, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. Bills

    An ad about a scandal that no one remembers any more. Whoop de do. If The Obamessiah can't come up with anything better than that, he's toast. T.O. is a target-rich environment for McCain...there's no end of stuff that McCain and the GOP can hit him on. McCain's just getting started.

    August 21, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. Denise

    I say: The truth Hurts......McShame has many more shady dealings so I say throw the kitchen sink at them. Or how about this: hit him on his FAMILY VALUES!!!!

    August 21, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  15. norb

    This IN BEV's for you John.

    August 21, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  16. Steve

    Does Obama really want to go there? Not a smart move .....(Ayers, Wright, Rezko, Pfelger, etc. would agree)

    August 21, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  17. E

    This is a good beginning. However, I think Obama should not just stop at these... he should examine in detail what Mc Cain did with those 26 years he claims give him the experience to be commander in chief. Experience may be Mc Cain saviour but in an election of may likely be his downfall....

    and trust me...
    Yes We Can

    August 21, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  18. Bill

    McCain claims Washington is broken then proceeds to continue the same old business of sucking up to lobbyists. Then the next day, he calls them "Birds of Prey" while still having them as senior aides in his campaign.

    Why will the main stream media call him out on this? How long must this nation be held hostage to the GOP?

    August 21, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  19. MaryJo Bruce Surprise, Ariz

    Yes, Sen Obama you have something on McCain. And he ,We have something on you. The Rev wright, Billy airs, another Rev, Farracon
    (sp) and other stuff. So this give and take can go on and on from the both of you. Its time to get to the fact on how the both of you are planning to run the US. To keep us soverign. To stop all the Illegals form coming in. All of them. To ring jobs back here, to lower gas and food prices. To help our people PERIOD. Stop all the bickering.
    Drill now, pay less...Jobs here now. Stop buying all Chinas trinkets that dont work or are killing us. What does it take....

    August 21, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  20. Carmon Minneapolis MN

    IM Sorry but its about time, It seems like thats all these dumb republicans understand is negativity. Why should Obama constantly take crap from them but then when he gives it back everyone starts complaining about him going negative. I SAY LET IT OUT. ALL THE DIRT YOU HAVE ON MCCAIN OBAMA LET IT OUT.



    August 21, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  21. Saalim

    Bill Ayers is not a professor at the the University of Chicago. I wish he was though as a graduate student there,

    August 21, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  22. Rich

    Two comebacks for this ad:

    Jeremiah Wright, the racist who has been mysteriously erased by the liberal media
    Tony Rezko, the convict who funded Barack Hussein Obama's senate campaign, as well as his mansion. His sentencing suddenly got pushed back a couple of months to keep him out of the headlines.

    Barack is as dirty a politician as they come. Just look what he did to Hillary and the way he has manipulated the brainless media. Those of us in Chicago, the ones who have not drank the brain killing koolaid, know Barack is a creation of the Chicago filthy political machine and the media who cannot fantasize enough about his hopeful presidency.

    August 21, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. Aaron

    Keep swinging, Obama. Keep those punches coming until you back McCain against the ropes – if they want to play dirty, just destroy them so we can get back to the business of actually doing something good with the future of our country.

    Just stay relevant, please. McCain's campaign has been focusing on absurdities, but there is PLENTY of material to attack McCain on – so keep it up!

    August 21, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  24. fred

    I'm just going to say what an Obama person would say if this was a McCain ad. "he's taking the low road" or "america is sick of these negative ads"

    August 21, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  25. skweez

    Has our country truly learned nothing? Hate still abounds. There will never be peace and prosperity until our so-called leaders start leading in the right direction. It's still the almighty dollar (not so mighty anymore) that directs this country's leaders. Why the war? Oil...of course.

    Negative attack ads that are working.....unreal. Are the American people really that ignorant that they don't find out the real facts themselves? Shame on us for allowing these types of tactics to monopolize our TV screens, internet sites, etc. And shame on our so-called MEDIA for all the distortions they air. What happened to our integrity, our thirst for the truth? I'd rather have an unknown than any elected representative we've put into office in the last 10 years. We've seen how well they get things done....take a look around.....this is what you want for another 4 years. Until we get all those dishonest politicians out of Congress...nothing will change. Perhaps we just need to start from square 1 again.....Out with the Old....In with the New.

    August 21, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24