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. alvaro

    it makes me sick how barack obama half brother living condition in africa, he picks garbage and eats iguanas most of the time. and idiot of people think he is the mesais? give me a break he does not care about his blood how he cares about americans!

    August 21, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. Matt Wilson

    Unfortunately, negative ads work in markets that have a high percentage of uneducated voters, which is why this ad is being ran primarily in rural Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and South Carolina. The educated tend to focus on the important issues which is why this type of ad would backfire if ran in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, or Colorado.

    August 21, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. coby

    To all the people criticizing Barack for this ad, I guess you expect him to get beat up and as a result lose the election because idiots like you believe what the repubs. say no matter how ridiculous they look, sound, act..

    August 21, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  4. Ian

    Obama is the last person who should be throwing mud. While Americans are worried about losing their homes Obama has been making shady real estate deals with Tony Rezko, who was the subject of a federal corruption case (found guilty earlier this year on 16 counts). He is also under indictment in another case scheduled for trial next year. Rezko helped launch Obama's political career and they have been friends since 1990. Also involved in the same case was Joseph Aramanda, whose son was given a job with Obama at the request of Rezko.

    I haven't even begun to count the number of terrorists from the Weather Underground Obama counts as his close friends and he even has terrorists holding fundraisers for him.

    If Obama wants to discuss ethics the GOP will be happy to debate that issue with him. Obama is a corrupt, America hating, empty suit.

    August 21, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  5. tony

    You guys post crap like the truth squad–which certain points are completely wrong–
    You allow this idiot to post anything-
    Good News-But in this country he only gets 1 vote-
    Which he probably won't use-
    CNN is very biased towards wimps like this-
    Helping and serving others is what makes you great–Not beating up on others–
    Maybe that's the reason the DEMS have had only 1 President win the White House with more that 50% of the Popular vote-
    That was Carter–What a sad commentary-
    But please continue to be vicious–it only guarantees contoinous losses–

    August 21, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  6. Robert

    McCain doesn't have a prayer. Polls mean nothing and even Karl Rove's version of the electoral college map shows major trouble for McCain. PUMA's can vote for McCain all they want. It won't make any difference.

    August 21, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  7. Matt, Minneapolis, MN

    Let's see here, Obama takes illegal contributions from Europe and Africa, and the RNC holds a legal fudraiser. Hardly the same level.

    August 21, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. Rob

    Why is it "negative" to bring up for discussion questionable deeds by politicians. I think both instances ought to be talked about and "reported" on. Personal attacks are not acceptable in my view, but these incidents that leave a "perception of wrong-doing SHOULD be talked about without being referred to as "negative attacks".

    August 21, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  9. Marge Hibbing Mn

    Wonder if the republicans posted an ad that linked obama to the gangster Rezko who along with the gangster Auchi, a buddy of Saddam, financed his two senate, state and federal campaigns, And put the financing of his million dollar home in a trust fund so he could afford it, which is true because it was brought up in Rezko's trial, would cause a ruckus.

    But if McCain should dare to run an ad about that the jumping dancing and good old boys who support obama would mess themselves.

    August 21, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. anonymous

    Obama DOESNT need to do what McCain (err Bush campaign managers) is doing!! There is enough TRUTH in McCaine's flip-flop strategy and policy/speech blunders to make use of!!!!

    August 21, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. Bay

    Funny to me how when McCain does the same thing it is called campaigning and or fair play, Obama runs a similar add and all the criticism comes out of the woodworks. Good for Obama, sling as much mud as McCain slings, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. McCain is a joke, his policies are old and tired just like him, if this country is stupid enough to elect a third term of George Bush then it deserves all the strife, world conflict, and loss jobs that it gets. Unbelievable to me that the same policies McCain pushes are the very same ones that have failed for the last 8 years. He is old, stubborn, and stuck in his ways, it is time to get all these old men out of Washington and get some new ideas, some fresh looks at doing some of these things are we are an empire ready to fall, mark my words.

    August 21, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. Legally Lex

    Sounds like the Obama campaign will do and say just about anything! The mudslinging continues on both sides with a little more desperation on the Obama side. Why is that? This Democrat has heard little good from the Obama camp! I guess I will be voting Republican!

    August 21, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  13. Anthony Landaeta

    1988 TV Presidential Ad Guess who ?

    Narrator: The White House isn't the place to learn how to deal with international crisis, the balance of power, war and peace, and the economic future of the next generation. A President has got to know the territory, but that's not enough. To win the White House, the Democratic nominee had better have a crystal clear vision of what the Democratic Party stands for. Joe Biden sees the Presidency as a pulpit from which America sets an example for the world. He believes that developing nations once saw America as more than a place; they saw us as an idea; A goal to reach for. He knows that they've lost confidence in us; that they see us losing our way; our resolve; our ideals. Joe Biden thinks it's time to remind the world of what America stands for. Freedom. Equality. Justice. Opportunity. He thinks it's time to put courage over compromise. Time to express America's outrage once again towards repression, brutality, violence, the abuse of human dignity around the world, and if the sparks fly, so be it...

    The first part of the ad states "The White House isn't the place to learn" this was a reference made to Jessie Jackson who was running for President. (Today that would be Obama) The 2nd part is no differrent then what obama says about our country today 20 years later. Wow what a sad statement this isn't change its the Democratic party line. "Joe Biden for President 1988"

    Anthony Landaeta Jr

    August 21, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. Al

    This is a perfect example of CNN's biased reporting. "Negative ads" when released from Obama's camp. "Contrast ads" when released by McSenile. Let's not forget Cindi McoCain's stunts, either...

    August 21, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  15. sabrina01

    By time Democratics fight bk the people have no idea what scandels he have

    August 21, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. A. Boston, MA

    Listen, we know who Obama is. We know what he stands for. If you don't then do your research and stop complaining that you don't know who is. If you have the aptitude of learning how to tie your shoe's then I don't think "The audacity of hope", or the documentary that CNN is running will be too hard to take in. Politics, unfortunately is a game of strategy with big reward for digging up dirt. If Obama has to go negative it doesn't mean that his agenda isn't about change. His entire life is based on change and the greater good for the people. He has to do what it takes to get in. I'm sure you working folks know what that means.

    OBAMA 08

    August 21, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  17. NoMcSame

    McSame is one of the birds. Check his feathers and you will see that they all look alike. Ten homes and counting. Most of us have more a common with Obama than Mcsame. Who just got finished paying for their student loan? Obama. Mcsame has a home in every part of the country and may have more around the world. How many of you can say that. Obama's friends pay grades are closer to ours than most of McSame's too. So who do you think feel your pain the most. Obama.

    August 21, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  18. Redbug-OH for OBAMA



    August 21, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  19. Redbug-OH for OBAMA


    August 21, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  20. Kerry

    What does Farakhan have to do with this, he has his view and that does not mean that Obama thinks the same way . Please do yourself a big favor stop thinking that all Black people think same.

    August 21, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  21. sabrina01

    His wife stood by him in prison for 5 years but when she was in an accisdent and wasn't pretty any more he left what does that tell you about his character

    August 21, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  22. jackie dukes

    Well, my hatz off to john king! He had the nerve to air the truth about Obama & MCain. I wonder what the religious right thinks about McCain now, that the info is out on why he left his wife & most important, how & why he left her! At least john edwards did not leave his wife. Yeah, Right, some MAVERICK!

    August 21, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. CP-Texas

    OBAMA 08!!

    August 21, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. scarface

    the media do not have cojones such as national enquirer is coming another scandal which is half brother barack hussein obama eating lizards and frogs in africa while barack is promising american a better live! he does not care about his grandmother in uganda because is black such his half brother!

    August 21, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. Kevin

    Wow. Desperate Obama?

    August 21, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
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