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. Redbug-OH for OBAMA


    August 21, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. Anthony, Dallas, Tx

    About time someone called him on this. Our country needs some help. How can people love a man who cheated and left his wife and kids when she was in poor health. The Rep. base is shameful.

    August 21, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  3. Eli

    Well let see BIG O, your connections with Rezko, Ayers, Wright, not to mention your shady same old politics way you won your first seat in IL. I believe if I had been O's team I would have walked away from this ad. Well I guess I'm just one of those so called BITTER Hillary Clinton fan, or do I just read the NEWS.

    August 21, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  4. jnt

    well, mccain started it. he's been running negative ads for about a month now. they're not even about anything real "oo he's too popular" for example. obama tried to hold back, but it was starting look like a swift boat operation, with karl rove at the helm of mccains campaign spreading his smears. this after mccain said he wanted a "civil debate on the issues"

    August 21, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  5. Carol

    I feel very sorry for those that have fallen under the Obama spell. At times it has been frustrating, other times very sad that so many have been so fooled. The saddest part is that if by some stretch of the imagination this man would make it into office, he will destroy this country as we know it.

    I'm not a republican, I would have loved for my party to have presented a candidate that would pull this country out of the trouble we find ourselves in, but they did not do so. They chose to put Obama in the forefront and in doing so I cannot in good conscience vote my party in this election.

    McCain is far from perfect but he is not the dangerous animal that Obama is and I am willing to risk McCain whereas risking Obama in the office makes me physically ill.

    To those that say, "Obama might have to take off his gloves", surely you are you kidding, Obama's gloves have been off from day one. Out of one side of his mouth he touts being above all that, out of the other side flows the negative attacks. His hands have been cold for a long time.

    August 21, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  6. Elaine Johnson

    McCain was cleared re the Keating scandal. His wife lost a ton of money because she had money in that bank.....who is the person that claims he was involved in making money? God what next?
    Obama's good friends are, or were:
    Wm Ayers (terrorist)
    Rezko (convicted criminal involved in fraud re Chgo politics)
    J Wright (pretend Christian who has friends who are terrorist such as the leader of Lybia) Murdered how many people in PAN Am 103 over Scotland
    He studied Malcom X and those kinds of people
    Went to Columbia Univ (Marxist teaching personified)
    Obama did throw his grandmother under the bus for saying "if she saw a group of black kids she was scared" was she ever bad person. He apologized later I must say.
    Obama might do the same if he has about 10-15 add'l years of experience in life and understands that power and money are not that important. He loves the "stage".
    Elaine Johnson
    Denver CO

    August 21, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  7. Diane Panama City Fl

    McCain = Reed/Abramoff/Keating 5/Adultery/blonde bimbette lobbyist. To you McCainiac Rethuglians: what goes around, comes around. Welcome to the new reality of tit for tat political hardball!!!! Bring it on!!! I would rather my candidate have a relationship with an outspoken minister than a gangster lobbyist now in fedral prison for corruption and bribery.

    August 21, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  8. Iraq War Watcher

    Iraqis just set a TIMETABLE for US withdrawl. Reality once again proves Obama right, tough guy talk from Mccain wrong. How many times are we going to let this happen until we figure out who's the real one with the judgment to lead?

    Mccain can talk about following bin Laden "to the gates of hell" all he wants, but the reality is bin Laden was never in Iraq. He's on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, the place Mccain chastised Obama for suggesting we attack. Tough talk is not reality.

    August 21, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  9. James Johnson

    McCain better get rid of Reed, or it will cost him. McCain is better than that.
    James J
    Milwaukee WI

    August 21, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  10. Jano1234

    ... watch out Obama. As they say, "what goes around (negative ad) comes around "(ads about your unsavory dealings in Chicago). Very interesting watching the Obamo Revealed last night. He is one "mean politician". McCain and Hillary all the way.

    August 21, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  11. RJ, CA

    People, people, people! The Keating 5 thing was resolved years ago. There was a year-long investigation into McCain's connection to that, and MCCAIN WAS TOTALLY CLEARED OF ANY WRONG DOING!
    If that's all you have, you haven't got much, so get over it.

    McCain for president!

    August 21, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  12. Wanda

    According to articles Bill Ayers turned himself in for his crimes in 1980, but the government let him off saying that they did not have enough evidence against him even though he said he did it. Then he works his way up to being a Professor. Articles also state that Ayers introduced Obama to people in Illinois when the Senator was running for the Illinois senate not his running for the White House. At the time Ayers was committing bombings in the 60s Obama was about 7 years old-I do not think that times him in with Ayers and the Weathermen if so the University of Illinois at Chicago is also involved because they hired Ayers.

    A Republican whose undecided on who to vote for.

    August 21, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  13. Carmon Minneapolis MN

    Obama I love you, but if you say your willing to fight for this country well now is the time. Its time to bring down these tyrants!!!!!

    Obama 08/12

    As a matter a fact lets never elect another republican again until they change there GREEDY habits.

    August 21, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. maria

    mcain is the adultry expert. HE cheated on his first wife did you forget that. Obama 08,12

    August 21, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  15. Anthony Landaeta

    Hey Bulldog your statement again is a scare tactic that statement was used against President Bush But after 7 yrs there is still no draft get you facts straight

    If you want your children and grandchildren to be drafted in the military to go to war with Iran and Russia and whoever else pisses McCain off then vote for him.

    He will institute a new military draft. He was the biggest pusher for the war in Iraq and wants to go to war with Iran and Russia.

    Vote for McCain and kiss your children and grandchildren goodbye as they ship off to war.

    Hey Bulldog your statement again is a scare tactic that statement was used against President Bush But after 7 yrs there is still no draft get you facts straight

    August 21, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  16. Jack Walden

    I feel sorry for all those Clinton supporters who would rather vote for McCain.. Agreed that lot of them are either in their menopausal or post-menopausal stage and dont have much use of ther reproductive organs but given how vociferous McCain was against the moderate supreme courts judges during his last interview, it is given that McCain Presidency among other things means appointment of Scalia clones to supreme court and end of Roe versus Wade. These women need to realize what this means for younger women in their family.

    August 21, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  17. Deb, Allentown, PA

    Why hasn't CNN posted a ticker article on McCain not disagreeing that we need to reinstate the draft??? This is HUGE news!!

    August 21, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  18. legare

    Its getting crunch time and the prize is to big to be nice. It is time to air out the laundry and don't hold anything back Obama. McCain has been in politics a long time and he has skeletons it time to look for them. When you announce your running mate that person needs to be an attack dog and someone who is going to spark some interest. Biden is a good choice but it is time to bit the bullet and call on Hillary. The key is to get elected first and worry about managing them later.

    August 21, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  19. Rob

    aliu in FL
    Why all the vitriol? Would you be willing to reveal ALL your past?
    Don't bother to respond...just contemplate your hate....Obama08

    August 21, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  20. Jack Carlson

    McCAin will put America first.
    Some Media faces will be much more red than the other night after the discussion w/Pastor Warren. They found out McCain was smart and forthright as they come.
    Jack Carlson
    Seattle Wa

    August 21, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  21. William, from Cali!

    You sleep with DOGS, some FLEAS will get on you!

    August 21, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. tundemans

    i see the repugs getting ones likes the sword wielded in front of them. true true americans dont have time for intellectual curiosity. tell lies lies lies and in america it becomes true.
    democrats need to wake up and match the repugs.
    can someone take away that note mccain always reads when he is supposed to be speaking from the heart. lets see how much the OLD MAN remembers.

    August 21, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. wow

    I hate to see Obama do this, and move toward the low road, but McCain has practically been playing in the mud on the low road for the last 6 to 8 weeks and it's starting to effect some voters opinions. McCain's bus that was supposed to one of honor, respect and issues has been spinning it's tires in that mud on the lowest of roads for weeks now and American falls for it. This is what's won elections for the last two decades. Creating voter fear in your opponent using the political and social climate at that time. Is it sad? Yes, very sad. Should it be what politicians have to do? No, it shouldn't? Should so much of the American citizens be fooled by all of this and use this type of media to cast their vote? No, but it does. American citizens vote out of fear and emotion faster then they do logic. That's always been true, and the Republicans have a strong track record of generating that fear with their campaigns.

    August 21, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  24. Keating 5

    "After a lengthy investigation, the Senate Ethics Committee determined in 1991 that Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, and Donald Riegle had substantially and improperly interfered with the FHLBB in its investigation of Lincoln Savings. Senators John Glenn and John McCain were cleared of having acted improperly but were criticized for having exercised "poor judgment"."

    Although McCain was not found having committed any crimes (looking the other way isn't a crime) he was cited for exercising poor judgment! Now he wants to be president?! Straight talk express please...

    Obama 08'

    August 21, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. Jake Colson

    Hey folks, everyone has skeletons ! When we are pointing at others we have three fingers pointing ar ourselves....deserved as well.
    Jake Colson

    August 21, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
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