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. DAVID



    August 21, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. MGJams

    What is the problem CNN,, no link to the commercial? Or was it in your interest just not to print it! Criminal of you to try to manipulate this election. Would you pathetic Faux News Farse like me to email the commercial to you? Biased reporting is the only way CNN and the other fascist phoney News Organizations can have your man John the lier McCain elected,, it won't be forgotten soon CNN.

    August 21, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. Anonymous

    Still no coverage of McCain either wanting to reinstste the draft or not being able to listen to a rambling question long enough to give an answer that makes any sense.

    This guy is as addled as Reagan was at the end of his second term, and the election hasn't even happened yet.

    August 21, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  4. B J

    Do you all think there is no controversy with Obama....HE IS A POLITICIAN, he is a liar and a cheat like the rest of them. He is no different than any of the others.

    August 21, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. No Longer Amused, Las Vegas

    Susan August 21st, 2008 6:13 am ET

    Obama was 8 years old when this man Ayers did what he did.

    And your point is? All is forgiven?

    August 21, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. Super D

    There's still time can nominate Hillary instead.

    There's going to be riot in Denver, I can't wait to watch the hordes of misguided liberals bash each other.

    August 21, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  7. Richard Jackson

    Okay so when did this 'terrorist' group bomb the White House and the Pentagon? I don't seem to recall hearing about the White House or Pentagon being bombed in the news and you'd think that's something one would recall. Maybe that's because the McCain campaign is just grasping at wisps in the air again.

    August 21, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. Lee, New York City

    Obama is a SOCIALIST and his policies would be BAD FOR AMERICA.

    Obama will lie and stretch the truth to get elected, but he is INEXPERIENCED AND NOT A LEADR.

    August 21, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. Mi Yow

    You people achieve nothing by commenting yourselves into further confusion... Nothing is going to change, it never does. Vote for Obama and hopefully the world won't think we're such pieces of crap at least. The day a regular citizen, not a billionaire ex-VP, becomes our President, talk to me then.

    I'm going back to sleep.

    August 21, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. Delay man

    What about Tom Delay? Tom Delay is a friend of Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed. Is Tom Delay supporting McCain?

    August 21, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  11. Thomas Jones

    It won't matter the people already know folks !
    Obama eliminated his opponents in Chicago by finding legal technicalities to rid even a good friend of opposing him – you think he's different and for change? I'll sell you an Island off Florida cheap and I'm sure you will fall for that too....
    Tom J
    Chicago, Il

    August 21, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  12. Al Bond

    Yes, Obama should take off the gloves. There are so many things that McLame should be hit with. One of my favorites is the story of the prison guard drawing a cross in the sand that he copied from Alexandr Solzhenitsyn's book about the Soviet Gulag. It's almost word for word, and McLame never mentioned it in all his writing about Vietnam until 1999 after he read Alexandr Solzhenitsyn and called him a hero. What a liar McSame is! And if you go to you tube and search McCain and POWs you can see what other veterans really think about his pow experience and how much he lied about it.

    August 21, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. Nya

    McCain is honest??? Really? You're serious. It's funny to me how people can keep saying this over and over again. And these same people believe that Obama is the political scum of the earth. Yeah right! Listen to yourselves. They are in the same occupation. It's like the pot calling the kettle black. Both candidates are pointing out the skeletons in each other closets. If your a Republican you're going to vote that way. If you're a Democrat you're going to vote for your candidate. So, let's just stop playing mind games on people (and yourselves) about who's more honest and trustworthy than the other.

    August 21, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  14. Carmon Minneapolis MN

    This is so funny, The only dirt the Rethuglicans think they have on Obama is what someone else(Ayers, Wright, Rezko) did. I have yet over the course of this campaign season, heard ONE bad thing that Obama has verbally or physically said.

    McCain supporters and PUMA Trash please name one thing bad that Obama has done. You can't.

    August 21, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. Mauri

    These pros and cons concerning McCain are interesting if nothing else. The day politicians in this country, including Barack Obama, do not misrepresent their actions and words, will be the day the right to vote will die. But we do have a never-fail mechanism that serves us so well during campaign season - and that's the old standby, "Actions speak louder than words." In the present presidential campaign, we are inundated with words in ads, speeches and debate-like responses which, in some cases, can mislead us when one candidate is blessed with an inborn talent for writing speeches and using the teleprompter. Then there is the one who has been on public display for a quarter-century. This is about the one who has put himself on the line by his votes, his actions for the good of the country, and his personal behavior. When we all remember this, then personal attacks are unnecessary. That's where we are right now. John McCain is no more immoral than is Barack Obama. It's that he's just been around longer, which defines perhaps the most effective campaign word, "EXPERIENCE."

    August 21, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. Debby

    Rezko, Ayers, Wright, etc. etc. Obama calling the kettle black is something that will backfire on him.

    August 21, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Did we win in Iraq, or is the end in sight? I get confused. There's a lot of that going around.

    McCain will say anything to placate the audience he is in front of at any given time. He then goes on to the next audience and contradicts himself, and everyone, including the press, thinks he's just swell.

    Get your election coverage from NBC, ABC, CBS, or MSNBC – CNN is no longer in the news business.

    August 21, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. Done with Dems

    To: ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado August 21st, 2008 7:37 am ET

    Ralph Reed is a recognized domestic terrorist. Any Christard who promulgates the heretical ideology of hell in opposition to the doctrine of sheol understands neither. When you preach in favoring the belief of a hell, you're spreading fear and terror. Just like any other good terrorist. Ralph Reed (aka Richard Rank) exemplifies the self-righteous bent of the New Right. Now if we could only get a day's honest labor out of him…

    What the heck man. Is this some kind of space alien gibberish? Wow!!!

    August 21, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. B J

    Jozee August 21st, 2008 8:32 am ET

    "Why don't you say more about the draft that you are in favor of, huh, John?"

    If you are critical of the draft, you should look to your own party, who has introduced legislation to enact the draft? Yep the democrats, Charlie Rangel.

    August 21, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  20. Independent-Latina-for-OBAMA

    GOOD! Sen. Obama, wants to keep it civil, BUT........ reality is that politics in t he USA have been mean-and-nasty for years now. Look at what the "Swift-boaters" did to a hero like, John Kerry!

    I say the DNC and Sen. Obama need to go through McCain's 26 years in DC and have ads running about everything he has and hasn't done.

    WE need the truth about McCain to get out, because right now all we are hearing is that Sen. Obama is a "rock star that can't lead" ....... BALONEY!




    August 21, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  21. Janet Jones

    Obama started to dig a hole for himself and instead of doing the right thing, he's digging a deeper hole........sorry that's immaturity.
    Janet J
    Chgo Il

    August 21, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  22. Nya

    And this Barack HUSSEIN Obama bull. Stop that. He didn't name himself. His parents did. Saddam had nothing to do with it. Continuing predjudices thoughts about someone because of their name is so stupid. You really believe whatever "they" tell you, right. Try investigating for yourselves instead of being led.

    By the way, "they" are about to jump off a bridge. Are you ging to join them (being that you're so easily led and all).

    August 21, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  23. Iowan that can think for himself

    Obama wanted to get rid of the negative politics, but by the looks of it Americans didn't. Every time someone runs a negative add on Obama, he goes down in the polls. Americans just aren't smart enough to look past the old politics and in turn Obama has to talk at their level. If John McCain wins, it will be the end of America as a superpower! We will be on the same level as Russia.

    August 21, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  24. Anonymous

    McCain can't even say "Let me be clear: I am not questioning his patriotism, I am questioning his judgment" without looking at note cards. Check the video.

    He can't give a simple clarification of his own opinion without reading it so he doesn't get it wrong.

    What can we expect from a candidate who isn't allowed to speak for his own campaign.

    August 21, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  25. Deb

    Good for you Obama. You tried to be a gentleman but the hits and mockery just kept coming. Now when you defend yourself, the same republicans that called you weak will laugh at the claims of change. Keep up what you are doing. Americans are smart and they won't elect another Bush who is looking to start wars.

    August 21, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
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