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. Marie

    Remember people what the Bush/Cheney team did to oil prices. Imagine what the McLame/? team will do to your beer prices?

    I cannot imagine that Cindy McCains stake in a beer empire will have any impact on your beer prices. Save Beer-Save America-Vote Obama!

    August 21, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    McCain can dish it out, but when it comes to getting it dished backed......different story. And by the is going to get "hotter" as we move closer to the end.

    August 21, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. Linda

    Bill Ayers methods may have been questionable, but in some ways he was an American hero. He wanted to stop the war, end the unneccesary killing of Vietnamese civillians and American soldiers. Long after the war was over, we realized the folly of the Vietnamese War and that the people like Ayers who spoke out the earliest were the ones speaking the truth. As Dylan said "you don't need a weatherman to show which way the wind blows."

    August 21, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |

    Now that the polls are showing a tie in the race for the White House maybe we can get some balance negative press for McCain. Its time to bring the skeletons out of the closet McCain. And I believe you have a walk in closet!!!!

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

    Sadly, I knew this would happen. Obama is the weaker candidate of the Democratics [talking about general election here]. Why else would Rush Limbaugh actually tell republicans to vote for Clinton???? Reverse psychology.....And it worked perfectly. Ugh. Can't believe we are going to end up with john mccain. Obama is going down if flames and not even CNN seems to be able to save 'their boy'

    August 21, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. Scott Grundy of Sydney

    I think it is amazing that Obama has refrained from being negative for so long. Now it has come. Not a surprise. Politics is a dirty game and everyone gets the mud on them. Negativity is inevitable in political campaigns. I am sure that George Washington probably had to dish out some negativity in response to negative attacks on him at the time. Human nature is human nature.
    Please United States citizens go out and vote for Christian Obama. He is not a Muslim. Unlike all the Hussein comments above imply. (very sneaky lying republican operatives using a fact and spinning like mad).
    The world needs a change. Look at what Bush has managed to get Russia to do. So now you have got Iran, Iraq, and Russia to deal with. Its a good thing that Bush failed to get offside while in China. Maybe that is McCain goal.
    Be proud of your country and teach the Republicans a lesson. Republicans stand for all that is wrong with the United States at this time. Voting them back in will see the demise of United States influence as that of China rises.
    When the Republicans have been out of power for a decade they will learn the needed lessons.
    So vote againts GOP (McCain) vote DEM (Obama) and yes especially Puma people. As soon as u vote republican you are no democrat. A fact. Your choice, but still a fact.

    August 21, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. db

    The mendacity of hype.

    August 21, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  8. nannie bouroughs, Kenosha, WI

    For those of you interested in a FACT: The Ethics Committeee CLEARED Senator John McCain of ANY WRONG DOING in the Keating 5 scandal...

    August 21, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. proud army and navy mom

    pay no attention to the idiot posting under my name, they are truly pathetic.

    TO Brooklyn, please be quiet. If you think for one minute Sen Obama's campaign is going to get lied on and misrepresented every day and not hit back, you need to go back to school.

    Sen Obama is not going negative, he is stating the truth.

    PUMA(fake democrats and cowardly republicans-- the truth hurts does't it. you

    August 21, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. Amy from Michigan

    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 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. Randy

    I would like to answer the questions of all the people that are questioning why cnn's "investigative team" is not bringing up Mccaine and the Keating 5 Scandal. Since none of you apparently are motivated enough, or smart enough, or care enough to do your own research here it is.

    Cnn is not bringing up the Keating 5 scandal because the prosecutor in that case has come out on record saying John Mccaine did nothing wrong. He has come out on record stating that there should have been NO action taken on John Mccaine and that is what he recommended to Congress. The democratic congress at the time included John Mccaine in the censure simply because the other 4 were democrats and they did not want it to be a "democrat scandal".

    There you go there anything else you would like me to research for you while you sit at home collecting your checks?

    August 21, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. Crush Rush

    Looks like a bad year for bumper stickers and yard signs,come on Republicans,you arent scared are you?

    August 21, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. Linda

    Anyone who comes from Chicago politics has, at some time or another, had "dealings" with less than scrupulous advisors and "friends". Just ask Obama about Tony Rezko. And he has the nerve to suggest there's a connection between Reed and McCain? For those of you who are not familiar with Chicago politics, please read the story about Tony Rezko. Look at what he did for Obama. And while you're at it, read some about the political atmosphere in Chicago. After you read about Chicago politics, and what Obama came from, then make your decision if he's as clean and pure as he claims to be. I encourage everyone to read more about Obama's Chicago ties and his voting history in Illinois. "Mr. Clean" does not exist in politics – not with McCain or any politician.

    August 21, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. Doug Scrivener

    Hey, Repugs started the "play dirty" game with those rediculous adds.
    Two can play that game and now repugs are crying "thats not fair"
    or "same old politics". Booo Hooo waaaaa!!!
    The difference is McCain is going down by the way of substantiated
    truth. Not trashy allogations.
    McCain is going to look really bad in the end – can't wait.
    Obama will be victorious!!
    Ignore the polls!!!
    Democrats please listen...
    Get mad – be tough!!
    Fight hard for the truth!!!
    Ignore the Main Stream Media-they want this thing to appear close.
    As sonn as one rises in the polls, the other will be bolstered by the MSM.

    August 21, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. Jim in Orlando

    Hey Obama .... pot ...kettle ... Ayers .... Rezko ... Wright .... !

    August 21, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  16. tito valentino

    Mccain is bringing out Ayers. Americans know about Ayers. he was never tried and was never convicted. Obama is setting him up for a trap. They will like Amerians to know about Keating 5. Show Mccain when he was being tried. They just want him to try linking Obama to Ayers.

    August 21, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. Linda

    As Americans we need to gorw up and face the sad truth - all politicans are crooks and they all lie! McCain may be worse - but Obama has his baggage too.

    August 21, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. ATLian

    Okay so when did this 'terrorist' group bomb the White House and the Pentagon?>>>

    FORTY years ago! Next! Don't people believe in second chances and turning your life around?

    August 21, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. TPas

    That is why we need change.

    August 21, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. Kerry

    I am glad the gloves are off, and Mr Lee i think you are crazy, Obama is not a SOCIALIST, the plans he has laid out will be good for America not bad. How did you come across such silly infomation?.

    August 21, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. mike

    Thomas Jones- Great call. How many people actually know how Obama "won" that election. And campaign reform? Only to go back on that, too.

    August 21, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  22. philosopher, alabama

    mcshameless: "there is no conflict of interest between me and the lobbyists around me, as my intersts and their interests perfectly coincide."

    what a dodo head.
    he's never had bearings to lose.
    all he ever had was privilege of a family with money and power.

    August 21, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. Generation X

    My friends, truth hurts, doesn't it, McCain? This ad is true whereas, your ads about Obama are completely false and you know it. You were right in comdemning them when Bush implored same tactics against your 2000 white house run. Now, you are shamelessly doing same to Obama. And yet, you pledged to run a clean campaign?

    August 21, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. name rank serial#



    August 21, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  25. BR

    Sweet, tie McCain to Abramoff, then the Repubs can link the Messiah to Rezko who will be sentenced in October. Good job Messiah, keep screwing up dude.

    August 21, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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