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. philosopher, alabama

    "mccain is maverick"
    "straight talk express"
    "mccain is honest"

    if the neo-cons and loan sharks and war-profiteers repeat the slogans often and long enough,

    those slogans just may turn true, you know.

    August 21, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. Edith Arkansas

    Don't be dismayed by Obama fighting back with negative ads. John McCain said he would take the high road and not go negative but he lied again. After watching McCain Revealed last night on CNN I find that McCain is a natural born liar. He cheated on his habilatating first wife for years lying to her while seeing Cindy he lied to Cindy about his age,he lied to get a marriage license to marry Cindy before the divorce from his habilatating first wife was final. McCain lie all the time twisting Senator Barack Obama record and plan out of context. Earlier this year McCain denied having an affair with one of his staff members. Did McCain lie about the affair?, did his staff member lie dening the affair? Does McCain lie when flip flooping on all the plans he was once against. What happened for 26 years these plans had no importantance to McCain until he now wants to be President of the United States. McCain, SCARY, SCARY, SCARY!!!!!! I don't believe a word McCain say!!!!

    August 21, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. Kerry

    Hello Alice in FLA, you are just silly, look in the mirror and tell yourself how silly you are.

    August 21, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. RJ

    To all those who think Hillary would do better–hahahaha...McCain would be chewing her up and spitting her out. That's HILLARious to even think she would be getting a free ride. The republicans can't stand the Clintons....that's why they're all on here disguised as disgruntled democrats. anyone with half a brain would not vote for McCain if they were seriously behind Hillary. She was 180 degrees away from him on almost every issue.

    August 21, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. Hanove Phist

    Alice in Florida thank you for you highly educated racist opinion. I dont think I could have gotten through the day with out it.

    August 21, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. Alex TX

    All you folks who support mccain are nothing but irresponsible. Obviously you could care less about the future of your children.
    These so called conservatives are nothing but pathetic. Fiscal conservative is nothing but a slogan to them. The primary principal of conservatism is to pay as you go, and not leave a mountain of debts for the next generation. The bible does say that a good steward leaves good inheritance for his or her children and not debt. Under Bush the country is now over 9 trillion in debt. I really pity some of you morons who do not understand the implications of irresponsible governing. Go ahead and vote for mccain who said in his memoirs that he is did not run for president in 2000 because he was patriotic but simply because he just wanted to be president. Go ahead and vote for mccain...MORONS!

    August 21, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Dylan Los Angeles

    McCain has 100x more baggage than Obama. Rezko doesn't compare to Abramoff + Keating. Keating cost taxpayers billions of dollars in federal bailout, thanks in part to McCain's corruption.

    August 21, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. Lee

    McCain was only cited for poor judgement in the Keeting Five hearings. They had no grounds to charge him with anything beyond that. In fact, his experience from the Keeting Five lead him to create the McCain-Feingold Act shortly thereafter in hopes of cleaning up Washington. I believe it is safe to say McCain learned a lot from the Keeting Five incident and as such, the Obama campaign is very unlikely to gain ground with this.

    I seem to recall a sex scandal conspiracy not too long ago attacking McCain that died within a week...

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

    Obama shouldn't go there. He's got way more skeletons in his closet than McCain. Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright to name a few.

    August 21, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  10. DAVID STEINBERG, alabama


    it's bad for my business.

    August 21, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. Abort Barack!

    Could Sen. Obama's extreme position on abortion end up being the nail in the coffin for his presidential chances?

    August 21, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. George

    I just know one think if Obama is smart enough and and pick Hillary Clinton as his VP, he can win the presidency, is ridiculous that we are on the end of August and is only a couple pints ahead of McCain on some polls and tie on some other polls when he sure be ahead with double digits, If he doesn't pick Hillary Clinton he can forget about winning , the Democratic people still very divided and Obama can loss easy with McCain if he pick up somebody also then Hillary, his political carrier will be over if he loss the elections

    August 21, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Muckinello

    It's about time. We can play 'nasty ball' too. After months of negative attacks by McSame, we need to respond in tone

    August 21, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. Splurge

    I thought Obama was supposed to be different?

    August 21, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  15. Bud InTexas


    So much for taking the highroad, and not going negative.

    Same old politics as usual. I guess change was too much to hope for.
    ______________________________________________________Tony – here is the message – your guy McCain is a lying, crooked, adulterer, who will say anything to win.

    We are going after him big time!

    Stop crying!

    August 21, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  16. jason

    I hope he doesn't go too negative. Let the negative people flock to McCain – if they are still the majority, then this country will get what it deserves.

    August 21, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. Republican voting for Obama

    McSame is always attacking Obama on his patriotism. Mcsame thinks that because he was stupid enough to get shot down and caught and lame enough to have numerous affairs on his wife and tactless to the point where he was dating Cindy McLame while he was still living at home with his first wife, that this makes him more American than Obama. I do not respect McLame as a man first of all and as an ex- Marine myself, I am losing respect for McLame as an American. BHO is simply the best American Man for the job at this juncture up against JM. We have to let go of our ego and vote for the best American Man for the job. Vote for Obama 08 and 2012.

    August 21, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Sacto Joe

    There's a LOT to "go negative" on against Senator McCain. But to Senator Obama's campaign's credit, at least they're not flat out lying about their opponent, like Senator McCain's campaign is!

    August 21, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  19. We're NOT "your friends"!!!

    If my "going negative" CNN, you mean telling the truth, then yes, that is what Obama is doing. It's about time too. I'm 100% for changing the way politics is run in the country, but it's not going to change overnight. Especially when your running against a 72 yr old man who's been doing politics the same way for 30 years.

    OBAMA '08

    August 21, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. Dan

    Bill Ayers is NOT a professor at the University of Chicago, but at University of Illinois at Chicago. That is a ridiculous error and the McCain camp should be ashamed. It wouldn't have taken much research to figure this out...

    August 21, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  21. Mr. Twoface

    Quick question-
    How does someone who seems so certain that life begins at conception tell us so casually that he might pick a pro-choice VP? as well say "I might pick a murderer for my VP." I'm sorry, but this is one issue that you can't pander about, or try to play both ways. If you feel as strongly about the issue as McCain seemed to at the Saddleback forum, then you don't even consider picking a pro-choice VP. I think I smell some pandering going on...

    Bottom line- McCain is NOT a true Republican. This is a guy who has expressed interest in joining the Democratic Party on several occasions, and even cozied up to John Kerry to be considered as his VP.

    The man IS an American Hero, but he also has numerous affairs when he cheated on his first wife, who waited for him faithfully for five and a half years while he was in Vietnam. And these weren't one night stand affairs, they were long running affairs lasting over a year. And when McCain was restationed by the Navy, he found a new mistress in the new location! In fact, He filed for a marriage license in Arizona to marry Cindy before his divorce from his first wife was even final! Is this the man that evangelicals want carrying the torch for family values?

    August 21, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  22. Jordan - San Marcos TX

    This ad is the equivalent in this campaign of slapping someone that just beat you in the face with a tire iron. Obama is going to have to hit back or watch the American people get scared into voting for 4 more years or Republican destruction, domestic and foreign.

    Obama '08

    August 21, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  23. Peter

    Again, can someone please explain to me how it's "dirty politics" to ask if a man just because he's popular can lead a nation? If we asked that questions 8 years ago, would we be in the mess today?

    August 21, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. Phil-Little Rock

    Go Obama. It's time to show the world and John Sidney McCain what happens when you back a tiger against the wall!!

    By the way, isn't Sidney the name of that baboon they found in the woods?

    August 21, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. bij

    CNN you seem to be in the MCain colum now...where's the news about him not knowing how many houses he own? Every time he does/say's something crazy, you seem to look the other way...I uesd to rely on CNN for adequate jornalisim but not as much any more 🙁

    August 21, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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